For all of that, Freeman's most important work was his first notable role in which he was a member of the cast of the children's educational show Electric Company. Portraying an array of characters that included Easy Reader, Mel Mounds, and Dracula, Freeman taught children the fundamentals of reading, but more importantly, he gave children a very public and easily accessible example of a black man who valued education and intellectual pursuits, or at least intellectual pursuits as understood by the members of the show's target age group. I can't speak to how this presentation would have affected minority children, but for me, Freeman's portrayal normalized the idea that a black man could be a teacher, a reader, and a cool guy all at the same time. I can't think of anything that any actor could do that is more important than shaping how young minds view the world, and Freeman did that in the 1970s when he appeared on PBS as Easy Reader on the Electric Company.
Freeman can be found on Facebook.
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10/26/15: Vincent the Vegetable Vampire
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