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Wed, 02.08.1911

The ‘Howard Players’ are formed

*On this date in 1911 "The Howard Players” began.  They are the on-campus theatrical organization at Howard University.  

Historically, their groundwork began years before that by Coralie Franklin Cook who taught elocution at Howard in the 1890s. Such was the beginning of the intensive study of public speaking and been a voice for the performing arts since 1907. As an art form at the University, it was not made compulsory until 1911. 

Ernest Everett Just came to the University in 1909 as an instructor of English and together, with a number of students, organized the first drama group, known as the College Dramatic Club. For several years, this club gave performances annually at the Howard Theatre in Washington, D.C.  In 1919 courses in Dramatic Art were offered for academic credit for the first time and the College Dramatic Club became known as the Howard Players by 1925. The practical work of acting, character portrayal, technical work for the stage, making of costumes, and production management became the course offerings in Dramatic Art.  

By the 1960s, The Howard University Players were recognized, which they still are today, as the 'Howard Players.' These Players began to attribute Ernest Everett Just, Anne Cooke Reid, and Owen Dodson as the three founders of their beloved organization. 

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String-chewing bass players, Plucking rolled balls of sound From the jazz scented night Feeding hungry beat seekers Finger shaped heartbeats, Driving ivory nails Into their greedy eyes. Smoke crystals, from the nostrils Of released jazz demons, Crash from... MINGUS by Bob Kaufman.
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