Program Information for A Past Becomes a Heritage: The Negro Units of the Federal Theatre Project

Recorded readings of play excerpts written by artists in the New Deal-era Federal Theatre Project’s Negro Units

This Princeton Humanities Council Magic Project event launches a new partnership between the Lewis Center for the Arts and CLASSIX

Presented March 30, 2021, at 7:30 PM



Run Time

Approximately 2 hours.


Welcome and introduction of moderator — Dominique Rider

Introduction of panelists — Michael Dinwiddie

Video on the Federal Theatre Project Negro Units

Panel discussion
Conversation on the New Deal, the Federal Theatre Project’s Negro Units and how they relate to today. Featured panelists:

  • Kinohi Nishikawa — Associate Professor in Princeton’s Departments of English and African American Studies
  • Arminda Thomas — member of CLASSIX, dramaturg, archivist, and musician
  • Autumn M. Womack — Assistant Professor in Princeton’s Departments of English and African American Studies
  • Michael Dinwiddie — Associate Professor at New York University (Moderator)

Recorded play excerpts:

  • Natural Man by Theodore Browne
  • Liberty Deferred by Abram Hill and John D. Silvera
  • Big White Fog by Theodore Ward

Panel discussion (continued)

Audience Q&A



First Hobo (NATURAL MAN); Dan (BIG WHITE FOG) — Joshua E. Nelson*
Second Hobo (NATURAL MAN); Strawder (BIG WHITE FOG) — Yusef Miller*
Third Hobo (NATURAL MAN) — Grace Porter
Fourth Hobo (NATURAL MAN); Servant/Ira Aldridge (LIBERTY DEFERRED) — Danté JeanFelix*
John Henry (NATURAL MAN) — Galen Ryan Kane*
Vic (BIG WHITE FOG) — Jason Bowen*
Percy (BIG WHITE FOG) — Bjorn DuPaty*
Ella (BIG WHITE FOG) — Sharina Martin*
Brooks (BIG WHITE FOG) — Petronia Paley*
Thomas Jefferson (LIBERTY DEFERRED) — Andrew Goebel
Mary Lou (LIBERTY DEFERRED) — Sarah Alice Shull
Jimmy/John Wheatley (LIBERTY DEFERRED) — Brian Pollock
Loud Speaker/Phyllis Wheatley (LIBERTY DEFERRED) — Kedren Spencer*
Ted/Banneker (LIBERTY DEFERRED) — James Edward Becton*
Stage Directions (All excerpts) — Jasmine Rush

* Appearing through an Agreement between CLASSIX and Actors’ Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States.



Producer — Awoye Timpo (CLASSIX)
Producer/Director — Dominique Rider (CLASSIX / BIG WHITE FOG)
Producer — Brittany Bradford (CLASSIX)
Producer — A.J. Muhammad (CLASSIX)
Producer/Panelist — Arminda Thomas (CLASSIX)
Line Producer — Stephanie Rolland
Director — Christina Franklin (NATURAL MAN)
Director — Kimille Howard (LIBERTY DEFERRED)
Stage Manager — Carmelita Becnel*
Assistant Stage Manager — Rob Del Colle
Moderator — Michael Dinwiddie
Panelist — Autumn M. Womack
Panelist — Kinohi Nishikawa
Production Associate — Victoria Davidjohn ’19
Video Editor — Milan Eldridge ’20
Sound Engineer — Kay Richardson
Zoom & Streaming Coordinator — Matt Pilsner
Streaming Support — Jesse Froncek
Streaming Support — Torrey Drum
Student Assistant — Brittani Telfair ’22
Student Assistant — Nica Evans ’24
Student Run Crew — Chloe Horner ’22

* Appearing through an Agreement between CLASSIX and Actors’ Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States.



Chair: Tracy K. Smith
Executive Director: Marion Friedman Young


Director, Producing Artistic Director, Theater And Music Theater Season: Jane Cox

View all staff profiles »
Producer: Darryl Waskow
Production Manager: Chloë Z. Brown
Production Stage Manager: Carmelita Becnel
Resident Musical Director/Composer: Vince di Mura
Assistant Stage Manager: Rob Del Colle
Costume Shop Manager: E. Keating Helfrich
Assistant Costume Shop Manager: Julia Kosanovich
Draper: Caitlin Brown
Technical Director: Timothy Godin
Assistant Technical Director: Jesse Froncek
Theater Technician: Torrey Drum
Lighting & Stage Supervisor: Matt Pilsner
Props Master: Allie Geiger Khanna
Scenic Artist: Melissa Riccobono
Master Carpenter: Michael A. Smola
Sound Supervisor: Kay Richardson
Director of Communications: Steve Runk
Multimedia Specialist: Zohar Lavi-Hasson
Visual Communications Specialist: Tracy Patterson
Web & Multimedia Strategist: Jonathan Sweeney
Communications Associate: Jaclyn Sweet
Communications Assistant: Hope VanCleaf



closed captioning availableThis event will be live captioned. If you are in need of other access accommodations in order to participate in this event, please contact the Lewis Center at 609-258-5262 or email at least 2 weeks in advance of the event date.




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