African American Women Playwrights

Welcome to the African American Women Playwrights’ website! 

This site invites you to learn about black female playwrights from 1916 to today.  We hope that their works will find their way into the theatre classroom and onto the professional stage in order to prevent another generation of theatre scholars and artists who are unaware of the “great (w)hole of history”—as Suzan-Lori Parks might put it—in their education.

Featured Dramatists:

Project Director

Dr. Valerie Joyce, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Theatre


These playwrights wrote with hope for tomorrow, for the future, for their children.                  

One theme that pulled all of these plays together was the female characters’ incredible strength: what they stood for, what they stood up against is really powerful.  These women were not going to be solely defined by the color or shade of their skin or by their current circumstance. 

Their dreams were big and the possibilities were endless. 

And I thought, “How empowering is that?”

-- Kimberly S. Fairbanks
actor, teacher, alumna '10

Angelina Weld Grimké
Alice Childress
May Miller
Zora Neale Hurston