Ira Aldridge—Actor, Exile
Ira F. Aldridge was an actor born in New York City in 1807.
The son of a straw merchant, Aldridge was educated at the African Free School in New York. Some graduates of this school later took part in abolitionist efforts.
As a black actor in pre-Civil War America, Aldridge had to go overseas to practice his craft. Aldridge often performed in England. In England, Aldridge would be booed due to his race. Sometimes there is no peace in this world.
It has been suggested that the fact Aldridge had a white wife did not enhance his popularity in England. Aldridge left England in the 1850’s because he was not being given roles in the best theaters of London.
Aldridge won great acclaim in Germany as a Shakespearian actor. He was also a well-known figure in Russia. It seems he owned the role of Othello.
Aldridge died in Poland in 1867.
The theater at Howard University is named after Aldridge.