Building the Black Arts Movement: Hoyt Fuller and the Cultural Politics of the 1960s 0252084225, 978-0252084225

As both an activist and the dynamic editor of Negro Digest, Hoyt W. Fuller stood at the nexus of the Black Arts Movement

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Building the Black Arts Movement: Hoyt Fuller and the Cultural Politics of the 1960s
 0252084225,  978-0252084225

Table of contents :
Cover......Page 1
Title page......Page 4
Copyright......Page 5
Contents......Page 8
Acknowledgments......Page 10
Introduction: A Movement Architect......Page 18
1. Designing the Future: Black in a Negro Company......Page 34
2. A Local Construction S......Page 72
3. Expansion Plans: Asymmetries of Pan-African Power......Page 108
4. Scaling Back: Closure, Crisis, and Counterrevolutionary Times......Page 136
5. Abandoning the Past: Effacing History and Confronting Silence......Page 164
Coda Maintenance, Reconstruction, and Demolition: Contests for Black Creative Control......Page 188
Notes......Page 200
Bibliography......Page 244
Index......Page 262

Citation preview

Building the Black Arts Movement

the new bl ack studies series

Edited by Darlene Clark Hine and Dwight A. McBride A list of books in the series appears at the end of this book.

Building the Black Arts Movement Hoyt Fuller and the Cultural Politics of the 1960s

JONATHAN FENDERSON

© 2019 by the Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois All rights reserved Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Names: Fenderson, Jonathan, 1980- author. Title: Building the Black Arts movement : Hoyt Fuller and the cultural politics of the 1960s / Jonathan Fenderson. Description: [Urbana, Illinois] : University of Illinois Press, [2019] | Series: The new Black studies series | Includes bibliographical references and index. Identifiers: lccn 2018045728| isbn 9780252042430 (hardcover ; alk. paper) | isbn 9780252084225 (pbk. ; alk. paper) Subjects: lcsh: Fuller, Hoyt, 1923–1981. | Black Arts movement. | Black nationalism—United States—History—20th century. | African American arts—20th century. | African Americans—Intellectual life—20th century. Classification: lcc e185.97.f87 f46 2019 | ddc 700.89/96073—dc23 lc record available at https://lccn.loc.gov/2018045728 E-book isbn 978-0-252-05127-2 Cover image: Painting of Hoyt Fuller by Jeff Donaldson (1932–2004), Hoyt Fuller Room, Africana Studies and Research Center, Cornell University. Photographer, David Burbank. Courtesy Jameela K. Donaldson.

This book is dedicated to the students who fought for me in 2011 and to those I’ve been fortunate to fight alongside as a result.

Contents

Acknowledgments  ix Introduction: A Movement Architect  1

1 Designing the Future: Black in a Negro Company  17



2 A Local Construction Site: OBAC, Chicago, and the Black Aesthetic  55



3 Expansion Plans: Asymmetries of Pan-African Power  91



4 Scaling Back: Closure, Crisis, and Counterrevolutionary Times  119



5 Abandoning the Past: Effacing History and Confronting Silence  147

Coda Maintenance, Reconstruction, and Demolition: Contests for Black Creative Control  171 Notes  183 Bibliography  227 Index  245

Acknowledgments

Single-authored academic monographs reflect an accumulation of debts growing out of personal relationships, community networks, and varied levels of institutional support. This book is no different. In fact, it is safe to say that this book would not have been possible without the support of Carole Parks, Angela Jackson, Abena Brown, and Robert Harris. Carole Parks, Angela Jackson, and Abena Brown (who has since passed away) made sure that I got in contact with everyone I needed to talk to in Chicago. They provided me with names, phone numbers, and addresses and vouched for me as a good person to undertake this project. Their support opened closed doors and granted me access to documents I never would have attained on my own. I hope this project lives up to each of their expectations. In a similar manner, Robert Harris not only encouraged my work, but he also granted me access to his own personal archive, which serve as the foundation for chapter 4. I hope that the book accurately depicts both his friend Hoyt Fuller and his beloved hometown of Chicago. This book has been supported by numerous research grants and fellowships: the predoctoral fellowship at the Carter G. Woodson Institute for African-American and African Studies at the University of Virginia; the research fellowship in the Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Books Library at Emory University; the postdoctoral fellowship in African and African-American Studies at Washington University in St. Louis; the Summer Short-term Research Fellowship of the Black Metropolis Research Consortium; the First Book faculty fellowship at Washington University in St. Louis’s Center for the Humanities; and the Research Travel Award from the Atlanta University Center’s Robert W. Woodruff Library. The library staff at the Woodruff

x  . acknowledgments Library are owed a special thanks for their amazing assistance and support for this project throughout the years—particularly Andrea Jackson, Stacey Jones, Karen Jefferson, Kayin Shabazz, Tiffany Atwater, and Brittany Jones. Multiple years in the making, this project has traveled with me through several states and a host of intellectual sites. I suppose its unofficial origins were with my undergraduate mentors William Little and Munashe Furusa, who first sparked my interests in Africana Studies, Pan-Africanism, history and Black politics. I am eternally grateful to them for setting me out on my intellectual (and professional) course. Their guidance led me to the Africana Studies and Research Center at Cornell University, where I found the initial inspiration for this book. It was there—under the exceptional mentorship of James E. Turner, N’Dri Assié-Lumumba, Locksley Edmondson, Abdul Nanji, and Patricia Karouma—that I spent a significant amount of time in a room named in honor of Hoyt Fuller. Not only was the room the common ground and spatial heart and soul of our intellectual community, but it was also the home of an amazing portrait of the editor painted by his good friend and colleague from the Organization of Black American Culture, Jeff Donaldson. After I entered the room my first day on campus, Hoyt Fuller was permanently situated in my mind as an icon of the very Black intellectual tradition that had led me to leave sunny Los Angeles for Ithaca. I am forever grateful to James Turner, who encouraged me to apply to the PhD program in the W.E.B. Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies at the University of Massachusetts (UMass) and to further explore my budding interest in the Black Arts Movement. A few months after I was accepted into the program, James Smethurst released his now classic Black Arts Movement: Literary Nationalism of the 1960s and 1970s, effectively shifting the landscape of debate and changing the way scholars thought about the period. I remain humbled by Dr. Smethurst’s willingness to take me on as a dissertation advisee and thank him for his continued encouragement throughout the years. What I didn’t know when I first encountered his work was that the book reflected not only Smethurst’s remarkable intellect but also the incredibly rich intellectual environment that was being cultivated in the Du Bois Department. At my first official meeting in the department, William Strickland let me know, as only he could, that he supported my entry into the program and that I better not mess up. As the semesters rolled on, Strick’s words always stuck with me, as has his support (even from as far away as Spain). Ernest Allen had a tremendous impact on me as an intellectual. Like he has done for so many up-and-coming scholars working in this area, Professor Allen nurtured my interests in Black intellectual history, Black Studies, and Black Power. More important, he modeled the ways a historian must always think critically, pay

