Generations-Drama Skit

Generations-Drama Skit

Themes: Changes in Black history over the years, how far the African American culture has come over the years, the idea that African Americans had very little rights or opportunities many years ago, but now are free to do anything they desire and have many opportunities before them. spotlight on several important black history makers
Categories: Black History 

The skit opens in the year 1685, where we find an African American mother and daughter cleaning and folding clothes.  The daughter poses the question to her mother, "Haven't you ever dreamed of being free?" This sparks a short dialogue with the mother telling her daughter not to even speak of things such as that.  The daughter is told that slavery has become their way of life and that it will never change, dashing any hopes the daughter may have for herself, her children or her grandchildren to ever be free.  The skit then switches to the narrator who briefly tells of the 13th Amendment and how in 1865 slavery was abolished.  The skit highlights various topics throughout history--freedom and slavery, being able to vote, go to college, act in movies or t.v. etc.  At each interval the characters are told "It will never happen."  The voice of the narrator then tells how each one of those things did eventually happen, highlighting the various people in history who made the events a reality.


The skit emphasizes that today, anything is possible for African Americans.

Style: Drama

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Characters: 6 (3 Male, 2 Female, 1 Neutral)
Because several people double up on characters, this skit requires a few simple clothing props such as jackets, hats, ties, aprons etc. to help differentiate each of the characters. Or if you want more characters, simply don't double up on the parts.
Length: 5-8 minutes
Excerpt (Sample)

Setting:  See .Setting Notes. at the end of the skit. 

While the narrator reads, a person holding a sign walks slowly across the stage.  The sign simply reads in big letters: The Year 1685 

Narrator:          In 1619 the first African Americans came to America.  By 1665 slavery had settled into various northeastern states, and by the 1680's slavery had spread throughout all of America and was a common lifestyle for African Americans.  

Mother and daughter enter dressed in working clothes of the era.  The mother has a broom and dust cloth and as she speaks she goes through the motions of each.  The daughter sits on the floor with a basket of clothes.  She folds them somewhat haphazardly. 

Mother:            Girl, you better watch how you're foldin. them there clothes.  You know the missus likes .em all neat and crisp. 

Daughter:        (angrily) Then why doesn't she fold her own clothes! 

Mother:            (mortified, she abruptly stops her sweeping and looks around to see if anyone heard) Child, don't you go talkin. like that now!  You goin. to get us both horse whipped! 

Daughter:        (softens, a bit frightened now herself) I'm sorry Momma.  It's just so unfair!  I hate foldin. and pickin. and cleanin. and doin. all the work while them white folk sit around lookin. all high and mighty! 

Mother:            Shh, now.  Stop that talk before someone hears ya. 

Daughter:        But Momma, don't you ever dream of being free? 

Mother:            (laughs) Free? 

Daughter:        Yes, free.  Free to do whatever you want.  Go wherever you want.   Talk to whomever you want to.  Eat when you want to.  Sleep when you want.  Not ever having to answer to anyone but yourself. 

Mother:            Girl, that's crazy talk! 

Daughter:        Why? 

Mother:            Because we ain't never gonna be free!  You think them white folks gonna give us up?  No! 

Daughter:        But it isn't right!  

Mother:            That's the way it is, and that's the way it's always gonna be.  

Daughter:        So, I'll never be free?  

Mother:            No. 

Daughter:        Then neither will my children or my grandchildren or my great-grandchildren.  This is all there is? 

Mother:            This is all there ever will be.  

Daughter:        I'll never be anything more than a slave girl? 

Mother:            No. Now, get back to work before the master hears you. 

(Mother and daughter pick up the props they entered with and exit the stage) 

Narrator:          Passed by Congress on January 31, 1865, and ratified on December 6, 1865, the 13th amendment abolished slavery in the United States.  President Abraham Lincoln approved the Joint Resolution of Congress submitting the proposed amendment to the state legislatures. The 13th amendment to the United States Constitution provides that "Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction." 

When the narrator finishes, a person holding a sign walks slowly across the stage.

The sign reads: The Year 1800

A Father and two teenage boys enter.  They sit and lay comfortably on the stage, casually talking with one another.

Teen 1:            Daddy, did you hear some states were freeing their slaves?

Father:             Yeah, I heard something like that.  Vermont and New York, wasn't it?

