Star Smith

Bio: My unique socio-political and spiritual perspective derives from the fact that I was born to interracial parents in the early 1950s. It was a time when miscegenation (interracial marriage) was illegal in much of the US and certainly not socially acceptable in the rest of it. My father was what you would call a Black-Indian. He was Blackfoot/Saponi from Virginia and Mohawk from New York, with African ancestry from--we don't know where. My mother is still a white New England Universalist Quaker. There was an 18 year difference in their ages. Dad was in his early 40s when I was born, and had already been a "Song and Dance man" at the famous Cotton Club in Harlem. He traveled the world during World War II, in the Entertainment Corps. My mother was an and idealistic and rebellious Ivy League college girl. SHarlem was the only place my parents could live together, when they were married,so I was raised in New York City, which may still be the most diverse city on the planet. I am a graduate of Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Performing Arts (the FAME School) in New York City, and have a degree in Multicultural Education from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Other training, teaching and directing experience includes work at Henry Street Playhouse/Abrons Arts Center, Negro Ensemble Company, Amas Repertory, Joseph Papp’s Public Theater, New World Theater at UMass Amherst, the New African Company in Boston, and Theatre VCU at Virginia Commonwealth University. I am a specialist in multicultural improvisational theater education/“Theater of the Oppressed.” Most of my work has been with young people who are labelled, "at risk." Somewhere in there, I chose to become a mother. I put myself through college as a single parent, raising my daughter primarily in western Massachusetts--where my mother grew up. While I was going to school I became deeply involved in campus politics. I am one of the founders of the American Indian Student Association at UMass, Amherst, which achieved an impressive record of service on behalf of Native students in the five college area, during my time there. And now I am a very proud grandmother. There are so many stories to tell, so much insight to share...

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