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Thursday, April 5, 2012

One Fabulous Person: Ira Aldridge

I've just recently learned about, Ira Aldridge, about 4 months ago. 
Yet, I am pretty sure since I never knew he existed, most wouldn't either. That's why I was so anxious to write a post about the most celebrated Shakespearean actor in the Regency Era;
So, how come this Shakespearean actor got caught in the dust, as if he never existed? 

Ira Aldridge, was the first African American to play Shakespearean white characters. Ira Aldridge was sought out by playwrights, kings, and queens. 
I'm completely fascinated. I just had to write a post on this wonderful man. 
How could you not, admire a man who did let an oppression get in his way to fulfill he's dreams??
From Royalty To What?
Ira Aldridge claims he's a descendant of a Princely Line of Fulah tribe, In Senegal.
Although, most thinks this is false; Since this story was played by Ira Aldridge on many occasions. Ira's claim was very similar to  the famous tale of Othello. 
Hey, anything is possible. 

Ira Proclaimed he's forefathers were princes in their Fulah tribe. How Ira would describe his princely lineage: "Mr. Daniel Aldridge (Ira's father) was taken to America by missionaries for a Christian education, three days after his departure, Mr. Daniel Aldridge family connection was destroyed
Mr. Daniel Aldridge stayed in America til his death."

Even though, I agree it sounds a little romanticized, and any good actor could pull it off...Or it could hold some truth..
But, the facts eh shows otherwise. 
Birth certificate, English last name hmmmm. 
Thee Arts Found Him 
Ira Aldridge attended the African Free School No.2 on Mulberry Street, in lower Manhattan. 
Aldridge was a pupil from 1820 to 1823. 
Although Ira  had many activities he enjoyed, but his passion was always heated in the theater.
At school Aldridge won many awards for he's recitations. Ira was born an actor, it was in his blood. 
From A Student To An Artiste 
In 1820, Ira Aldridge started a professional acting career with an African American theater called the "African Grove".

That was until Charles Mathews. A British comedian and actor.
Charles Mathews was touring America from 1822-1823. Mathews developed one-man shows, which Aldridge played many of these parts. 

Which led to Aldridge on a journey to England, which was his best choice. There were not that many acting positions for African Americans in America; which left Europe. 
Even though Europe didn't have there arms open wide, many expecting him to be a joke of an actor, but Aldridge proved them all wrong. 
After showing superb acting skills playing Othello. England's arms were open even wider. Eventually, Aldridge landed roles such as, "A Slave's Revenge", "Richard III", "The Merchant of Venice" and many more. 

Aldridge acting skills where publicized, which led Aldridge many other places in Europe. 
From the Stage To A Romantic Tragedy, To Thee End 
Aldridge was a wonderfully actor, but that did not deteriorate hatred from others. 
Although, Ira did find love. He married Margaret Gill in 1825, which I am sure brought up prejudice among others; because it was an interracial relationship.
After Margaret Aldridge death in 1864. A year after Ira married his mistress. 
Ira spent the last years of his life touring Russia. Which is where he became very well known, and liked for his acting skills. 
Ira Frederick Aldridge died August 7, 1867 at the Hentsche Hotel, in  Łódź, Poland.

Words Of Wisdom, & L'amour
I admire Ira's courage. 
Talent was within him, Ira lived it & Breath it!
Ira did not let the color of his skin keep him from his dreams and aspirations.
This why Ira Aldridge is one fabulous person... 

Amour Toujours
Nailah D'arcy 


collarcitybrownstone said...

Very enlightening post. Thank you very much. I am a romance addict too btw. Welcome to the club!

Love and Hugs,


Nailah D'arcy said...

Thank You! ;)

Nailah D'arcy


Romantique Innocence By Nailah D'arcy