The Green Pastures Historical Context

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African-American History and Culture in the 1920s-1930s

The Green Pastures was first produced in 1929, the year of the stock market crash that brought on the Great Depression. One reason for the play's continued popularity throughout the 1930s may have been due to the massive migration of African Americans from the South seeking employment in Northern cities. Since Connelly's play was seen primarily by white audiences, his portrayal of rural, Southern African Americans as humble, pious, "simple" people may have held a particular appeal to white Northern populations in urban centers.

The Green Pastures, while written by a white man, includes an entirely African-American cast of characters. Although by today's standards these characters are mostly stereotypes, this play represented a breakthrough in the history of African-American theater because of the unique opportunity it provided for black actors to play in major roles that went beyond standard bit-parts playing...

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This section contains 1,298 words
(approx. 4 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Green Pastures Study Guide
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Drama for Students
The Green Pastures from Drama for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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