Cast of the world premiere of Dontrell, Who Kissed the Sea by Nathan Alan Davis, co-produced by Lower Depth Theatre Ensemble. Photo by Ed Krieger.

From past to present, this listing of plays, books, and articles provides a small sampling of literary works by and about Black artists. When possible, we have linked titles to Eso Won Books for purchase to give the opportunity to support a local Black-owned business.

Because this list is not exhaustive, it will be continually updated as our community contributes more information. If you’d like to add titles to this list, please email [email protected] with your suggestions.

PLAYS  (1850-1949)

The Escape; or, A Leap for Freedom by William Wells Brown (1858) 

Rachel by Angelina Weld Grimké (1916) 10F, 3M

The Chip Woman’s Fortune by Willis Richardson (1923) 3W, 2M

Mule Bone: A Comedy of Negro Life in Three Acts by Zora Neale Hurston & Langston Hughes (1930) 1F, 5M

PLAYS (1950-1979)

The Amen Corner by James Baldwin (1955) 9F, 5M

Trouble in Mind  by Alice Childress (1955) 3F, 6M

A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry (1959) 3F, 5M 

Dutchman by Amiri Baraka (then LeRoi Jones) (1964) 1F, 2M

Funnyhouse of A Negro by Adrienne Kennedy (1964) 5F, 3M

Day of Absence by Douglas Turner Ward (1965) 1F, 5M

Black Girl by J.E. Franklin (1969) 7F, 3M 

Ceremonies in Dark Old Men by Lonne Elder III (1969) 2F, 5M

No Place to be Somebody by Charles Gordone (1969) 5F, 11M

The Sty of the Blind Pig by Phillip Hayes Dean  (1971) 2F, 2M 

The River Niger by Joseph A. Walker (1973) 4F, 9M

Wedding Band by Alice Childress (1973) 8F, 3M

The First Breeze of Summer by Leslie Lee (1975) 6F, 8M 

The Taking of Miss Janie by Ed Bullins (1975)  4F, 5M 

The Mighty Gents by Richard Wesley (1978) 1F, 6M

Home by Samm-Art Williams (1979) 2F, 1M

Spell #7 by Ntozake Shange (1979) 5F, 4M 

Zooman and the Sign by Charles H. Fuller (1979) 3F, 6M

PLAYS (1980-2009)

The American Century Cycle (10 plays) by August Wilson

The Colored Museum by George C. Wolfe (1986) 4F, 2M

Long Time Since Yesterday by PJ Gibson (1986) 8F

Checkmates by Ron Milner (1987) 2F, 2M 

I Am A Man by Oyamo (1992) 2F, 13M 

East Texas Hot Links by Eugene Lee (1994) 1F, 7M 

Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992 by Anna Deavere Smith (1994) 1F

Blues for an Alabama Sky by Pearl Cleage (1995) 2F, 3M

Crumbs from the Table of Joy by Lynn Nottage (1995) 4F, 1M

Insurrection: Holding History by Robert O’Hara (1996) 4F, 5M

The Old Settler by John Henry Redwood (1998) 3F, 1M

Topdog/Underdog by Suzan-Lori Parks  (2001) 2M

Nothing but the Truth by John Kani (2002) 2F, 1M

Yellowman by Dael Orlandersmith (2002) 1F, 1M

Pretty Fire by Charlayne Woodard (2003) 1F

Fabulation: The Re-Education of Undine by Lynn Nottage (2004) 4F, 4M

Bourbon at the Border by Pearl Cleage (2005) 2F, 2M

No Child by Nilaja Sun (2006) 1F or 1M

Stick Fly by Lydia R. Diamond (2008) 3F, 3M 

PLAYS (2010-Present)

Eclipsed by Danai Gurira (2010) 5F

Choir Boy by Tarell Alvin McCraney (2012) 7M

Detroit ‘67 by Dominique Morisseau (2013) 3F, 2M

Good Grief by Ngozi Jane Anyanwu (2016) 3F, 4M

Hurt Village by Katori Hall (2013) 4F, 5M

The House That Will Not Stand  by Marcus Gardley (2014)  7F

Buzzer by Tracey Scott Wilson (2016) 1F, 3M

DOT by Colman Domingo (2016) 3F, 4M

Pipeline by Dominique Morisseau (2017) 3F, 3M

Too Heavy For Your Pocket by Jireh Breon Holder (2017) 2F, 2M

What To Send Up When It Goes Down  by Aleshea Harris (2017) 4F, 4M

Fairview by Jackie Sibblies Drury (2018) 5F, 3M

Nollywood Dreams by Jocelyn Bioh (2018) 4F, 2M

Sugar In Our Wounds by Donja R. Love (2019) 3F, 2M

Black Theatre Literature

Advice to a Young Black Actor Conversations with Douglas Turner Ward, Gus Edwardsk

African American Performance & Theater History, Harry J. Elam Jr.

African American Theatre: A Historical and Critical Analysis, Samuel A. Hay

The African American Theatrical Body, Soyica Diggs Colbert

Afrocentric Theatre, Barbara J. Molette and Carlton Molette

August Wilson and Black Aesthetics, Sandra Shannon and Dana Williams

Black Broadway: African Americans on the Great White Way, Stewart F. Lane

The Black Circuit: Race, Performance, and Spectatorship in Black PopularTheatre, ​Rashida Z. Shaw McMahon

Black Drama: The Story of the American Negro in the Theatre, Loften Mitchell

Black Lives, Black Words: 32 Short Plays, Selected and edited by Reginald Edmund

Black Movements, Soyica Diggs Colbert

Black Theater is Black Life, Harvey Young and Queen Meccasia Zabriskie

Black Theatre: Premise and Presentation, Barbara J. Molette and Carlton Molette

Black Theatre Present Condition, Woodie King Jr.

Black Theatre: Ritual Performance in the African Diaspora, Paul Carter Harrison, Victor Leo Walker, Gus Edwards

The Cambridge Guide to African and Caribbean Theatre, Errol Hill, Martin Banham, George William Woodyard

Embodying Black Experience, Harvey Young

A History of African American Theatre, Errol G. Hill and James V. Hatch

“I Ain’t Sorry For Nothin’ i Done” August Wilson’s Process of Playwriting, Joan Herrington

In the Shadow of the Great White Way, Paul Carter Harrison & Bert Andrews

The Impact of Race: Theatre and Culture, Woodie King Jr.

Ira Aldridge: The Negro Tragedian, Herbert Marshall and Mildred Stock

It’s Always Loud in the Balcony, Richard Wesley

The Past as Present in the Drama of August Wilson, Harry J. Elam Jr.

The Theatre of Black Americans, Errol Hill

Theatre & Race, Harvey Young

Theorizing Black Theatre, Henry D. Miller


40 Black Playwrights on the Theater Industry’s Insidious Racism

1619 Project – Full Text

Blackness In Nonprofit Theatre

Criteria For Negro Art by W.E.B. DuBois

Don’t Call African American Theatre Black Theatre

The Ground on Which I Stand by August Wilson – Full Text

Krigwa Players- “For Us, By Us…” by W.E.B. DuBois

Larry Neal on the Black Arts Movement

Reading List from Ibram X. Kendi

Towards a New Generation of African American Leaders By Marqueece Harris-Dawson

Special Thanks to Bernard Addison, DeJuan Christopher, and Charles Reese.