Cover

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Title Page, Copyright

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pp. i-vi

Table of Contents

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pp. vii-viii

List of Illustrations

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pp. ix-x

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xi-xviii

...Dr. Susan Hayes of New York University for encouraging me to pursue the master’s degree and the PhD at a incredibly difficult turning point in my life, when I was grieving for the death of my cherished mommy and struggling with the transition from dancer and singer and wrestling with moving beyond a performance career. They provided comfort...

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Introduction

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pp. 3-10

...their mark on musical theater. Following Booker T. Washington’s lead, W. E. B. Du Bois’s ideology, the tenets of Atlanta University, and Cole’s “Colored Actor’s Declaration of Independence,” and informed by their own brushes with United States racism and subjugation, the team actively worked to “become leaders and helpers of their race” through music and theater.1 Their careers as producers of black musical...

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1. The Origins of the Cole and Johnson Musical Theater Team

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pp. 11-38

...Athens, Georgia, in July 1868 to Isabella Thomas Weldon and Robert Allen Cole, Sr. His birth occurred five years after the emancipation of the slaves and during the height of the gains made during Reconstruction. Both of Cole’s parents were former slaves who lived and worked in Athens. According to his descendent, Dr. Jewell Plummer Cobb, Robert Allen Cole, Sr., was part Seminole Indian and...

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2. Cole and Johnson's Social and Political Thought: The Case of Shoo Fly Regiment and the Spanish-American War

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pp. 39-70

...Cole also kept clippings on African American soldiers who played an integral role in fighting the Spanish-American War. From these clippings, we can conclude that Cole maintained an acute awareness of the heroism of black soldiers and of the destructive nature of war. Cole most certainly knew what was at stake in the United States, Cuba, and the Philippines: that blacks faced white lynch mobs here...

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3. Theatrical Imaginings: Cole and Johnson's The Shoo Fly Regiment

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pp. 71-96

...describes the living situation of the blacks in Tuskegee as severely impoverished: families living in one-room shacks with nothing to eat except corn bread and pork fat, whole families working in the fields from sunup to sundown with little time to sit down and eat as a family.2 Yet these impoverished people wanted educational opportunities for their children and for themselves. They petitioned the legislature for a black school...

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4. The Red Moon: The Interconnections between Theater and History, the Black and Native Americanization Program at Hampton Institute

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pp. 97-158

...review for a performance at the Great Northern, “The battle for the love of Minnehaha began between Red Feather and Plunk Green. The curtain fell on the first act, a beautiful picture, Minnehaha leaving the Government school for the land of the ‘Setting Sun.’” Green and Brown ultimately save Minnehaha and also play a role in the reconciliation of Chief Lowdog and Lucretia Martin...

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5. Cole and Johnson and the Gibson Gal: Gender, Race, and Uplift

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pp. 159-188

...and Johnson’s most important innovations in the way of performative African American female uplift came through their featuring of an all-female chorus called the “Gibson Gals.” These African American women appeared on stage as sophisticated, pure, and respectable. The team’s Gibson Gals performed in regular stage makeup, with the repulsive practice of “blacking up” discarded...

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Epilogue

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pp. 189-190

...In 1913 James Weldon Johnson hoped to continue his career as a diplomat, but the United States blocked his ambitions because of their unwillingness to send an African American man to the Azores. J. Rosamond Johnson left the United States for England in the hopes of building a career in the theater that he could not have in the United States. On May 13, 1913, James Weldon Johnson wrote a response to J. Rosamond Johnson who asked for his advice about whether he should remain...

Notes

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pp. 191-234

Bibliography

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pp. 235-270

Index

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pp. 271-293