acknowledgments ·  xi

attention to detail, and embrace nuance. John Bracey challenged me to read more, dig in the archive, and get the story right. In addition, he consistently reminded me that I needed to get this book done, aiding me every step of the way. Michael Thelwell doubled as both a professor and father figure, mixing intellectual discussions with invaluable insights about life. We talk far too infrequently these days, but my time spent with the Moor of Pelham has proven to be pivotal. Amilcar Shabazz continues to be supportive, setting a high bar with his endless energy and dedication. Dayo Gore pushed my thinking on gender and women while encouraging me to think through the implications of Fuller’s sexuality. I’m also indebted to A. Yemisi Jimoh, Augustin Lao-Montes, Esther Terry, Manisha Sinha, Steven Tracy, and, of course, Tricia Loveland, for their unflinching support. A different kind of debt is owed to the incredible number of scholars who shared the journey through the Du Bois doctoral program, beginning with Major Works. This includes Kabria Baumgartner, DeRoy Gordon, Vanessa Fabien, Savannah Carroll (may she rest in peace), Cynara Robinson, David Swiderski, Alia Matta, Jim Carroll, Jacqueline Jones, David Lucander, Thomas Edge, Ousmane Power-Greene, Lindsey Swindall, W. S. Tkweme, David Goldberg, Andrew Rosa, Shawn Alexander, Stephanie Evans, Markeysha Davis, Ernest Gibson, and Zahra Caldwell. A particular shout-out goes to Jason Hendrickson, McKinley Melton, Anthony Ratcliff, and Chris Tinson, who have remained good friends long after my departure from UMass. Collectively, the faculty of the Du Bois Department taught us the value of doing good work, solid research, and quality teaching. They encouraged us to embody and extend the Black intellectual tradition without adopting and embracing the negative aspects of the academy—in particular, the chasing of conspicuous trends, the unnecessary competitiveness, and the selfish individualism. The faculty of the Du Bois Department instilled in us the belief that the Black intellectual tradition is way bigger than any one of our individual lives and that we are mere stewards of that tradition until we cultivate the next generation that will eventually replace us. From UMass, I made the journey due south to the University of Virginia’s Carter G. Woodson Center for African-American and African Studies and amassed more debts. There I was introduced to a different kind of intellectual community through the Fellowship Program, which Deborah McDowell led with great attentiveness and passion. I’m appreciative of Dr. McDowell for consistently communicating her belief in my work and my place within the profession. Marlon Ross had a tremendous impact on my thinking and, more importantly, my confidence. Never one to sing his own praises, Dr. Ross is a consummate intellectual who moves with incredible purpose, grace, and

xii  . acknowledgments humility. Since the first day I met her, Claudrena Harold has continued to challenge me and help me grow as both a scholar and human being. Her work ethic, selflessness, and honesty continue to serve as a compass in my personal, professional, and political life. Cynthia Hoehler-Fatton, Lisa Woolfork, Kevin Everson, and Eric Lott also influenced my experiences as a Woodson Fellow, as did Thabiti Willis, Anoop Mirpuri, Rosemary Millar, Anna Lim, Cassie Hays, Alisha Gaines, Jeffrey Ahlman, Ben Fagan, Jennifer Barclay, Tshepo Chéry, Dennis Tyler, Z’étoile Imma, Sonya Donaldson, and Tim Lovelace. Several friends have supported me through the various iterations of this project, motivating me to keep pushing forward as I’ve passed through institutions. Justin Gammage has remained a steady and dependable pillar in my life since I was seventeen years old. We’ve weathered many ups and downs together, and his friendship has been unwavering and exceptional. Ever the quintessential planner, Keisha-Khan Perry has always encouraged me to think two or three steps ahead and prioritize my family and overall quality of life. My good friends La TaSha Levy and Candace Katungi have been incredible sounding boards about Black Studies and life, sparking my growth in so many different ways. Ronald Williams has done everything from read chapters to offer life advice; I’m eager to read his much-needed work on TransAfrica. Iyelli Ichile, Amu Zora, Quito Swan, and Jocelyn Cole held me down during my frequent trips to Washington, DC. I’m also grateful to Jasmin Young for her friendship, sense of humor and our regular conversations on the state of Black Studies. If part of Black Studies’ dynamism extends from the variety of institutions that attend to the field’s livelihood, I have been fortunate enough to develop lasting relationships with scholars laboring in a number of those institutions. The National Council for Black Studies has served as a key incubator for my thinking. I’m especially grateful to James Stewart and Shirley Weber for believing in me while I was still an undergraduate. Patricia Reid-Merritt, Al Young, Al Colon, Perry Hall, Laverne Gyant, Jacqueline Bryant, Summer Henry, Terry Kershaw, and Barbara Woods all believed that I had something unique to offer Black Studies. Charles Jones welcomed me into his home during the early stages of my research and has remained a steadfast supporter. Akinyele Umoja has been incredible in helping me think through social movements of the past and present. Sundiata Cha-Jua pushed my thinking around race and political economy while also recruiting me to be part of The Black Scholar. Before he passed, Robert Chrisman also showed support for my work and that of other up-and-coming scholars. I’ve also benefited from very productive intellectual exchanges in the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, the Association for the Study of the

