MAAP | Mapping the African American Past

The African Grove Theater


Why was it important for African Americans to perform in and attend theatrical productions in pre-Civil War New York?

At the conclusion of this lesson, students will be able to:

  • Evaluate the importance of cultural expression in general and theatrical performance in particular to the African American community in antebellum New York
  • Identify the historical contributions of the African Grove Theater
  • Contrast racial attitudes toward actors in antebellum New York with those of present-day New York

Essential Questions:

  • How did the existence of slavery shape African American communal life and cultural expression?
  • How is a community defined?
  • How was the African American community defined?

Produced by CCNMTL, Chase, Teachers College, and CCI