James V. Hatch’s pioneering research and writing on black theater has been celebrated and acknowledged by scholars, playwrights and critics for its importance to the preservation and dissemination of the history of African Americans on the American stage. Through his work, Hatch recognizes the importance of black theater long before the Harlem Renaissance, and accounts for the ways in which the stage was used to advance narratives of resistance and resilience.
“Black Theater stretches back into antiquity, and for Afro-Americans, shared glory with the dark-skinned Pharaohs of Egypt is as legitimate as shared glory with the Greeks for Western Caucasians.”
Hatch’s research and collaborations have provided counter narratives to the distorted images of black people as anything but civilized and modern. His recognition of black theater, black actors and black playwrights as sources of empowerment for black communities has won him friends the world over.
Image: James V. Hatch (ed.), Black Theater USA, 1845-1974 (New York: The Free Press, 1974)