acknowledgments ·  xiii

Worldwide African Diaspora, and as part of The Black Scholar editorial team. I’ve grown from my exchanges with people like V. P. Franklin, Sylvia Cyrus, Abdul Alkalimat, June Patton, Brenda Gayle Plummer, Clarence Lang, Zinga Fraser, Scot Brown, Ula Taylor, Jeffrey Ogbar, Leslie Alexander, Curtis Austin, Derrick White, Charisse Burden-Stelly, Pero Dagbovie, Seth Markle, Ashley Farmer, Ibram Kendi, Louis Chude Sokei, Shireen Lewis, Shannon HanksMackey, Ashley Howard, Michael O. West, Jared Ball, Corey D. B. Walker, Ashley Evans, and far too many more people to name. The current iteration of this book reflects those conversations. My colleagues in the Department of African and African-American Studies at Washington University in St. Louis have been tremendously supportive. I would be remiss if I did not thank John Baugh, Rudolph Clay, Samba Diallo, Mungai Muntonya, Jeffrey McCune, Shanti Parikh, William Tate, and Rafia Zafar. Lerone Martin, Bill Maxwell, and Rebecca Wanzo all read the manuscript and provided valuable feedback. Tim Parsons has been an enthusiastic supporter, remaining ever attentive to my long-term professional goals. Jean Allman threw her full support behind my project, reading every single word. She also afforded me the opportunity to gain invaluable feedback from Devin Fergus and Adam Green. Monique Bedasse helped me clarify my interventions and push through the final phases of the project (Asante sana, pacha). I’m also grateful to work with Wilmetta Diallo, who read parts of the manuscript while constantly reminding me of the importance of teaching and training the next generation (merci infiniment). Garrett Duncan believed that I had a contribution to make to the unit, and he went to bat for me when I was a postdoc. Ever since she was a graduate student at Michigan State, Sowande’ Mustakeem has continued to be supportive, exchanging notes about each stage of our respective careers. Adrienne Davis has remained supportive throughout my time at Washington University, encouraging both my scholarship and activism. Gerald Early believed in my project, expressing his view that people will want to read this book. I’ve also benefited from invaluable interaction with many incredible students, including Kiara Sample, Dana Robertson, Senit Kidane, Clark Randall, Abdul Isiaq, Kendall Maxwell, Lauren Henley, Liz Jordan, Jasmine Knowles, Nneka Onwuzurike, the Ashleys (Foxy and Jeff), Kelsey Times, Bendel Fults, Michele Hall, and too many more to mention by name. My time with each of you serves as a constant reminder of what I really love about this profession. The Ferguson uprising that began in August 2014 both fostered and fractured communities in St. Louis. Nevertheless, it was an experience that shaped this project and helped me grow tremendously. A large part of that growth is due to the relationships I have forged with Montague Simmons,

xiv  . acknowledgments Kellie Willis, Kayla Reed, Christine Assefa, Waylon McDonald, Brendan Roediger, Colleen Kelly, the Baker-Smith family (Evan, Amanda, Miles, and Sonia), Arielle Klagsbrun, Julia Ho, James Meinert and Mary Densmore, Nikia Paulette, Jelani Brown, Darrick Smith, Grady Brown, Mama Tumaini, Kalimu Endesha, Mama Deon, Jamala Rogers, Ponchieta Arguread, Steve and Audrey Hollis, and Holly Roe (and all of her people). I especially have to thank Juju Jacobs and Reuben Riggs, who motivated me to remain engaged and encouraged me to complete the book, have fun, and balance my competing workloads. The two of them also helped my wife and me confront, process, and, at times, mentally escape what we were experiencing, and for that I am forever appreciative. I’m also indebted to the incredibly talented wordsmith Jacqui Germaine for her consistent support, check-ins, heart-tohearts, and encouragement throughout the project. And to Tila Neguse and Arif Haque for their persistent friendship, love and support. My largest debt in life is owed to my mother, Judith Fenderson. She has been the most consistent presence in my life and one of my biggest cheerleaders. My father, Hugh Fenderson, never quite understood my extended stay in school, but nonetheless he supported my journey. My siblings, Travis and Rebecca, have wondered about the progress of this book for too many years, as have Elliott, Grant, Adreon, Rhonda, the Comptons, Jessie, and all my loved ones in Los Angeles and Texas. Rest assured, everyone, the book is finally finished. Larry and Gay Square encouraged my interest in Black history when I was child, and they have been integral to my growth ever since. The Gbadegesin family has also been very supportive, especially Mama and Baba Gbadegesin. Last but certainly not least, I am forever indebted to my wife, Olubukola Gbadegesin, who carefully read each iteration of this project, fiercely protected my writing time, creatively cultivated space for me to be productive, gently rebuilt my confidence in moments of self-doubt, and refused to let me abandon the story. I’m grateful to have you in my life, and I look forward to our future. I am certain that there are numerous people I have failed to mention. To those whom I have forgotten, please forgive me. My memory is terrible these days. However, rest assured that I will have another opportunity to publicly display my gratitude—especially since my second book is already in the works. Thank you for your support, patience, generosity, guidance, and love throughout the years.

