Ira Aldridge – Black History Month

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Ira Aldridge

Ira Aldridge acted with the African Grove Theatre before making his 1833 London debut as Othello. Aldridge became a renowned thespian, touring countries like Austria and Russia and earning the nickname “African Roscius.” He also used his fame to call for slavery’s end. He died on August 7, 1867, while in Poland.

Given birth to on July 24, 1807, in New York City, Ira Frederick Aldridge had been an African-American actor known for his stage work. He was the son of a straw vendor and lay preacher. Amazingly for the times, Aldridge received an education. He attended at the African Free School.

From the early 1820s, Aldridge commenced his acting profession with the African Grove Theatre, also referred to as the African Theatre. Feeling that America was not a welcoming place for a black actor, nev
ertheless, he chose to seek his fortune elsewhere.

Ira Aldridge

Ira Aldridge Abroad Profession

Emigrating to England, where he appeared to come across far more creative opportunities, Ira Aldridge had a starring role in Oroonoko in 1825, in London. This great performance, however, still did not launch a profession for him on the London stage. Aldridge wound up spending several years touring the United Kingdom, playing the title role in such Shakespearean works as Othello, Macbeth and Richard III.

A well-regarded actor, Aldridge ended up being referred to as “African Roscius” following the famous Roman actor Quintus Roscius Gallus. He came back to London to play Othello in 1833, when he was just 26 years old, taking over the part for famed actor Edmund Kean, who had just lately passed away. Returning to regional theater, Aldridge carried on to perform Shakespeare’s works. A number of his performances included samplings from several plays.

Final Years

In 1852, Aldridge went on his very first European tour. There, he earned great acclaim for his performances. Five years later, Aldridge took the stage in St. Petersburg, Russia, in a few well-received shows. He spent very little time in England, launching his last major tour of the United Kingdom in 1859.

Aldridge continued to perform till the end of his life. He passed away during an European tour on August 7, 1867, in Lodz, Poland. Aldridge had been twice married and left behind several children, including Luranah Aldridge, who later on became an opera vocalist of some renown.

Ira Aldridge Ira Aldridge Ira Aldridge

Compliments of bio.TrueStory for keeping up with History.

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