Richard B Harrison was born in London Ontario in 1864 to parents who met in London after escaping slavery in the United States. He developed his gifts for theatre and poetry from an early age, and moved to the USA in his late teens with the hope of acting professionally. Although racial barriers kept him off of the big professional stages, he eventually made a career for himself by touring on the continent as a performer and working as a theatre teacher. Then, at the age of 65, he took on the role of God on Broadway, in an all-black re-telling of the first five books of the Bible that was called The Green Pastures. By all accounts, Harrison carried the show, and audiences were very moved by his performance. The show was such a hit that Harrison performed it for the rest of his life – over 1600 performances on Broadway and on tour – and he appeared on the cover of Time Magazine in 1935.