Discipline and Punish: The Case of Baraka's Dutchman

When Amiri Baraka’s play Dutchman opened at Cherry Lane Theatre on March 24, 1964, it, no doubt, simultaneously concluded one school of development in the black theatrical tradition and initiated another. For the first time a truly uncompromising nationalist play was making the news. Certainly there were cases in the past, as Errol Hill notes, where black dramatists wrote plays that dealt directly with black liberation (1986: 408-426); yet, quality aside, at no other time in the past had audiences experienced such a stage manifestation of anger, such a celebration of difference.