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Cleveland Black History Trailblazers: Karamu House is the oldest Black theater in the U.S.

Posted at 3:19 PM, Feb 09, 2022

CLEVELAND — On the east side of Cleveland sits the Karamu House, the oldest African-American theater in the United States.

Opened in 1915, Karamu House is nationally known for its excellent theater productions and its commitment to inclusivity, a common ground for Clevelanders from different races and religions.

Karamu in Swahili means a place for joyful gathering, an accurate description of a place where they provide arts education and community programs for all people while honoring the African-American experience.

Karamu House was a trailblazer in the performing arts, and a treasure in Cleveland’s black history. Learn more about its history from some of the items from its archives that were donated to Case Western Reserve University last year.

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