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Black Actors in American Cinema by Carol L. Penney


Guide Entry to 96.03.13:

This curriculum unit, Black Actors in American Cinema , is designed for acting students at the Cooperative Arts and Humanities High School. These students have very little knowledge of the stereotyping of the black actor in film. They also have little knowledge of the history of black actors and their films. The unit objective is to study the contribution of the black actor to American cinema from the era of silent film to the present. Special emphasis is placed on actors and films before 1970. I have also chosen actors and films that I believe will relate directly to the study of acting. The strategy for studying black actors will consist of viewing films and segments of films intended to acquaint students with the work of individual actors. Short biographies of actors, suggested films, play scripts, acting exercises, and some acting terms are included in this unit.

Included for study in this unit are the following actors and their films:

Paul Robeson / The Emperor Jones

Nina Mae McKinney / Hallelujah

Hattie McDaniels / Alice Adams

Ethel Waters / Pinky / The Member of the Wedding

Dorothy Dandridge / Carmen Jones / Porgy and Bess

Lena Horn / Stormy Weather

Ivan Dixon / Nothing but a Man

Sidney Poitier / A Raisin in the Sun

Laurence Fishburn / Othello

Denzel Washington / Malcolm X

(Recommended for Drama, grades 9-11)

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