Building the Black Arts Movement

introduction A Movement Architect

On a wintry Monday in December 1969, a small contingent of African American protesters gathered at 1820 South Michigan Avenue just outside the main headquarters of the black-owned Johnson Publishing Company (JPC) in Chicago. Armed with picket signs and protest chants, they dramatically captured the attention of eyewitnesses and bewildered employees inside the building. Included among the demonstrators were several artists, intellectuals, and activists from a variety of local organizations—a genuine cross-section of the Black creative community in the city. In their efforts to seize the attention of JPC’s founding owner and president, John H. Johnson, the group staged the protest with the stated goal to make the company “truly representative of the Black community.”1 No more self-hating skinbleaching ads; no more advertisements with white models selling the latest bourgeois creature comforts; and, more importantly, no more use of the word “Negro” in JPC periodicals. The year was 1969, and the word “Negro” was an outmoded relic of the past. African Americans no longer wanted to be referred to as such, nor did they long to be lighter or whiter; they were Black and beautiful. It was a new day, and a popular sense of self-expression and self-awareness had emerged among African Americans, linking identity, creative expression, and racial pride together with confrontational politics to form a new “Black consciousness.” Embodying the spirit of the times, the demonstrators hoped to bring the full force of this new Black consciousness to bear on JPC, the world’s largest African American publishing company, whose magazines, they believed, “did not match the new mood of the black community.”2 In order to meet the challenge of the new Black consciousness,

2  . introduc tion they demanded that JPC establish internships, use Black models and Black modeling agencies for their ads, increase publishing opportunities for Black writers, pledge support for local Black institutions, drop the word “Negro” from all company publications, and, finally, implement “promotional change in distribution of Negro Digest to equal that of Ebony and Jet.” Notwithstanding the earnest intent of the participants, the protest was a well-executed Black militant Kabuki, orchestrated in part as an inside job in heady political times. In fact, one of the chief organizers of the demonstration, Hoyt William Fuller, could not be found among the crowd gathered on the street. Instead, he sat calmly at his desk within the JPC building, in an office space designated solely for the managing editor of Negro Digest. Although he never intimated it to his boss, Fuller helped organize the protest as a last-ditch effort to change the name of and increase the resources allocated to the magazine he had spent the last eight years editing. Over that course of time, Fuller had grown increasingly frustrated with Johnson’s obstinacy about the magazine’s name and his outright refusal to increase company investment in the periodical. More importantly, the previous eight years as managing editor of Negro Digest had provided Fuller with a bird’s-eye view of the Black Arts movement—a creative explosion and fusion of African American art, cultural production, and politics among a growing number of Black artists, intellectuals, and organizations from around the United States. As a result, Fuller not only understood the power and importance of the new Black consciousness, but he also had used Negro Digest to help forge it. Through the pages of the magazine, he chronicled and illustrated the fact that a change was evident among African Americans, yet Johnson Publishing Company remained woefully behind the curve. Feeling hamstrung by company politics and running out of options, Fuller conspired with his community allies to apply external pressure. If Johnson refused to listen to Fuller—one of the company’s most senior employees—maybe he would listen to vocal and indignant members of his African American target audience. Perhaps boisterous protest, public embarrassment, and outright fear of possible boycotts were enough to convince JPC’s president that the time for change was upon him. The events that day in December 1969 perfectly encapsulate the role that Hoyt Fuller played in the Black Arts movement. Rarely out front or on stage in the limelight, Fuller occupied the background—a position that afforded him tremendous power and influence in the movement yet relatively marginal public visibility, fame, or notoriety. In a creative campaign built around artists, Fuller did not necessarily fit the bill; still, he remained one of the Black Arts

introduc tion ·  3

Hoyt Fuller, the managing editor of Negro Digest, sits at his desk in the Johnson Publishing Office. (Hoyt William Fuller Collection, box 58, folder 4, Atlanta University Center, Robert W. Woodruff Library)

movement’s most influential and unique luminaries. Ironically, however, he remains vastly understudied in scholarship on the period. Building the Black Arts Movement is the first book to document Hoyt Fuller’s concerted efforts to create an intellectual vanguard and transnational artistic network out of existing and emergent elements (both ideological and material) in African American society during the 1960s and 1970s. The book situates Fuller in his proper place at the center of the Black Arts movement and thus provides a unique vantage point that allows us to rethink the period in a number of different ways. While not a biography, the book recovers pivotal moments in the life (and afterlife) of Fuller that permit us to raise new questions about class, community, counterpublic culture, sexuality, Pan-Africanism, and critical institutional formations within the Black Arts movement. Built around a series of historical sketches about his life and work, the book grants insight into how the movement evolved and eventually dissipated. Far from operating in isolation, Hoyt Fuller was among a number of Black artists, intellectuals, and organizations from around the United States who advanced racial politics as a fundamental yet widely understated aspect of cultural production in the United States during the late 1960s and early 1970s. Their critiques would ultimately change the course of African American

4  . introduc tion artistic discourse, identity politics, and Black intellectual life. In the process, Fuller and company simultaneously left a lasting mark on the general constitution of American cultural politics and an indelible impact on the country’s discourses on race, art, and cultural production. As a cohort of intellectuals, they insisted that the institutional relationships that made up America’s world of art and cultural production were not only unequal but also structured in a manner that marginalized Black creative voices and reinscribed the country’s racist hierarchy. Driven by a desire to remake these institutional relationships and to transform the mechanisms that structured racial inequality in the arts, this incredibly energetic cadre of like-minded African Americans developed a network and, ultimately, a social movement. This network and social movement could not have taken shape were it not for the critical role played by Fuller. At its core this book argues that Hoyt Fuller was not only a pivotal figure in the development of this network but also a central architect of the Black Arts movement, whose work in a number of areas would shape the course of African American arts and letters. Chief among these was his unique position as the lead editor of a nationally circulating monthly magazine called Negro Digest, later renamed Black World. Through the pages of the prominent periodical, Fuller was able to shape the conversation in a far more pronounced manner than any other individual in the movement. In other words, Fuller’s editorial influence was not only profound but singular as well. At its peak in 1972, the little magazine had a solid subscription base of more than 20,000 individuals and a total number of more than 80,000 issues distributed and circulated on a consistent monthly basis. Available at newsstands across the country, Negro Digest was more accessible than any other Black Arts periodical yet on par with the circulation figures of older, more established African American intellectual journals of its day. For example, during the peak year of Fuller’s little magazine, the NAACP’s Crisis reported a paid subscription base of 77,446. Comparisons with more established, mainstream periodicals help to put Negro Digest’s circulation figures into better perspective. The distribution numbers for Fuller’s magazine were larger than Monthly Review, the socialist staple that reached its highest circulation number at 11,500 in 1977; The Progressive, which topped out at 65,000 as late as 2004; and Boston Review, whose circulation has only recently peaked around 62,000.3 Comparatively, Negro Digest had a total circulation that rivaled the distribution numbers of the New Republic (which was around 90,000 in 1977) but was markedly smaller than the New York Review of Books or The Nation.4 In other words, by readership figures alone, Fuller’s magazine sits firmly among the most widely read African American intellectual periodicals of the twentieth

