QUESTION TEXT: Which one of the following statements, if true…
DISCUSSION: Remember, a “national black theater” has two components:
- It’s produced across the country.
- It’s by African-Americans, for African-Americans, and represents African-American ideas.
- This weakens the claim, because it shows there were already black plays performed by black actors, before the Negro units.
- This sounds good, but there could have been a national black theater even if there wasn’t government funding. Government funding for the arts is a comparatively recent phenomenon; yet theater existed before funding was widespread.
- CORRECT. If African-American plays were only in large eastern cities, then they weren’t national, by definition. Whereas the Negro Units performed in cities all over the US. (line 14)
- This sounds good, but we don’t know the average audience at Negro Unit plays. Maybe those audiences were also small. (A lot of theaters are tiny; 100 may be a typical audience for most plays, African-American or not)
- This just makes it hard to judge the claim. A truly national black theatre might have existed even if we can’t find records for it. A lot of history is surprisingly poorly documented. Lack of knowledge doesn’t equal lack of theater.
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