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Mary P. Burrill

Mary P. Burrill
Mary P. Burrill


  • 1881    Mary P. Burrill was born in Washington, D.C.
  • 1901    Mary graduated from M Street High School (later Dunbar High School)
  • 1904    Mary received her diploma from Emerson College of Oratory (later Emerson College)
  • After graduating from college Mary taught English, speech and drama at Dunbar High School
  • Two of Mary’s students from Dunbar High School:
    • Willis Richardson: became the first African American dramatist to have a play produced on Broadway, and
    • May Miller: published her first play, Pandora's Box, while still a student at Dunbar High School
  • 1944    Mary retired from teaching
  • 1946    Mary died on March 13th in New York City

Biography information obtained from: Wikipedia contributors. "Mary P. Burrill." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 18 Nov. 2010. Web. 29 Nov. 2010.

List of Mary’s Work:

1919    They That Sit in Darkness

                  (a play that focused on the effects of a young mother having multiple children) was   published in Margaret Sanger’s Birth Control Review, a   monthly publication that        advocated reproductive rights for women.

1919    Aftermath

                  (a play set in rural South Carolina, tells the story of a young soldier returning home   from overseas to find that his father has been lynched) was published in Liberator    and edited by socialist Max Eastman.

Production History:

1928    Aftermath Produced by Krigwa Players (NYC) at the Little Negro Theatre (NYC)


Additional Information:

Information about the Birth Control Review (Including Archives)


African American History Timeline:


Critical Articles:

“Krigwa, a Theatre by, for, and about Black People”

Ethel Pitts Walker

Theatre Journal

Vol. 40, No. 3, Perspectives in Theatre History (Oct., 1988), pp. 347-356

(Article consists of 10 pages)

Published by: The Johns Hopkins University Press


Monroe, J. G. (1983), “The Harlem Little Theatre Movement,” 1920–1929. Journal of American Culture, 6: 63–70. doi: 10.1111/j.1542-734X.1983.0604_63.x

Author Information: Assistant Professor of Theater and Afro-American Studies a t Wesleyan        University, Middletown, Connecticut.

Publication History: Issue published online: 7 JUN 2004

Article first published online: 7 JUN 2004


Title: “Review: [untitled]”

Author(s): June Schlueter

Source: Theatre Journal, Vol. 43, No. 1 (Mar., 1991), pp. 128-129

Publisher(s): The Johns Hopkins University Press


Title: “Early Black Women Playwrights and the Dual Liberation Motif”

Author(s): Will Harris

Source: African American Review, Vol. 28, No. 2, Black Women's Culture Issue (Summer, 1994), pp. 205-221

Publisher(s): Indiana State University


Title: “Anti-Lynch Plays by African American Women: Race, Gender, and Social Protest in            American Drama”

Author(s): Judith L. Stephens

Source: African American Review, Vol. 26, No. 2, Poetry and Theatre Issue (Summer, 1992), pp.  329-339

Publisher(s): Indiana State University


Title: “Racial Violence and Representation: Performance Strategies in Lynching Dramas of the   1920s”

Author(s): Judith L. Stephens

Source: African American Review, Vol. 33, No. 4 (Winter, 1999), pp. 655-671

Publisher(s): Indiana State University