Richard B. Harrison
The Citation Continues: "The Medal is given to Mr. Harrison not simply for his crowning accomplishment, but for the long years of his work as dramatic reader and entertainer, interpreting to the mass of colored people in church and school the finest specimens of English drama from Shakespeare down. It is fitting that in the sixty-seventh year of his life he should receive wide-spread acclaim for a role that typifies and completes his life work."
A Year Earlier, "The Green Pastures" Opened On Broadway (February 26), With Harrison Playing The Role Of "De Lawd," In More Than 1,650 Performances. The Show Ran For 16 Months, then Went On Tour, Appearing In More Than 203 Cities And Towns And Later Won A 1931 Pulitzer Prize For Drama, For Playwright , Connelly.
Richard Harrison Was Born in London, Ontario, Canada, On September 28, 1864. His Parents Escaped Slavery Through The Underground Railroad.
After Moving To Detroit, He Began His Dramatic Studies At The Detroit Training School Of Dramatic Art. From 1892 To 1896, Harrison Traveled The U.S., Performing As A dramatic Reader. His Repertoire Included Works From Shakespeare and Poetry From His Friend Paul Laurence Dunbar.
In 1922, After Recovering From A Nervous Breakdown, Harrison Suggested To J. B. Dudley, President of North Carolina Agricultural and Technical College (North Carolina A&T University), That the College Should Begin A Summer-School Dramatics Curriculum For Teachers. Since Harrison Had Taught Courses For The College, The President Agreed And Made Him Department Chair Of Dramatics For The First Summer-School Program. He Taught Elocution And Dramatics Courses at North Carolina A&T For 27 Years.
In 1934 Richard Harrison Was Awarded An Honorary Master of Arts Degree From Howard University And Honorary Doctorate Degrees In Dramatic Literature From North Carolina A&T And Lincoln University. He Was Featured On The Cover Of Time Magazine On March 4, 1935. The Richard B. Harrison Library In Raleigh, North Carolina, Richard B. Harrison High School In Blytheville, Arkansas And the Richard B. Harrison Auditorium at North Carolina A&T Are All Named In His Honor. Harrison Died March 14, 1935, In New York City.
"In Order For Black History To Live, We Must Continue To Breathe Life Into It." -- Hubert Gaddy, Jr.