• Courtesy the New York Public Library. 

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    Charles Gilpin in O'Neill's "The Emperor Jones"
    • Date
    • 1923
    • Description
    • "Content: Montrose J. Moses collection. Part of "The Pageant of America" Collection, v.14 - The American stage"
      (published photographs).
    • Rights
    • This work may be subject to copyright restrictions.
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    • http://rightsstatements.org/vocab/UND/1.0/
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    • The New York Public Library
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    • The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection. The New York Public Library

  • From the Leslie Jones Collection at the Boston Public Library, via Digital Commonwealth. 

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    Police from Division 9 with casks seized during Prohibition
    • Date
    • 1930
    • Creator
    • Jones, Leslie, 1886-1967
    • Description
    • Title and date from information provided by Leslie Jones or the Boston Public Library on the negative or negative sleeve.
    • Rights
    • Copyright (c) Leslie Jones. All rights reserved.
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    • Digital Commonwealth
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    • Boston Public Library

  • Courtesy the Iron Range Research Center, via the Minnesota Digital Library. 

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    "Female impersonators, Virginia, Minnesota"
    • Creator
    • Pederson, Carl
    • Description
    • Five men on stage dressed as women.
    • Rights
    • Use of this image is governed by U.S. and international copyright law. Please contact the Iron Range Research Center, Chisholm, MN, for more information in regard to this image, online at http://mndiscoverycenter.com/research-center/archive
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    • Minnesota Digital Library
    • Contributing Institution
    • Iron Range Research Center

  • From the Johnny and Ginger Mercer Papers, Popular Music and Culture Collection, Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library. Via the Digital Library of Georgia.

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    Peggy
    • Date
    • 1920/1929
    • Creator
    • Bloom of Chicago
    • Description
    • Publicity photo of a stage actress. Autograph reads: For Ginger--You're a sweet kid. Peggy. Local identification number: M002_2_13-14. Johnny and Ginger Mercer Papers, Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library.
    • Rights
    • Http://rightsstatements.org/vocab/InC-EDU/1.0/. Cite as: M002_2_13-14, Johnny and Ginger Mercer Papers, Popular Music and Culture Collection, Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library., http://digitalcollections.library.gsu.e... more
      Http://rightsstatements.org/vocab/InC-EDU/1.0/. Cite as: M002_2_13-14, Johnny and Ginger Mercer Papers, Popular Music and Culture Collection, Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library., http://digitalcollections.library.gsu.edu/cdm/ref/collection/findingaids/id/206. less
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    • Digital Library of Georgia
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    • Georgia State University. Libraries. Special Collections

In the decade before the Great Depression, government policies sought to regulate morality in society as a whole, as well as in arts and entertainment. New arguments erupted over what could be considered “art” in theatre.  

This decade saw the emergence of African Americans as primary entertainers on New York’s Broadway stages performing for a variety of audiences. Shows began to emerge that presented black life in a more realistic, sympathetic manner where previously black roles were performed by white actors in blackface and black performers were only seen in revues and vaudeville. A significant moment in theatre of this period was the opening of Eugene O’Neill’s The Emperor Jones in 1920. The play gave psychological insight to the nature of the main characters, including Brutus Jones played by black actor Charles Gilpin. For his work in this role, the Drama League of New York recognized Gilpin as one of the ten people in 1920 that had done the most for American theater.