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Ragtime and the N-Word

Although I had read the text, libretto, and seen Ragtime rehearsal previous to the production opening, I was not offended by the usage of the term”nigger” until I saw the production live. After the show, I found myself wondering why I had such a visceral reaction to Michael Oliver’s portrayal of Willie Conklin. Despite having some historical […]

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Seeing Double–Kohlhaas, Coalhouse, and the Social Contract

Ragtime’s Coalhouse is heavily based on writer Heinrich Von Kleist‘s short novel, Michael Kohlhaas. The novella is about Kohlhaas’s quest for justice after  an official named Junker Wenzel von Tronka illegally confiscates two of Kohlhaas’s black nags (horses). Similar to Coalhouse’s struggle, Kohlhaas is unable to seek legal redress and is thus forced to take more drastic […]

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Character Bio: Booker T. Washington

 Booker T. Washington Quick Facts Born a slave in 1856 but, after emancipation, moved with his family to West Virginia. Representative of the last generation of black leaders born in slavery. American educator, author, orator, and political leader. He was the dominant and most influential figure in the African American community in the United States […]

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Character Bio: Henry Ford

  Henry Ford    Born on July 30, 1863, Henry Ford grew up on a prosperous family farm in Dearborn, Michigan.  He attended a one room schoolhouse and when Ford was not at school, he was doing farm work and other chores around the house. Far more interested in mechanical things, Ford disliked farm life. In […]

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Character Bio: Evelyn Nesbit

Evelyn Nesbit “The American Eve” Prior to being donned the “American Eve”, Evelyn Nesbit rose to fame in  the beginning of the 20th century. Beginning as a novice model in New York City, Nesbit quickly became a “Gibson Girl“. Essentially, Nesbit was the Marilyn Monroe of her era. Following her work as a model, Nesbit […]