Edouard Muse, born in 1889 in Baltimore, was an African-American lawyer, writer, director, composer, and actor.
After high school, Muse earned a degree in International Law from The Dickinson School of Law of Pennsylvania in 1911. Disgusted with the poor opportunities for Black lawyers, he then went into show business. Muse appeared as an opera singer, minstrel show performer, vaudeville and Broadway actor; he also wrote songs, plays, and sketches. An active participant in the burgeoning Black theater movement of the 1920s, Muse was a member of the progressive all-Black Lincoln Players.
His Hollywood film assignments generally confined him to stereotypes, though Muse was usually able to rise above the shuffling “yassuh, boss” portrayals required of him. He was given dignified, erudite roles in films designed for all-Black audiences. Broken Strings, 1939, was one and on occasion, he was allowed to portray non-submissive roles in mainstream films. (It must have… read more