introduc tion ·  5

century and certainly the most popular of the 1960s and 1970s. The magazine’s wide reach enabled Fuller to successfully stoke the flames of Black Arts activity across the country. Still, the circulation numbers capture only part of the story. At the helm of Negro Digest, Fuller provided the movement with a unique editorial vision that tied local manifestations together in a way that made a Black Arts nation. At the same time, he fused these local stories with similar coverage of African and Caribbean writers, making a global world of Black arts and letters palpable to his reading audience. By editing a nationally circulating magazine with a broad transnational emphasis and great attention to local activity, Fuller had the most comprehensive view of the movement. His was the viewpoint of an editor interested in the totality of the movement in all its complexity and diversity. Because of his singular position as editor of Negro Digest, he was able to see beyond any specific piece of work, set of genres, local institutions, or regional relationships. He saw the big picture of the movement before anyone else and used the magazine to transmit that picture to individuals working in more localized settings. In other words, his editorial work offers a glimpse of how the movement was imagined as a phenomenon that was simultaneously translocal and national, with global connections. Fuller was instrumental in designing, framing, and constructing the ideological character, translocal constitution, and broader dimensions of the movement as it developed in the United States and branched out to other parts of Africa and the diaspora. While Fuller’s labor as an editor has been consistently noted in studies of the Black Arts movement, it has also been underappreciated. Since artists tend to occupy center stage and overdetermine scholarly examinations and popular recollections of the movement, an editor like Fuller has thus far remained ever present yet largely under-scrutinized.5 For example, in his meticulous and masterful study of the Black Arts movement, James Smethurst argues that “without Negro Digest/Black World, the articulation of the Black Arts movement as a national phenomenon would have been far different and more limited.”6 Such assessments, though accurate, do little to highlight Fuller’s labor as an editor. Instead of placing stock in the magazine as a product, this book refocuses our attention on the production processes, Fuller’s efforts to give ideological shape to the magazine, and the supporting cast behind the publication, while never losing sight of the larger movement. The focus is placed on how the magazine served as a vehicle for Fuller to provide tangible services in connection with the ideological design and spatial construction of the Black Arts movement. Not only was he responsible for copyediting works and providing feedback, but he also provided movement

6  . introduc tion participants—both aspiring and established—with a national platform. Single-handedly, he could guarantee that one would be seen, heard, or read. This ability fostered Fuller’s role as career coach and source of encouragement to emergent voices who desired a platform as well as insight into the professional landscape and networks of America’s shifting cultural marketplace. Although far from perfect, Fuller thrived in this role as editor, providing a print podium to members of a movement who longed for a liberated future. Yet he was far more than just an editor; he was also an intellectual, a writer, and an organizer, who would leave his mark in all three areas of Black Arts activity. At the level of ideas, Fuller, in conjunction with other Black Arts movement architects, such as Amiri Baraka, was responsible for conjoining African American arts discourse with Black nationalist politics, designing the marriage as the ideological foundation for the movement. While Baraka’s move to Harlem is often recognized in the scholarship, little attention has been paid to Fuller’s simultaneous efforts to amplify an emergent Black nationalist politics as a counter to civil rights liberalism.7 By framing civil rights liberalism as both incomplete and insufficient, Fuller used Negro Digest’s national reach to shift the discussion beyond civil liberties and to situate African revolutionaries and Third World activists as the ideal interlocutors for African Americans. This political and ideological framing of both the civil rights and Black Arts movements went a long way in demarcating who was considered “in” and who was considered “out.” It made political beliefs and artistic expression critical indicators, or litmus tests, for one’s ability to participate. Simply put, Fuller’s architectural efforts at framing the Black Arts movement assisted in creating core values for participants, all of whom believed, to some degree, that Black nationalism precipitated necessary innovation and renewed inspiration in the arts. However, it was his unique ability to circulate these ideas within the Black counterpublic and highlight local connections that added to his singular influence. More than any architect, Fuller was not only responsible for designing and framing the Black Arts movement; he also oversaw its construction. Tasked with running the closest thing to a clearinghouse to exist within the movement, Fuller used the pages of Negro Digest to make participants aware of new organizations, incipient projects, and individual talents as they emerged throughout the country. Responsible for fielding material from all over the world, Fuller’s editorial work granted the Black Arts movement its unique constitution as a national phenomenon that was made up of a series of local experiments and smaller regional hubs. In other words, if the coupling of Black nationalism and art served as the ideological design for the Black

introduc tion ·  7

Arts movement, Negro Digest provided the material evidence of an existing national network of individual artists, activists, and organizations. Through Negro Digest, Fuller made the movement more conspicuous, bringing faces, names, and intellectual production into clear view for participants on a monthly basis and, in the process, granting life to a collective sensibility. Of course, this sensibility, while rooted in a variety of local institutions scattered across a number of American cities, stretched beyond the country’s national boundaries. For Fuller and other Black Arts activists, the movement in the United States was connected to anticolonial endeavors in Africa and the Caribbean. Drawing on his experiences as a World War II veteran and former expatriate, Fuller’s framing for both the movement and the magazine was always global. In this way he fielded material from Black writers in Africa, the Caribbean, and Latin America; he also worked to build bridges between local institutions in the United States and newly independent African countries. In order to fully account for his transnational editorial outlook and global activist footprint, the Black Arts movement must be placed within a broader world history of decolonization and Pan-Africanism. In essence, one has to be attentive to both local and global histories to make sense of Fuller’s activity as an editor of Black World and as an activist trying to forge a new world bound by an innovative conception of Black identity. The principal purpose of Fuller’s work, in his assessment, was to build a movement that would result in the liberation of Black people, who suffered not only in the United States but also around the world as a result of white supremacy, imperialism, and exploitation. Concomitant with this goal was his desire to see people of African descent in full control of the production, circulation, and criticism of their own artistic and literary creations. In pursuit of these twin objectives, Fuller believed a movement needed to be built by Black people and in the interest of Black people. For much of his life, all the way up until the end, he pursued these goals with great passion, envisioning his work as that of a dedicated movement builder. In the process, he and other movement members would shift the direction of America’s cultural politics and the broader cultural marketplace by making racial identity a central feature and African Americans a visible and valuable consumer base.

