Black Quotidian: Everyday History in African-American Newspapers

October 8, 1960

Guest post by Ashley Hogan, undergraduate student at Manhattan College.

On October 8, 1960, the New York Amsterdam News featured an article regarding a revival of Arnaud d’Usseau and James Gow’s play, Deep Are the Roots, which first premiered on Broadway in 1945. In this play, Brett Charles, an African American lieutenant, had difficulty reintegrating into society as a second-class citizen after the war. The producers also incorporated an interracial love story between Charles and a childhood friend. This play centered on racial equality in the United States during the twentieth century. The revival of this play in 1960, reintroduced when the Civil Right Movement rose, reiterated the necessity for a serious change. The playwriters encouraged that white American and African American should not hate one another, but rather they should unite, coexist, and love one another. This play explicitly encouraged African Americans to defy societal norms and instead, strive for equality.

In 1945, did playwriters envision this composition as a potential vision of reality for the future? The ideas of social equality and methods to achieve these results existed preceding the Civil Rights Movement, but did the themes present in the original production of this play contribute to this movement? 

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