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Kenneth F. Hoke-Witherspoon collection

 Collection 0378-SCPA

The Kenneth F. Hoke-Witherspoon Collection contains correspondence, articles, and scripts by and relating to the American playwright Kenneth F. Hoke-Witherspoon. Transferred to the University of Maryland from Johns Hopkins University, the materials in this collection cover the period 1988 to 1992. The collection has been separated into two series: Papers (including written correspondence and newspaper clippings) and scripts (published and unpublished).


  • 1988-1992
  • Majority of material found within 1988-1991

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research use.

Conditions Governing Use

Materials from this collection must be used in the Michelle Smith Performing Arts Library's Irving and Margery Morgan Lowens Special Collections Room, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday. Contact the curator for an appointment:


0.5 Linear Feet

Scope and Contents

The Kenneth F. Hoke-Witherspoon Collection covers the period 1988–1992, with the bulk of materials spanning 1988–1991. The collection contains newspaper and magazine clippings, written correspondence, and scripts for three plays: Halloween: A Biography of an Unabashed African-American Liberal, Gregory Watson: An American History, 1966–1980, and The Fool Who Cried Love at the World: A Definitive Black Play and Tract for Poets.

Biographical / Historical

Kenneth F. Hoke-Witherspoon (b. 1951) is an American playwright that was born in Baltimore, Maryland to a father who was a brickmaker and a mother who worked as a domestic employee. Hoke-Witherspoon was awarded a scholarship to the Northfield Mount Hermon School — a preparatory school in Northfield, Massachusetts — and was later one of the first African-American male freshmen to attend Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York. While at Vassar, Hoke-Witherspoon majored in Psychology but was also extensively involved with theater. He held a variety of jobs in fields such as special education, crisis intervention and working with abused children. He was also a senior research specialist at the Welch Medical Library of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

Hoke-Witherspoon wrote ten plays in five years before entering the Catholic University of America’s graduate program in playwriting in 1983. After receiving his Master’s degree in 1987, Hoke-Witherspoon spent time volunteering as Playwright-In-The-School for the Young People’s Theater of the Baltimore Center Stage. The Baltimore Playwrights Festival produced two of his plays: Last Night at Ace High (1988) and All Partial Evil, Universal Good (1989). Subjects of his plays range from the effects of the Vietnam War on the African-American community to the civil rights sit-ins in Baltimore in the 1950s to abortion. He frequently employed Baltimore as a setting for his plays.


This collection is organized into two series.

  1. Series 1: Papers
  2. Series 2: Scripts

Custodial History

Transferred to the Special Collections in the Performing Arts at the University of Maryland on July 1, 2016 by Jordon Steele, University Archivist at John Hopkins University.

Processing Information

Processed by Samantha Flores in November 2016. Materials are arranged chronologically. All physical materials have been foldered and rehoused into archival boxes. All materials are processed and described at the item level.

Kenneth F. Hoke-Witherspoon collection
Samantha Flores
November 2016
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Library Details

Part of the Michelle Smith Performing Arts Library

University of Maryland Libraries
8270 Alumni Drive
College Park MD 20742 United States