Thirst for Freedom Quenched in Renowned Playwright’s New Book

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Multi-awarded dramatist Ms. J. E. Franklin presents stories of real people who struggle to break free from different bondages in ‘To Break Every Yoke’.

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Award-winning playwright Ms. J. E. Franklin, the creator of the plays "Black Girl" (Drama Desk Award) and "Christchild" (John F. Kennedy New American Play Award), publishes an empowering new book about freedom: "To Break Every Yoke." Her latest work introduces stories of real people who triumph over forces which hold them in some form of bondage, two of which are inspired by her personal experience.

All of the works take place in the southern cities of the United States. The main characters in the stories are young people on a coming-of-age journey. They take readers along their journey that bridges generations while tackling controversial issues regarding race, class, identity and freedom across demographics. What makes Franklin’s book stand out is its creative way of encouraging a fresh understanding of age-old issues using art — not academics — as the medium for sparking readers’ interest.

The four works presented are about freedom: breaking free, staying free, and helping others to freedom. A college student travels south to do her part in making Dr. Martin Luther King’s dream of freedom for everyone a reality; a mother struggles for over two decades to free her blind son from bondage; a white man finds himself entrapped in the racial laws of the nation’s One-Drop Theory; a high school drop-out tries to break free from negative family forces to pursue her dream of being a dancer.

The familiar characters in "To Break Every Yoke" may make readers laugh, but they may also make them cry. The questions raised may provoke, but they may also stir people’s imaginations and challenge long-held views. Hopefully, they will leave everyone with a broader understanding of humanity’s predicament and of ways in which mankind may address it.

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About the Author

Ms. J. E. Franklin is a native of Houston and a graduate of the University of Texas. She also attended the Union Theological Seminary in New York City. She published "The Race Primer," "Coming to the Mercy Seat," Precious Memories," and "A Hip Hop Aesop." "Black Girl," her 1971 play, was produced Off-Broadway by the New Federal Theater and ran for over 800 performances. It was made into a feature film directed by the late Ossie Davis, with a guest appearance role by Academy Award-nominee Ruby Dee. Her full-length play "Christchild," received a John F. Kennedy New American Play Award, a joint project of the American Express Company and the President’s Committee on Arts and Humanities. Among many other things, Franklin is a professor and an inventor in the field of educational theater. Her entire body of dramatic works is included in Alexander Street Press’ digital publication, titled "Black Drama: From 1850 to the Present. For information on acquisitions, contact: sales(at)alexanderstreet(dot)com.

To Break Every Yoke * by Ms. J. E. Franklin
Publication Date: November 25, 2013
Trade Paperback; $19.99; 256 pages; 978-1-4836-6357-9
Trade Hardback; $29.99; 256 pages; 978-1-4836-6358-6
e-book; $3.99; 978-1-4836-6359-3

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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