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Historical Background, Dramaturgy, and Design

Two people are sitted as colorful lights shine on them. Two people sit behind them.
Photo of Melanie Brezill, Anthony Irons, Dee Dee Batteast, and Kelvin Roston Jr. by Michael Brosilow.

Explore the real history behind Stokely: The Unfinished Revolution, the dramaturgical foundation of this project, and the design of Court Theatre’s world premiere.

Historical Background

These locations are all referenced or visited in Stokley – check them out below!

Port-of-Spain, Trinidad (1941 – 1952): Carmichael’s birthplace and the capital of Trinidad.
Bronx High School of Science (1956 – 1959): Stokely Carmichael’s prestigious and rigorous high school. He was only one of a few Black students in attendance.

Photo courtesy of Bronx High School of Science’s website.
Howard University (1960 – 1964): A Historically Black University in Washington, D.C. Carmichael participated in Freedom Rides in his freshman year.

Photo courtesy of Howard University.
Stokely Carmichael in a Howard University sweater.

Photo courtesy of
Parchman Farm (1961): Following his arrest as a Freedom Rider in 1961, Carmichael was jailed for 49 days at this notoriously brutal and inhumane prison in Mississippi.

Photo courtesy of PBS News Hour.
Cambridge, Maryland (1964): While campaigning with Gloria Richardson in Cambridge, Maryland in 1964, Carmichael was hit with chemical gas and had to be hospitalized.

Graphic courtesy of
Greenwood, Mississippi (1964): Carmichael lived and organized in Greenwood as a member and later chair of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. He was part of Freedom Summer in 1964, registering Black voters in Mississippi

Graphic courtesy of Nathansgibsoncom.
Conakry, Guinea (1969 – 1998): Following his marriage to singer Miriam Makeba, Carmichael moved to Guinea in 1969, where he died of prostate cancer in 1998.

History on Screen

Click below to see videos, ranging from brief clips to long-form documentaries, that provide context for Stokely Carmichael’s views, his life, and the political atmosphere of the civil rights movement. 


The Dramaturgy of Writing a Biographical Play: Read Production Dramaturg Martine Kei Green-Rogers’s article describing the intricacies informing a biographical play.

Watch: Click below to see videos curated by Production Dramaturg Martine Kei Green-Rogers that show Stokely Carmichael in action and give a sense of who he was – personally and politically.

Listen: Click below to hear music featured in the actual production, and music that informed the sound design, courtesy of Sound Designer Willow James.


  • Behind the Scenes: Scenic Designer Yeaji Kim and Costume Designer Gregory Graham share the history and artistry that informed their designs for Stokely: The Unfinished Revolution.
  • Culture and Region As Told Through Props: Properties Manager Lara Musard explains the literal and metaphorical layers underpinning Stokely: The Unfinished Revolution.

Posted on May 20, 2024 in Learning Guides, Productions

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