Slave Play playwright Jeremy O. Harris will donate a collection of 15 plays by Black playwrights to 53 libraries and community centers across the country, a donation made in lieu of sending Slave Play scripts to Tony Award voters.
O. Harris made the announcement last night on Late Night with Seth Meyers, telling the NBC talk show host that a donation of The Golden Collection has been made in Meyers’ name to his alma mater Northwestern University. The playwright said the donation was made to recognize Meyers’ early and continued support of Slave Play.
The Golden Collection, named for Harris’ grandfather Golden Harris who died two weeks before the playwright learned that Slave Play had been booked at Broadway’s Golden Theatre, was launched in partnership with the Human Rights Campaign. The plays selected for the collection include Les Blancs by Lorraine Hansberry, The Colored Museum by George C. Wolfe, An Octoroon by Branden Jacobs Jenkins, Sweat by Lynn Nottage, A Collection of Plays (Wedding Band and Trouble in Mind) by Alice Childress, Fucking A by Suzan-Lori Parks, We Are Proud to Present a Presentation by Jackie Sibblies Drury, The Mountaintop by Katori Hall, Is God Is by Aleshea Harris, Fires in the Mirror by Anna Deavere Smith, Funnyhouse of a Negro by Adrienne Kennedy, For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide / When the Rainbow Is Enuf by Ntozake Shange, Bootycandy by Robert O’Hara, Dream on Monkey Mountain by Derek Walcott, and, of course, Slave Play.
Harris told Meyers that a purpose of the new collection is as “a way of complicating who we consider to be in the canon” of theatrical work.
In all, the donated collections represent about 800 play scripts that will go to libraries and community centers in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, and Guam, many of which spotlight historic sites of racial progress, or places of continued racial violence or inequity, and that serve predominantly Black communities. The donated scripts were purchased from Sister’s Uptown Bookstore, the oldest Black-owned bookstore in Manhattan.
The collection can be purchased via Books and Crannies, a Black woman-owned independent bookstore in Harris’s hometown of Martinsville, VA. For every purchase of the full collection, Books and Crannies will make a $10 donation to the National Black Theatre. The full collection sells for $210, and each play can be purchased individually.
Watch Harris’ appearance on Late Night above.