Gary Soto is a man who writes from experience. He grew up in one of the many barrios poor Mexican American neighborhoods of Fresno, California, and since the mids he has borrowed from that community to create an astonishing number of works. Soto, however, does not see himself as strictly a Chicano author. True, in his over twenty books of poetry and prose for adults and in over thirty books for younger readers, he focuses on the daily trials and tribulations of Spanish-speaking Americans.
I have come here today to make a testimony, to talk about the ground on which I stand and all the many grounds on which I and my ancestors have toiled, and the ground of theatre on which my fellow artists and I have labored to bring forth its fruits, its daring and its sometimes lacerating, and often healing, truths.
I wish to make it clear from the outset, however, that I do not have a mandate to speak for anyone.
There are many intelligent blacks working in the American theatre who speak in loud and articulate voices. It would be the greatest of presumptions to say I speak for them.
I speak only myself and those who may think as I do. I felt it a duty and an honor to participate in that historic moment, as the people who had arrived in America chained and malnourished in the hold of a foot Portuguese, Dutch or English sailing ship, were now seeking ways to alter their relationship to the society in which they lived—and, perhaps more important, searching for ways to alter the shared expectations of themselves as a community of people.
I mention this because it is difficult to disassociate my concerns with theatre from the concerns of my life as a black man, and it is difficult to disassociate one part of my life from another.
I have strived to live it all seamless … art and life together, inseparable and indistinguishable. The ideas I discovered and embraced in my youth when my idealism was full blown I have not abandoned in middle age when idealism is something less the blooming, but wisdom is starting to bud.
The need to alter our relationship to the society and to alter the shared expectations of ourselves as a racial group, I find of greater urgency now than it was then. It is the largest category of identification because it is the one that most influences your perception of yourself, and it is the one to which others in the world of men most respond.
Race is also an important part of the American landscape, as America is made up of an amalgamation of races from all parts of the globe. Race is also the product of a shared gene pool that allows for group identification, and it is an organizing principle around which cultures are formed.
When I say culture I am speaking about the behavior patterns, arts, beliefs, institutions and all other products of human work and thought as expressed in a particular community of people. There are some people who will say that black Americans do not have a culture—that cultures are reserved for other people, most notably Europeans of various ethnic groupings, and that black Americans made up a sub-group of American culture that is derived from the European origins of its majority population.
But black Americans are Africans, and there are many histories and many cultures on the African continent. Those who would deny black Americans their culture would also deny them their history and the inherent values that are a part of all human life.
It is this culture that stands solidly on these shores today as a testament to the resiliency of the African-American spirit. The term black or African-American not only denotes race, it denotes condition, and carries with it the vestige of slavery and the social segregation and abuse of opportunity so vivid in our memory.
That this abuse of opportunity and truncation of possibility is continuing and is so pervasive in our society in says much about who we are and much about the work that is necessary to alter our perceptions of each other and to effect meaningful prosperity for all.
The problematic nature of the relationship between white and black for too long led us astray the fulfillment of our possibilities as a society. In terms of economics and privilege, one significant fact affects us all in the American theatre: Of the 66 LORT theatre, there is only one that can be considered black.
The economics are reserved as privilege to the overwhelming abundance of institutions that preserve, promote and perpetuate white culture. That is not a complaint. That is an advertisement. Since the funding sources, both public and private, do not publicly carry avowed missions of exclusion and segregated support, this is obviously either a glaring case of oversight, or we the proponents of black theatre have not made our presence or needs known.
I hope here tonight to correct that. I do not have the time in this short talk to reiterate the long and distinguished history of black theatre—often accomplished amid adverse and hostile conditions—but I would like to take the time to mark a few high points.
There are and have always been two distinct and parallel traditions in black art: An important part of black theatre that is often ignored but is seminal to its tradition is its origins on the slave plantations of the South.
This tradition has its present life counterpart in the crossover artists that slant their material for white consumption. This second tradition occurred when the African in the confines of the slave quarters sought to invest his spirit with the strength of his ancestors by conceiving in his art, in his song and dance, a world in which he was the spiritual center and his existence was a manifest act of the creator from whom life flowed.
He then could create art that was functional and furnished him with a spiritual temperament necessary for his survival as property and the dehumanizing status that was attendant to that.
I stand myself and my art squarely on the self-defining ground of the slave quarters, and find the ground to be hallowed and made fertile by the blood and bones of the men and woman who can be described as warriors on the cultural battlefield that affirmed their self-worth.
As there is no idea that cannot be contained by black life, these men and women found themselves to be sufficient and secure in their art and their instruction. Ron Milner, Ed Bullins, Philip Hayes Dean, Richard Wesley, Lonne Elder III, Sonia Sanchez, Barbara Ann Teer and Amiri Baraka were among those playwrights who were particularly vocal and where remain indebted to them for their brave and courageous forays into an area that is marked with land mines and the shadows of snipers—those who would reserve the territory of arts and letters and the American theatre as their own special province and point blacks toward the ball fields and the bandstands.
That black theatre today comes under such assaults should surprise no one, as we are on the verge of reclaiming and reexamining the purpose and pillars of our art and laying out new directions for its expansion.Fences is a published play by American Playwright, August Wilson.
In Fences, we are introduced to several characters that serve multiple purposes to the . Oedipus essay questions - Forget about those sleepless nights working on your report with our custom writing help % non-plagiarism guarantee of exclusive essays & papers. Start working on your paper right away with excellent guidance offered by the service.
August Wilson gave me - and countless others - this gift of elemental insight. He challenged my conceptions of sports, the Black athletic experience, and how to understand these two aspects so central to our popular culture. Read August Wilson Biography free essay and over 88, other research documents.
August Wilson Biography. August Wilson Any person that can rise up from the bottom rung of the ladder to the top is able /5(1). Born Frederick August Kittel to Daisy Wilson and Frederick Kittel, a red-haired baker who emigrated from Germany at The fourth child of six, his siblings are: Freda Ellis (the Hill), Linda.
The story Fences written by August Wilson, a classic play that details life of a family through the good times and bad times.
I going to give you the details of one of the main character Troy Maxson. Troy, the father, want his son Cory to have a better future that him/5(48).