Ben Caldwell

Known particularly for the sardonic style he employed in examining the lives of African Americans. Born in Harlem, Ben Caldwell had an early engagement with the arts. Having come of age in the 1960s, he was one of many sensitive and creative young African Americans to have been influenced by the work of Amiri Baraka (then LeRoi Jones), who read Caldwell’s plays and encouraged him.

During 1965 and 1966 Caldwell lived in Newark, New Jersey, with Baraka and several other artists; he refers to this time as his “Newark Period,” in which he wrote Hypnotism (1969) and his most critically acclaimed work, The Militant Preacher (1967), which later appeared in A Black Quartet: Four New Plays under the title Prayer Meeting, or The First Militant Minister (produced, 1969; published, 1970).

NFT Credits

Credit Type Production Season
PlaywrightThe World of Ben Caldwell 1981-82 Season