He was a highly successful black actor/director in the 1950s and 1960s who – because of his light-skinned appearance – transcended race and ethnicity in his performances. In motion pictures, Frank Silvera was cast as black, Latino, Polynesian and “white”/racially indeterminate (due to black + white film stock’s lack of discernment when rendering light-skinned African-Americans).
He was actively engaged in the Civil Rights Struggles of the 1950s and 1960s and called on all of his associates in the theater and film world to support the efforts of Black Americans during this watershed in American history. The Frank Silvera Writers’ Workshop Foundation, Inc. was founded by actor/ director Morgan Freeman, playwright/director Garland Lee Thompson, director/ actress Billie Allen and journalist Clayton Riley in 1973.
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