Shandell to Speak on the Hidden History of a Trailblazing African American Actor

By Purnell T. Cropper | January 30, 2014

Dr. Jonathan Shandell, assistant professor of theatre arts, will deliver a talk titled “Before Rudd Was Russian: The Hidden History of a Trailblazing African American Actor” at the Winkleman Gallery in New York on Wednesday, Feb. 5. The speech will be part of a panel discussion, “Moscow to the Rescue: U.S. Racism, European Colonialism and the Soviet Promise,” which will be held in conjunction with the Winkleman Gallery’s exhibition, The Wayland Rudd Project.

The Wayland Rudd Collection is a collaborative project organized by Russian visual artist Yevgeniy Fiks that focuses on the representation of Africans and African-Americans in Soviet visual culture. The project is named for Wayland Rudd, an African American actor who emigrated to Soviet Russia in the 1930s and achieved widespread notoriety on stage and screen. Dr. Shandell, as an historian of African American theatre, will share some of his research into Rudd’s mostly unknown career prior to his emigration, celebrating this pioneering actor’s overlooked accomplishments as a trailblazer for integration and racial justice on the American stage.