Sponsored Project

Conjurers: The Black Magician's Contribution to the Conjuring Arts

Katherine Cheairs
Katherine Cheairs

We may be familiar with such names as; David Blaine, Harry Houdini, and David Copperfield, but what do we know of Richard Potter, Black Herman, or Kenrick "ICE" McDonald?Conjurers: The Black Magician's Contribution to the Conjuring Arts is a feature documentary exploring the historical and contemporary contributions of black magicians. The presence of the black magician is documented on slave plantations throughout the south and has been a mainstay in the African American community through reconstruction, the Harlem Renaissance, Vaudeville, and contemporary era.Richard Potter, who is considered to be first documented American born magician, was also half-black and lived his life as a successful magician in the early 19th century.Kenrick "ICE" McDonald (featured in photo) will make history as the first African American president of the Society of American Magicians in 2014. The organization was founded by Harry Houdini in 1902. This historic event will be the starting place for the story of Conjurers and explores the context for this significant moment in magic history as a whole.In the context of culture, and history, how might being a magician who is black, shape that particular individual's identity? How would the magician's presence throughout slavery, reconstruction and the Jim Crow South, plus present day communities serve as a means of empowerment and uplift? These are some of the questions that Conjurers will explore.Conjurers will begin production in spring/summer 2014.