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This new entry in the innovative "Story" line of chapter-book biographies features Ira Aldridge, an African American actor considered one of the greatest Shakespearean performers of the nineteenth century, and an outspoken advocate for the abolitionist movement in the United States.Ira Aldridge dreamed of being on stage, performing the great works of William Shakespeare. He spent every chance he got at the local theaters, memorizing each actor's lines for all of the great plays. Ira knew he could be a famous performer if given the chance. But in the early 1800s, only white actors were allowed to perform Shakespeare. African American actors had to play in musicals at the all-black theater in New York City. Despite the discouragement of his teacher and father, Ira determinedly pursued his dream and set off for England, the land of Shakespeare. There he honed his acting skills and eventually performed at the acclaimed Theatre Royal Haymarket. Through perseverance and determination, Ira became one of the most celebrated Shakespearean actors in Europe, and a public supporter of the abolitionist movement. This chapter book edition includes black-and-white illustrations as well as sidebars on related subjects, a timeline, a glossary, and recommended reading.