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English Language Arts: History of Black Engagement with Shakespeare

This video from Great Performances: Merry Wives, performed after a year of isolation and quarantine due to the COVID-19 pandemic, recreates the typical Shakespearean drama with an all-Black cast who play the role of West African and African American peoples in Harlem. This adaptation is just one example in a long history of Black engagement in the world of Shakespeare, featuring a message that is both radical and inclusive. The video and support materials ask students to analyze the beginning of the play and how the selected instrument and music invite the audience to celebrate Black joy.

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