The word “Karamu” comes from a Swahili word meaning “a place of joyful gatherings.” For the past 100 years, the Karamu House in Cleveland, Ohio – the oldest African-American theater in the United States – has lived up to its name, serving as a community center for the arts and maintaining a legacy of innovation and diversity. Narrated by James Pickens, Jr. from ABC television’s Grey’s Anatomy, KARAMU: 100 YEARS IN THE HOUSE is a 30-minute documentary which tells the story behind this important theater in America’s arts and culture history. Karamu House has come to be known as a respected training ground and launching pad for many nationally known actors, playwrights and artists, including poet and playwright Langston Hughes, and author, folklorist and anthropologist Zora Neale Hurston. The film shows how the theater’s past parallels African-American history over the past 100 years, and even how it directly intersected with the civil rights movement when it sent bus-loads of activists to march on Washington.
Airs 2/16 at 5:30 p.m.