A century before Jackie Robinson and Marian Anderson

Ira Aldridge was the foremost Shakespearean actor of the mid-19th Century.  He profoundly moved audiences, but scandalized critics and the theater establishment because he was African-American, born in New York City (1807) of freed slaves.

He made a fortune touring Europe, and donated most of it to American abolitionists, and to buying freedom of individual American slaves.




Red Velvet by Lolita Chakrabarti is a play based on Aldridge’s career.


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