The Slave

by  LeRoi Jones

Short Play, Drama  /  2m, 1f

An examination of tension between blacks and whites in contemporary America, The Slave is the story of a visit by African American Walker Vessles to the home of Grace, his white ex-wife, and Easley, her white husband. Baraka points up the black man’s low status in American society but also stresses that he is victimized and enslaved by his own hatred and is thus unable to effect social change.

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  • Cast Size

    Cast Size

    2m, 1f
  • Duration


    75 Minutes
  • Audience

    Target Audience

    • Adult

Additional Info

Another of LeRoi Jones' (aka Amiri Baraka's) Off Broadway shockers, this play occurs in a time of great conflagration, when the Blacks have risen up to bomb and burn the civilization of White America. Into a professor's house comes Walker Vessles, an African American man with a pistol. Walker is the ex-husband of Grace, the professor's wife, and the father of the two bi-racial daughters who live in this white household. Though he intends to kill Grace and her husband, and reclaim his daughters, he fails when the entire family is killed when their house collapses. 

Published in tandem with Dutchman.

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"What resonates here... is the sense that entrenchment and political corruption are timeless." - Philly Stage

"A playwright to watch." - Kirkus Review


Black issues


Performing Groups

  • College Theatre / Student
  • Community Theatre
  • Professional Theatre
  • Large Stage
  • Blackbox / Second Stage /Fringe Groups


  • Caution Strong Language Strong Language

License details

  • Minimum Fee: $45 per performance



  • Duration: 75 Minutes
  • Additional Features: No intermission


  • Musical Style: N/A (Not a musical)
  • Vocal Demands: N/A (Not a musical)
  • Chorus Size: N/A (Not a musical)


2m, 1f
WALKER VESSELS - An African American Poet
GRACE - His white ex-whife
EASLEY - Grace's current husband. A white professor. 
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Cast Attributes

  • Multicultural casting
  • Strong Role for Leading Man (Star Vehicle)




LeRoi Jones

LeRoi Jones (aka Amiri Baraka) is a poet, writer, political activist and teacher. He was born in 1934, in Newark, New Jersey. He graduated from Howard University in 1953, and published his first major book of poetry, Preface to a Twenty Volume Suicide Note, in 1961. He founded Totem Press in 1958, which first ...

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Premiered at St. Marks Playhouse in 1964. 

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