Sam Kelley’s The Blue Vein Society Portrays Class and Color within Black America

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Newly published historical dramas explore interracial and intraracial barriers influenced by class and color within America.

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Sam Kelley’s The Blue Vein Society and No Hidin’ Place takes us back to a time and place in late nineteenth-century America when African Americans struggled to achieve human dignity against oppressive interracial and intraracial barriers that promoted a segregated culture rooted in class and color. These powerful dramas, based on two short stories by African American fiction writer, Charles Chesnutt, examine complicated family and social dynamics that resonate with disturbing power for today’s world where both class and color continue to matter.

Blue Vein Society President Josh Ryder is all set to announce his engagement to a young fair-skinned beauty when his very dark-skinned wife from slavery suddenly appears after searching for her long lost husband. A shocked Ryder is forced to confront his hidden past and complicated identity. Based on Chesnutt’s “The Wife of His Youth,” Kelley’s The Blue Vein Society communicates a universal message about the disturbing reality of class and color and their profound impact on shaping cultural identity.

In Kelley’s No Hidin’ Place, a southern white sheriff discovers the mulatto he is protecting from a lynch mob is his own son fathered with a slave girl he owned and later sold with her baby son. As the mob closes in, the sheriff is forced to make a painful decision about his son’s fate. Kelley’s unflinching drama reveals the painful challenges facing former slaves as they sought to reconstruct their lives following Reconstruction Era in America.

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About the Author

Sam Kelley first came to the attention of the theatre community with the production of his critically acclaimed play Pill Hill, which premiered at the Yale Repertory Theatre while he was a playwriting student at the Yale School of Drama. Pill Hill has since been produced in theatres around the country, including the Hartford Stage, Philadelphia Theatre Company, Chicago Theatre Company, ETA Creative Arts Foundation, Chicago, Ensemble Theatre in Houston, and the Penumbra Theatre Company, St. Paul, Minnesota. Pill Hill has won numerous production awards around the country. Other plays include Thruway Diaries, White Chocolate, and Faith, Hope and Charity: The Story of Mary McLeod Bethune. He is the recipient of the James Thurber Playwright-In-Residence award from the Thurber House in Columbus, Ohio. He is a member of the Dramatists Guild of America.

Kelley is Distinguished Service Professor at the State University of New York College at Cortland. He has a PhD in Speech from the University Michigan; MFA in playwriting from the Yale School of Drama; MA in Speech from Arkansas at Fayetteville; and a BA in Speech and Drama from Arkansas at Pine Bluff.

The Blue Vein Society * by Sam Kelley
Class and Color within Black America
Publication Date: Janaury 30, 2013
Trade Paperback; $15.99; 125 pages; 978-1-4797-9679-3
Trade Hardback; $22.99; 125 pages; 978-1-4797-9680-9
eBook; $3.99; 978-1-4797-9681-6

Members of the media who wish to review this book may request a complimentary paperback copy by contacting the publisher at (888) 795-4274 x. 7879. To purchase copies of the book for resale, please fax Xlibris at (812) 355-4079 or call (888) 795-4274 x. 7879.

For more information on self-publishing or marketing with Xlibris, visit To receive a free publishing guide, please call (888) 795-4274.

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