American Cultural Politics and Articulations of Black Cultural Nationalism Although this book is an exploration of Fuller’s activist work, there is a larger story told here. Building the Black Arts Movement is more broadly about the relationship between culture and (racial) politics in American society during

8  . introduc tion the mid- to late twentieth century. If America’s domain of art and culture remains constituted by inseparable social relationships between a range of artists, consumers, private patrons, critics, retailers, curators, art historians, museums, performance venues, educational institutions, book publishers, print outlets, state and private granting agencies, and other institutional formations, Fuller and other Black Arts activists believed that racism played a fundamental role in shaping these relationships. In their assessment, the existence of racism as a structuring element in American discussions of art and culture added a political element that was tied to issues of control, legitimacy, access, resource distribution, and uneven power relations. Refusing to separate art, art praxis, and cultural production from sociopolitical questions emanating from racism and white supremacy, Fuller and other activists in the Black Arts movement championed an idea of “cultural politics” that has now become ubiquitous in American society. Within a larger history of American cultural politics, Fuller and other members of the Black Arts movement were responsible for firing an early shot in what would eventually be referred to as “America’s Culture Wars.”8 Largely associated with bitter national disputes over abortion, sex and sexuality, educational standards, literary and historical canons, censorship, the nuclear family, religion, and a host of other divisive issues in the 1980s and 1990s, the seeds of America’s culture wars were planted in the early twentieth century; however, they really began to take root in the 1960s. It was during the country’s chaotic years of the 1960s and 1970s that the battle lines were firmly drawn between those who believed in what Andrew Hartman calls “normative America” and those who imagined “a more pluralistic, more secular, more feminist [and more racially egalitarian America] . . . built on the ruins of normative America.”9 As stalwarts of the latter camp, Fuller and other Black Arts movement activists sought to undermine the hegemony of what he called “the White literary [and artistic] establishment.”10 For those in the Black Arts cadre, “culture” was a terrain of struggle, and art, criticism, and cultural production were seen as vital weapons within that struggle and the larger battle for Black liberation. In this sense, “cultural politics” was broadly understood as the brutal contest for power, agency, self-determination, and representation within America’s artistic and intellectual institutions and in the broader national conversations about America’s future. In an attempt to provide direction to Black artists and make their collective impact felt within the national arena of cultural politics, Fuller honed a particular kind of Black nationalism that advocated for the development of Black art, critics, and independent institutions, while simultaneously prioritizing,

introduc tion ·  9

and some might say under-theorizing, African American culture, specifically, and “Black culture,” more broadly. By the mid- to late 1960s, activists would refer to this nationalist intervention in American cultural politics as “Black cultural nationalism.”11 As a political ideology, Black cultural nationalism has remained hotly contested and equally complex since reaching a popular zenith in the 1960s.12 At the same time, several ideological elements of Black cultural nationalism have become ingrained as standing presuppositions in national conversations about identity, mass culture, representation, and education in American society.13 Thus, Black cultural nationalism has endured as one of the most influential (and divisive) political ideologies at work within both the Black intellectual tradition and the broader African American counterpublic. Scholars of the 1960s have defined the politics of Black cultural nationalism in a number of ways. For example, in his study of Maulana Karenga, one of the most influential and polarizing advocates of the ideology in the 1960s, historian Scot Ngozi-Brown defines Black cultural nationalism as “the view that African Americans possess a distinct aesthetic, sense of values, and communal ethos emerging from either, or both, their contemporary folkways and continental African heritage.”14 While Ngozi-Brown’s definition fits the politics of Karenga’s US Organization, it does not account for alternative articulations of Black cultural nationalism that emerged during that same decade. In his work on Amiri Baraka, Komozi Woodard defined a black cultural nationalist as “one who sees the essence of a nation as its distinct civilization, generated by its unique history and culture.” He goes further to assert, “Cultural nationalists . . . emphasized the importance of winning some measure of self-determination in order to create the conditions for the flowering of the African personality.”15 While both Woodard’s and Ngozi-Brown’s definitions of cultural nationalism fit the work of Baraka and Karenga, Hoyt Fuller was a cultural nationalist of another ilk. Although Fuller never fully articulated his politics in a manner as transparent as Baraka or Karenga, his practice of Black cultural nationalism was characterized by both traditional and unique ideological elements. Like all Black nationalists of the period, Fuller fundamentally believed in racial solidarity and self-determination for people of African descent. He also placed a high priority on the development of autonomous Black institutions. Beyond these core beliefs, however, he differed with other Black cultural nationalists of the 1960s on a number of issues, including gender politics, sexuality, African politics, the value of class analysis, ideal modes of organizing, the substance that constituted African American culture, and the very definition

