James Baldwin, novelist, playwright, essayist and activist, was a singular, powerful and eloquent voice that spoke to the ongoing struggles for equality and justice in the divided America of his time. On February 18, 1965. James Baldwin faced conservative William F. Buckley in a debate on race relations on the campus of the University of Cambridge. Baldwin’s thesis was “the American Dream is at the expense of the American Negro.” During the debate Baldwin made a passionate and poignant argument for the plight of those whose experiences of the American dream were those of exclusion and repression. Sadly, even though Baldwin was expressing his thoughts nearly 55 years ago, the argument continues to resonate today in the experiences of young African Americans that wrestle with a legacy that has only changed cosmetically and not institutionally.
Hub Theatre Group introduces the “Dream Unrealized” Project: the “James Baldwin Monologue,” a video project utilizing the text of Baldwin’s arguments and the experiences of young African Americans in today’s society to underline the fact that there has not been enough meaningful change. Young African American actors will have a chance to perform the words of the great James Baldwin while also adding videos that speak to their own experiences. Our project is designed to highlight the ongoing need for meaningful change and to put a human face on continuing injustice that must be addressed for the American Dream to be meaningful.