Episode: Shakespeare is a Black Woman
Listen now to "Shakespeare is a Black Woman," an episode of Shakespeare in American Life.
“Shakespeare is a Black Woman” is one of three episodes of Shakespeare in American Life, a radio documentary produced by Richard Paul and narrated by Sam Waterston, airing on Public Radio International (PRI) stations beginning in April 2007. Shakespeare in American Life is an NEH-supported Folger Shakespeare Library production.
The episode title, "Shakespeare is a Black Woman,” refers to a well known observation by Maya Angelou. Angelou has often commented on the connection between the experiences of African American women and Shakespeare’s Sonnet 29, which begins “When, in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes, / I all alone beweep my outcast state.”
From the show:
"It seems odd to suggest that 400-year-old English plays might tell us something valuable about American politics. But the truth is, Shakespeare’s been part of American political life since before there was an America. He was drafted by patriots into the Continental Army. He was adopted by newly freed slaves looking to establish a foothold in America. And in today’s politics, Shakespeare is everywhere..."