REACTIVATING MEMORY Shuffle Along and the Tulsa Race Massacre:
A Centennial Symposium

VIRTUAL / VIA ZOOM

female lead in the center with eight chorus girls in an exterior scene

Scene from the stage production of “Shuffle Along” (1921). Courtesy New York Public Library.

One hundred years ago, the dazzling all-Black Broadway musical Shuffle Along ushered in the Jazz Age with a syncopated score and tap dancing chorus. One week later, white residents of Tulsa, Oklahoma, murdered hundreds of Black residents and burned down the vibrant Black neighborhood of Greenwood.

Looking back at these seemingly disparate events, what can we learn about Black success, racial capitalism, and white violence? What can we learn about how journalists and historians document, neglect, or erase certain events? And, how can we now redress the past by “REACTIVATING MEMORY”?

On September 10, join a remarkable group of artists, journalists, and scholars via Zoom for a free and accessible day marking the centennial of these two neglected but pivotal events in U.S. history. The “REACTIVATING MEMORY” virtual symposium, a Princeton Humanities Council Magic Project, traces the legacies of both Shuffle Along and the Tulsa Race Massacre in the contemporary United States, examining gaps and silences in historical archives and the work currently being done to fill those gaps.

group of men running with football in backyard

Photograph of men running with a football in front of two houses in Tulsa, OK, 1920. Courtesy National Museum of African American History and Culture, Smithsonian.

The symposium includes three panel discussions and performances by tap dancers, singers, and musicians examining how we “reactivate” cultural memory through performance, journalism, scholarly research, and programs such as HBO’s Watchmen.

As an exciting prelude to the symposium, members of the production team and cast of the 2016 meta-musical Shuffle Along will gather for a virtual reunion.

 


SCHEDULE OF EVENTS

Shuffle Along (2016) Reunion

September 9, 2021 @ 7:30 – 9 PM (EDT)

The original Shuffle Along—created by an all-Black creative team—was a hit that transformed the popular stage as it introduced a syncopated jazz score and tapping chorus girls for the first time on Broadway. Despite its fame at the time, the impact of Shuffle Along on contemporary musical theater has been largely forgotten beyond musical theater and Harlem renaissance scholars.

Nearly a century later, the production of Shuffle Along, or, The Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed, which documented the original musical’s struggles and triumph, debuted on the Great White Way. The musical was written and directed by Tony Award-winner George C. Wolfe, choreographed by Savion Glover, boasted a cast of African American musical theater luminaries and played to full houses, and yet, it closed barely three months into its run. Host and 2021-23 Princeton Arts Fellow Michael J. Love will facilitate a discussion with the panelists about the choreography, song selection, singing style and personal impact and political implication of the show’s abrupt closing.

FREE and open to the public. Virtual via Zoom Webinar. View full Reunion details and registration information »

REACTIVATING MEMORY
Shuffle Along and the Tulsa Race Massacre:
A Centennial Symposium

September 10, 2021 @ 9:30 AM – 4:30 PM (EDT)

The daylong symposium will feature dynamic programming including performances and three panel discussions among scholars, journalists, and artists.

FREE and open to the public. Virtual via Zoom Webinar. View full Symposium details and registration information »

PANELISTS + GUEST ARTISTS

Featured symposium panelists include Jack Baker, DeNeen L. Brown, Jayna Brown, Crystal Z Campbell, Meta Carstarphen, Nathan Alan Davis, Caseen Gaines, Eric M. Glover, Hannibal B. Johnson, Quraysh Ali Lansana, Koritha Mitchell, Tina Post and Isaiah Wooden. Featured reunion panelists include Marshall L. Davis, Jr., Savion Glover, Amber Iman, Michael J. Love, Awoye Timpo and Daryl Waters. Featured artists include Masi Asare, Tyehimba Jess, Lisa LaTouche, Michael J. Love, Alicia Hall Moran. View bios for all panelists and featured artists »

EVENT HOSTS

Hosts and facilitators of the symposium events include Michael D. Dinwiddie, KalaLea, Kinohi Nishikawa, Awoye Timpo and Autumn Womack.

EVENT ORGANIZERS

The symposium events are organized by CLASSIX members Brittany Bradford, A.J. Muhammad, Dominique Rider, Arminda Thomas, and Awoye Timpo; Stacy Wolf, Director of Music Theater at Princeton University; Catherine M. Young, Lecturer in the Princeton Writing Program, and Michael J. Love, 2021-23 Princeton Arts Fellow. View bios for all event hosts + organizers »

SPONSORS

This is a Princeton Humanities Council Magic Project funded through a David A. Garner ’69 Magic Grant and presented by the Lewis Center for the Arts. A signature program of the Humanities Council, a Magic Project is a deliberate intervention designed to create new collaborations and to be an intentional shaping force in the landscape of the humanities at Princeton.

 

*Banner Image: (left) Notes From Black Wall Street #77, © 2016 Crystal Z Campbell, and (right) multimedia collage © 2021 Crystal Z Campbell

 

HISTORICAL PHOTOS

NEWS + MEDIA

Lewis Center for the Arts Symposium “Reactivates Memory” | Town Topics, August 18, 2021

Lewis Center for the Arts Press Release — Program in Music Theater presents REACTIVATING MEMORY – Shuffle Along and the Tulsa Race Massacre: A Centennial Symposium | Princeton University, August 11, 2021

 

JOIN THE SYMPOSIUM

Presented virtually/via Zoom September 9-10, 2021. All events FREE and open to the public; registration required.

SPONSORS

This is a Princeton Humanities Council Magic Project funded through a David A. Garner ’69 Magic Grant and presented by the Lewis Center for the Arts. A signature program of the Humanities Council, a Magic Project is a deliberate intervention designed to create new collaborations and to be an intentional shaping force in the landscape of the humanities at Princeton.