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In addition to plays and novels, Baldwin has been celebrated for his essays on issues of race in America. Read one of Baldwin's essays, such as from his collections: Notes from a Native Son (1955), Nobody Knows My Name (1961), or The Fire Next Time (1963). What are some of Baldwin's central concerns with the issue of race in America? What solutions does he suggest for addressing issues of racial inequality? In what ways are these concerns addressed in his play The Amen Corner?

Pick a particularly moving or important scene from The Amen Corner to perform with another student (or students). How does performing a scene from the play help you to understand the motivations of certain characters or to illuminate key thematic concerns of the play? In what ways could different performance choices affect the meaning, effect, or impact of that particular scene?

Baldwin's play addresses issues of race and poverty in terms of the significance of the black church to an African-American family. Learn more about the role of the church in the history of African-American culture and the struggles of African Americans for racial equality in America. In what ways has religion and the institution of the church been an important factor in African-American history and African-American communities?

Baldwin's play focuses on the role of the wife and mother in an African-American family. Another important and much celebrated African-American playwright who addresses the role of African-American women in the black family is Ntozake Shange, who is best known for her play for colored girls who have considered suicide when the rainbow is enuf. Learn more about this playwright and her works. In what ways does she address similar issues to those addressed by Baldwin in his play? In what ways does she provide a different perspective on male-female relationships in the African-American community?

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