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Writer to discuss religion and theater

2/21/2014, 6 a.m.
Craig Prentiss

Author Craig R. Prentiss will discuss the role of religion in African-American theater during the first half of the 20th century on Feb. 25 at Emory University’s Woodruff Library.

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Craig Prentiss

The book reading and signing will begin at 6:30 p.m. in the Jones Room.

Prentiss’ book, “Staging Faith: Religion and African American Theater from the Harlem Renaissance to World War II,” examines the intersection of religion and theater as a reflection of African-American life during the first Great Migration (roughly 1910-1930).

Those were tumultuous years, when large numbers of black people moved from the largely rural South to cities in the Northeast, Midwest and West in search of jobs and greater possibilities for their futures.

Prentiss, a professor of religious studies at Rockhurst University in Kansas City, Mo., discusses nearly 40 African-American-written plays from about 1915 to 1940 in his book. Most of the plays are obscure and unpublished, and many were performed in community centers and churches. He said the plays reflect the mounting class tensions of the time period that caused many African-Americans to question their long-held religious beliefs.

Prentiss will read from the book, answer questions, and sign books after the event.

The library is at 540 Asbury Circle in Atlanta. Parking is available in the Fishburne deck. For more information, contact Julie Braun at jkbraun@emory.edu.