Teen 2:            Yeah.  Pennsylvania too.  Maybe our state will be next!

Father:            You never know, son.  We can only hope.

Teen 1:            Well, when I get older, if I'm free I'm gonna start my own business.

Father:             Start your own business?  I hate to disappoint you son, but that will never happen.

Teen 1:            Why not?  I'm smart.

Teen 2:            (laughs) Says who?

Teen 1:            Says me!

Father:             It doesn't matter.

Teen 2:            See, even Daddy thinks your dumb as an ox.

Teen 1:            You don't think I'm smart, Daddy?

Father:             I didn't say that.  I said it doesn't matter how smart you are.

Teen 1:            Why not?

Father:             Because in order to start your own business you need to go to college and there ain't a school in this country that's gonna let no black boy in.

Teen 1:            Maybe that will change.

Father:             Not in your lifetime, boy.  Look around you.  This is as good as its ever gonna get.  You better get used to farming because that's all you'll ever do.

Teen 1:            How can you say that?  Don't you want better for us?

Father:             Of course I want better for you but I have to be realistic.  We're not even free and you're goin. off talkin. about gettin. an education and startin. a business. (shakes his head) It will never happen son and the sooner you start believing that, the better off you'll be.

Teen 2:            Well, I'm not gonna farm all my life.  I'm gonna do something important.

Teen 1:            Like what?

Teen 2:            I don't know.  Maybe I'll invent something.

Teen 1:            How about a new brain!

Teen 2:            You're the one who needs a new brain!

Teen 1:            At least I've got one!

Father:             Okay boys, that's enough. I don't want to hear no more talk about college and inventions.  No one would ever take you seriously anyway.  Folk ain't gonna listen to a black man or take a black man seriously.  You'll get laughed out of town or beaten for heresy.  Nope, farming is what we know and that's what we'll continue to do.  Now, no more crazy talk!

As the narrator reads, the teens and father exit

Narrator:          Alexander Lucius Twilight, born free in Vermont was the first black to earn a bachelor's degree from an American college or university, at Middlebury College in 1823.  In 1830 Twilight became principal of the Orleans County Grammar School, and in 1836 he was the first African American elected to public office as a state legislator, serving in the Vermont General Assembly.

:                       In 1834 Thomas Jennings was the first black inventor, receiving a patent for a dry cleaning process.  He helped pave the way for other black inventors like George Washington Carver, the inventor of peanut butter; Lewis Latimer, who invented the carbon filament used in light bulbs; and Otis Boyken who created electronic control devices for guided missiles, IBM computers and pacemakers.

When the narrator finishes, a person holding a sign walks slowly across the stage.

The sign reads: The Year 1850

A Man and his young son enter from one side of the stage, while at the same time another man enters from the opposite side

Ben:                 Hey Joe, where are you two off in such a hurry?

Joe:                 I'm going to vote and I'm going to show Jr. here how to do it.

Ben:                 Vote? Have you lost your mind? You can't vote.

Joe:                 Who says?

Ben:                 Every state in America.

Joe:                 I don't think it will hurt to try.

Ben:                 Sure, if you call getting thrown out of the courthouse on your backside 'not hurt..

Joe:                 I don't see what the big deal is.  More and more states are granting freedom to African Americans and we've got some black colleges now, so why shouldn't we be allowed to vote?

Ben:                 I never said we shouldn't be allowed to vote. I said they'll never let you vote.  Haven't you read the constitution, man? We're not even defined as a whole person.  We're defined as 3/5's of a person when it comes to counting for representation.  If you're not even a whole person, how do you expect to vote?

Boy:                 I'm not gonna get to see you vote today, Daddy?

Joe:                 (sighing) I guess not.  I think Ben is right. 

Boy:                 Will you ever get to vote?

Joe:                 Probably not.

Boy:                 Will I?

(Joe looks to Ben who shakes his head)

Joe:                 Probably not, son.  I'm sorry.  Come on, let's go back home.

Joe, Ben and Boy exit as narrator reads

Narrator:          Typically, voters were white property owners but in 1865 African Americans were finally given the right to vote. However, they were often blocked from voting due to various laws and regulations.  It wasn't until 1965 that complete voting rights were given with the help of the Civil Rights Movement and a man named Martin Luther King.