10  . introduc tion of “culture” itself. For example, he never agreed with the aspect of Karenga’s cultural nationalism that viewed African American culture as damaged as a result of the slave trade and centuries of racist oppression. For Fuller, African Americans did not need to reclaim lost values or return to past modes of behavior. Instead, he understood “culture” in both its broad and more narrowed sense. Throughout his life, he acknowledged broader definitions of culture, as a dynamic and ever evolving aspect of people’s lives. At the same time, the notion of “culture” in Fuller’s cultural nationalism was tied to more specific manifestations in the arts and creative production. For him, Black cultural nationalism was a specific articulation of cultural politics for the particular world of art and creativity, as opposed to broader cultural customs and mores. Much like Harold Cruse, author of The Crisis of the Negro Intellectual and one of the editor’s most influential interlocutors, Fuller’s articulation of Black nationalism was centered on forward-looking creative production, criticism, and institutional control, not African American social behavior, ethical mores, or a reclamation of past beliefs. Beyond the world of art, his politics were far more flexible and capable of being seamlessly fused with other Black political agendas, including those stemming from anticapitalism and materialist critiques. To be sure, Fuller’s experiences illuminate the fact that articulations of Black cultural nationalism in the 1960s were by no means monolithic or historically static. Therefore, Building the Black Arts Movement elucidates the internal diversity of Black cultural nationalism in the 1960s. And in doing so it reveals Black cultural nationalism’s numerous manifestations and persistence in contemporary American society.16 Accounting for the dynamism, popularity, and limitations of Black cultural nationalism in the 1960s, this book gestures at how elements of the ideology melded seamlessly with the plans of Fortune 500 marketing executives, elite African American business owners, managers of higher education institutions, and administrators of newly independent African nation-states. Within the context of the United States, Black cultural nationalism served as the blueprint for future formations of identity politics, opening up space for a cultural pluralist discourse that would eventually mutate into the corporate logic and managerial language of “diversity.” At the same time, for state administrators in newly independent African countries, cultural nationalism was used as a means of building national unity while simultaneously maintaining the mechanisms of the state and sidestepping questions of economic inequality. Nothing goes further in illuminating how an array of different actors repurposed, rebranded, and reinvented the ideology to fit wildly different agendas than class.

introduc tion ·  11

Ideological interlocutors of Black nationalism Hoyt Fuller and Harold Cruse chat during the latter’s visit to the main headquarters of Johnson Publishing Company in Chicago. (Hoyt William Fuller Collection, box 58, folder 20, Atlanta University Center, Robert W. Woodruff Library)

Class and Contested Notions of Black Liberation To say Fuller and those in the larger Black Arts movement placed a lot of stock in cultural politics would be an understatement. They truly believed that cultural production could serve as a means of unifying Black people in the United States and the broader African diaspora. Even more, they believed that the cultural arena could have some sway on global racial politics, possibly bringing balance to a world of unequally distributed power. Indeed, they had high hopes because, like all artists and activists, they were dreamers. However, their dreams were often confronted by the harsh realities of intraracial class politics. Thus far in scholarship on the Black Arts movement, far too little has been said about class. While most studies pay close attention to the emergent discourse around “Blackness,” intraracial class politics have yet to become a prominent feature in the scholarship. This is surprising considering the fact that art discourse in the United States is an inherently class-based phenomenon. Whether one considers how art is valued, who owns it, where it is housed, how artists’ careers are advanced, how works are produced and

12  . introduc tion circulated, or even what counts as art, class—in one form or another—remains a relevant factor in the conversation.17 Keeping this point in mind, Building the Black Arts Movement makes an explicit attempt to bring issues of class, capitalism, and the American marketplace to the fore. While recognizing the shift from “Negro” to “Black” as a major turning point in African American identity politics—largely as a result of Black nationalism’s popularity—this book argues that the moment also gave rise to (and exacerbated) growing class divisions among African Americans. It recognizes how the Black Arts movement helped transform “Blackness” into a valuable commodity while hastening the pace of corporate America’s embrace of “diversity” in both employment and marketing strategies. More to the point, it shows how jejune notions of “unity,” “community,” and “self-determination”—emanating from Black nationalism, and particularly Black cultural nationalism—ultimately remained ill-equipped to deal with the small, but relatively powerful, African American economic elite in the United States and the emergent political elites at the helm of independent African countries. By paying close attention to intraracial class politics, this book breaks from increasingly dominant trends in African American historiography— and what has more recently been referred to as scholarship on the “Black Freedom movement” and “Black Power Studies”—in its refusal to adopt a narrative that suggests constant and coherent political activity on the part of African Americans, writ large, across time and space.18 Such trends have led to an assumption that African Americans have collectively moved in the same political direction (toward freedom), and continue to do so, and that therefore African American history can be understood as a single chain of resistance that stretches the gamut of African American life from slavery to the present. At their core, studies of this nature rely on the false assumption that race—or in the specific case of African Americans, “Blackness”—functions as a corporate logic, dictating thought, cohering social movement behavior, and directing political desires across time and space. Even more, the notion of the “Black Freedom movement,” as it functions in African American history, connotes the idea that “liberation” and “freedom” are imagined the same way by African Americans in toto. This book argues the exact opposite. It begins with the assumption that “freedom” and “liberation” remain contested ideas within African American society. To some activists of the 1960s, freedom equated to full participation within America’s liberal democracy and its accompanying free market; to others, liberation referred to a post-capitalist world. Simply put, one’s race did not dictate one’s political desires, nor did one’s willingness to participate lead to the adoption of a common agenda.

introduc tion ·  13

Since the ideas of “freedom,” “liberation,” and even “Blackness” were contested, competing camps emerged within African American society, and the competition among these camps was critical in the struggles over identity politics, community-based organizing initiatives, the development of institutions, and the direction of Black political futures. Recognizing this internal political competition within African American society, some historians have preferred the phrase “Black freedom struggle” to account for the internal complexity and competition within African American social movements of the late twentieth century.19 And while the two phrases—“Black Freedom movement” and “Black freedom struggle”—have been used inconsistently and interchangeably in the literature, this book emphasizes the latter.20 The history offered in this text undermines (and moves away from) an imaginary, universally shared sense of purpose and direction within the race. Instead, political struggle and contestation—within the national African American population, broader American society and the larger Pan-African world— serve as the engines driving this book. This emphasis on contestation is better reflective of the Black Arts movement, because it goes further in capturing the period’s complexity.

