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The Current Events of American Moor

Keith Hamilton Cobb’s American Moor (APR 10-21) is filled with references to current events and figures beyond Shakespeare’s most classic works. Cobb tackles timely issues facing our nation today highlighting the plights of African American men in traditional literature, as well as in the current political and social climate of the United States. Here is a reference guide to check out before seeing American Moor to help you fully appreciate the performance.

Walter Lee Younger

Walter Lee Younger is a character in the play Raisin in the Sun written by Lorraine Hansberry that made its Broadway debut in 1959. The play follows the story of a black family living in the Washington Park Subdivision of Chicago’s Woodlawn neighborhood. Often referred to as “brother” throughout the play, Walter is the focal point of the story. Stuck in a cycle of poverty and prejudice, Walter is a man with big dreams about solving his social and economic problems.

August Wilson

Wilson is an American playwright whose work explored the comic and tragic aspects of the African-American experience during the 20th century. He wrote 10 plays and is the winner of 2 Pulitzer Prize awards for The Piano Lesson and Fences, the latter which also won a Tony.

Tamir Rice

Tamir Rice was a 12-year-old African-American boy who was shot in Cleveland, Ohio on November 22, 2014. Two police officers arrived on the scene due to a report that Rice was “a man” pointing a pistol and random individuals. Rice was shot twice by the officer who has stated he thought Rice was drawing the pistol when he asked him to put his hands up. Rice’s gun was later found to be a non-lethal airsoft replica. Rice’s death has been cited as one of the many deaths of black men from police violence that ignited the Black Lives Matter movement.

Trayvon Martin

Trayvon Martin was a 17-year-old African American boy who was shot and killed on February 26, 2012 by police officer George Zimmerman in Sanford, Florida. Zimmerman claimed that he was acting in self-defense. Zimmerman had also ignored instructions to not approach the “suspicious person.” In the aftermath of the shooting Zimmerman was charged with second-degree murder, however he was not found guilty. The Trayvon Martin Foundation was started in 2014 and Martin’s death is often seen as a catalyst of the Black Lives Matter Movement.

ArtsEmerson’s core belief is that the arts belong to everyone and that art is a common right. Overcoming the exclusionary tendencies of art is at the center of our mission. We ignite public conversation around our most vexing societal challenges as a catalyst for overcoming them by cultivating diversity in the art and in the audience. We are thrilled to welcome Keith Hamilton Cobb and his groundbreaking piece which encapsulates everything that ArtsEmerson stands for. Come see American Moor in Boston APR 10-21 at the Emerson Paramount Center.

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