Mulatto: A Tragedy of the Deep South

In the mid-1930s, Hughes’ growing popularity led to the first Broadway run for his first full-length play Mulatto: A Play of the Deep South, which is usually referred to by the shorter title of Mulatto.

Based on one of the stories in his popular 1934 short story collection, The Ways of White Folks, Mulatto had an 11-month run comprising 373 performances.

Colonel Norwood is an elderly-but-vigorous plantation owner who has multiple mixed-race children with his mistress, Cora. Norwood’s easy way of life is rudely disrupted by the arrival of his youngest son, Bert, who is the spitting image of his father, from years away at school. Light enough to pass for white, Bert feels he should not have to live as a Black man like the workers on his father’s plantation. When Norwood and Bert argue, Bert kills Norwood, bringing chaos upon his family. The local white men rally a lynch mob to hunt Bert down.

Title: Mulatto: A Tragedy of the Deep South
Published: 1935
Genre: Plays