Mackey, William Wellington

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Mackey, William Wellington

May 28, 1937

Playwright William Wellington Mackey was born in Miami, Florida, and attended Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. After graduating in 1958, he returned to Miami, where he worked as a high school teacher. In 1964 he earned a master's degree in recreational and drama therapy from the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. Shortly afterward, while working as a recreational therapist at Colorado State Hospital in Pueblo, he completed his first two plays, Behold! Cometh the Vanderkellans (1965) and Requiem for Brother X (1966). The first examines the effects of the rising black consciousness of the late 1950s on a privileged, upper-middle-class black family. The second explores how the lives of a black family living in the ghetto are shapedand warpedby external factors. Mackey depicts the families of Brother X as trapped in the ghetto and conspicuously forgotten by affluent blacks. The use of the family play, a familiar American dramatic convention, to reveal and critique the aspirations, as well as the pretensions and hypocrisies of black family life, is characteristic of all Mackey's plays.

Shortly after his first two plays were produced in Denver, Mackey moved to Chicago and later to New York, where a number of his plays have been produced on Off-Broadway. Mackey's other plays include Family Meeting (1972), Billy Noname (1970, a musical), and Love Me, Love Me Daddy, or I Swear I'm Gonna Kill You (1982).

See also Drama


Peterson, Bernard L., Jr. Contemporary Black American Playwrights and Their Plays. New York: Greenwood, 1988.

michael paller (1996)
Updated by publisher 2005

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Mackey, William Wellington

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