The Howard University Players

by Clifford L. Muse, Jr., Ph.D.

     The Founders of Howard University felt that an essential component of its liberal arts educational program should be the study of the creative arts of music and drama. (1) The Founders firmly believed that African Americans "had a distinct contribution to make in the development of a native American drama." (2) The early development of Howard’s drama activities was an attempt to establish a foundation for an African American theater which would "express to the world the rich inheritance and varied experiences of the African American race." (3)

     In 1907, a group of Howard students and teachers performed Shakespearean plays for campus and off-campus audiences in the Washington, D.C. area., (4) The 1907 actors were formally organized into the College Dramatic Club by Dr. Ernest Everett Just, who had been hired by the University as an instructor in English. (5) The Howard faculty members, Dr. Benjamin Brawley and Marie Moore-Forrest, assisted Dr. Just in his theatrical endeavors. (6)

     In 1923, the drama group, known as the Dramatic Club or Players’Guild, was reorganized under the direction of its director, Professor T. Montgomery Gregory. (7) The name "Howard University Players" identified the drama group by 1925. (8) The actors achieved fame as a group presenting plays "depicting not only African American life and problems, but also plays presenting good drama." (9) The following list identifies theatrical productions performed by the Dramatic Club and Howard Players, as documented by archival records in the Howard University Archives. (10)


<back to previous page


continued on next page >


cologo3.gif (6014 bytes)

February 2001