Samuel Morgan Smith was the second African American actor to have a successful career abroad. Following in the footsteps of Ira Aldridge, he set out in 1866 for London, having had no previous professional experience on stage in America, and for the next sixteen years he was able to find opportunities to perform in theaters throughout the British Isles in a variety of roles. At first he favored appearing as Shakespearean characters—not only Othello, but also Shylock, Hamlet, Macbeth, and Richard III, whiting up to do so. He was also drawn to playing major black and white roles in some of the most popular melodramas of his day. Eventually he built up a repertoire of more than forty plays, including some comedies and farces. He performed occasionally in London as well as in parts of Scotland, Ireland, and Wales, but most of his work was done in provincial cities and towns in England, where he earned a reputation as a versatile and painstaking artiste. He died in Sheffield in 1882 at the age of 49.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
BERNTH LINDFORS, professor Emeritus of English and African Literatures at the University of Texas at Austin, has written and edited a number of books on Anglophone African literatures. Since retiring from teaching in 2003, he has turned to writing and editing books on Ira Aldridge, the first famous African American actor.
Biography, Drama/African American
YEAR OF PUBLICATION