Columbia University has chosen Dominique Morisseau as the winner of the 2014 Edward M. Kennedy Prize for Drama Inspired by American History. Morisseau was honored for her play Detroit ’67.
Jean Kennedy Smith, the sister of the late Massachusetts senator stated that the play is “an exceptional work that exemplifies the mission of the prize in the exploration of the rich history of our country through the power of theater.”
Detroit ’67 was first staged at The Public Theater in New York City on March 12, 2013. The play is the first in a series of three plays about Morisseau’s hometown. The Kennedy Prize jury stated that Detroit ’67 “explores an explosive and decisive moment in a great American city” in which the “characters struggle with racial tension and economic instability.” In five days of rioting in Detroit in July 1967, 43 people died and nearly 1,200 were injured.
The Kennedy Prize includes a $100,000 cash award. In addition, the Columbia Center for New Media Teaching and Learning will work with Morisseau to develop a website featuring study and teaching guides, scholarly discussions and interpretations of the play, and historical research on the subject matter of the play.
In addition to writing, Morisseau is also an accomplished actress. She holds a bachelor of fine arts degree in theater performance from the University of Michigan.