Last night my wife and I watched an episode of Victoria. Good show, but there was one issue with the program I had trouble getting over. I kept wondering what parts of the show were real and what were embellished. I don't know the history well enough to know.
But one character fascinated me. Ida Aldridge. In the episode they only called him Mr. Aldridge, a black man who performed a scene from Othello. A google search later and I found this link: HERE. I thought it interesting I found out about this man the day before our country celebrates the life of Martin Luther King Jr.
Ida Aldridge was born in New York in 1807, according to the article. At a young age he spent time at the theater and watched other black actors perform. It became something he chose to do with his life. Ida attended college in America and eventually moved to England where he continued his education and continued performing. He became famous and even had the opportunity to meet the queen, hence his appearance in the episode of Victoria.
I have no idea what kind of a life Ida Aldridge had. Life in the nineteenth century could not have been easy, but to think that a black man born in America was able to find success to the point where he met and performed for one of the most powerful people in the world is inspiring. Now, we don't have to grow up from humble beginnings to meet powerful and influential people to be successful. I would imagine that even if he hadn't met the queen, he'd feel his life was important, that he mattered.
Ida eventually became a British citizen and never returned to the nation of his birth. According to the article he was not a perfect man, but I found him fascinating. The BBC could do a show on his life, and I'm sure it would be interesting, too.