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Carl Van Vechten
Margaret Bonds
10 October 1956
Carl Van Vechten Papers



One of a thriving group of African-American writers, entertainers, and artists based in the South Side Chicago neighborhood known as “Bronzeville,” composer Margaret Bonds was an important contributor to the development of classical and musical theater in twentieth-century America. She helped to generate new audiences and greater appreciation for traditional African-American musical forms by creating and performing new interpretations of time-honored spirituals incorporating jazz and ragtime rhythms. She is often credited with revitalizing this central element of African-American history and culture. Furthermore, her collaborations with poet Langston Hughes and her modern musical adaptation of Shakespearean texts broke ground in American theater, providing audiences with realistic and unsensational representations of African Americans on stage.


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