The Overall Blueprint and Interventions Our understanding of the Black Arts movement shifts dramatically when we situate Fuller in his rightful place at the center of activity. First, Fuller’s experiences put the Black Arts movement into international perspective. His activist efforts capture the aspect of the movement that went beyond the United States while simultaneously confronting the limitations of the nation-state. Fuller’s international experiences remind us that in order to fully understand the Black Arts movement, scholars must begin to engage with an international array of sources. In other words, African American history must be placed within a broader global context that accounts for the influence of African decolonization and larger geopolitics. At the same time, in recounting Fuller’s journey, a clear picture of the institutional evolution of the Black Arts movement (and Black Studies) also emerges. Through Fuller we can trace the rise and fall of Black Arts institutions at the local and national levels along with the contests over power that manifested within these institutions. Lastly, examining Fuller’s life forces us to think through questions of sexuality as it related to the Black Arts movement and the archive. His experiences not only reject any idea of a universally accepted dichotomy between Black nationalism and nonheteronormative sexualities

14  . introduc tion within the Black Arts movement, but they also force us to think through the limits of the archive. In other words, Fuller’s life and afterlife serve as a reminder that political contestation also shapes the structure of the archive and the subsequent histories of the Black Arts movement emanating from that archive. Keeping political contestation as a driving feature of the book, each chapter unpacks the history of these contests as they unfolded within different spatial scales. Building on the previous efforts of historian Adam Green, this work opens by situating the corporate headquarters of Johnson Publishing Company as a uniquely powerful institution with a tremendous ability to shape African American counterpublic culture.21 By starting the story in a Black-owned corporate office, the first ideological debate of the book occurs among an emergent cadre of Black nationalists and civil rights liberals on staff and JPC owner John Johnson, who represented a small yet relatively powerful class of African American economic elites. Drawing on Fuller’s papers, FBI files, and JPC publications, the book opens by using the debate over the descriptors “Negro” and “Black” as a means of understanding more trenchant divisions in African American society over identity politics, national allegiance, international solidarity, and Black people’s relationship to, and place within, the American free market. Moving from the corporate office to the local urban landscape, the subsequent portion of the story provides a history of the Organization of Black American Culture (OBAC), Chicago’s most popular Black Arts organization. Recounting the ways Fuller’s time in Detroit, during the 1950s, informed his efforts to cofound one of the Black Arts movement’s most popular collectives, it shows how he served as a generational bridge between older writers and a younger emergent group of creative artists. It uses the Chicago Defender, oral history interviews, and a number of other sources to illuminate the creative milieu that brought his popular “black aesthetic” project into existence. In the process, the local manifestations of Black political contestation are laid bare in the story of OBAC’s meteoric rise, internal fissures, and ultimate, although unofficial, dissolution. Of course, similar political contests played out in the international arena too, and a broader understanding of this period requires a transnational perspective and engagement with historical archives outside of the United States. Taking up this challenge, Building the Black Arts Movement illuminates the global dimensions of Fuller’s activism by recounting his participation as an organizer and journalist at the First World Festival of Negro Arts in Dakar, Senegal, in 1966; the First Pan-African Cultural Festival in Algiers,

introduc tion ·  15

Algeria, in 1969; and the Second World Festival of Black and African Arts and Culture in Lagos, Nigeria, in 1977. Piecing together archival material from Lagos to London and newspapers from Algiers to Paris, this effort to retrace the global dimensions of the Black Arts movement brings together African and African American history in order to properly situate Fuller as a Black cosmopolitan activist and purveyor of Pan-Africanist politics. For Fuller, Pan-Africanism had the potential of providing both a powerful way forward for African descendants and an alternative to the US Cold War agenda. Moreover, the African continent’s numerous Pan-African festivals offered a means to both imagine and pursue global Black political futures. However, Fuller’s prospects of a symmetrical, nonaligned Pan-Africanism would be thwarted time and time again by local and international state politics. Nonetheless, his experiences in Africa illustrate how Black Arts activists exported their ideas and pushed the boundaries of racial unity and Black cultural nationalism to their global limits. Further extending the theme of racial unity and the fissures there within, Building the Black Arts Movement also recounts the series of events that led to the death of Black World in 1976. Piecing together an assortment of yet to be archived sources and oral history interviews, this portion of the story delineates the various factors that shaped John Johnson’s decision to cease publication of Black World. Such a recounting requires an explication of the internal shifts and political skirmishes within JPC during the 1970s. Unlike the flourishing of the movement in the 1960s that brought Negro Digest to the forefront of Black Arts print culture, Black World’s closing in the 1970s took place against the backdrop of a dwindling movement. In the same way that Negro Digest elucidates contradictions in Black political life in the 1960s, the story of Black World’s demise highlights larger realities about the state of African American intellectual life and African American counterpublic culture during the middle of the 1970s. Ultimately the life and death of Black World and its short-lived replacement, First World, exemplify how post–Jim Crow shifts in America’s racial landscape essentially fostered the restructuring of the African American intellectual community. As history would have it, the intraracial struggles about Black life and Black liberation that animated so much of Fuller’s life also continued in discussions about his personal life long after he was gone. Thus, the book also probes the impact of sexuality on the life and afterlife of Hoyt Fuller. Breaking with the widely held assumption that there was no space for nonheteronormative sexualities within the Black Arts movement, Building the Black Arts Movement uses the complexities of Fuller’s intimate life to illustrate

16  . introduc tion the multifaceted and, often, contradictory ways activists in the movement wrestled with intragender eroticism—which can be understood, in this case, as sex and sexual desire between two cisgender men. It outlines how historical actors, both during and after the period, made critical decisions around sexuality that have shaped our ability to construct a comprehensive history of the movement. Ultimately, the book lobbies not only for a need to return to the archive and unearth a broader understanding of how sexuality impacted the Black Arts movement but also for redoubling our efforts at contextualization in the face of archival silence and, even worse, intentional attempts at erasure. Finally, while numerous studies have discussed the movement’s origins and national breadth, very few have attempted to provide a solid explanation of its decline. Throughout each chapter, Building the Black Arts Movement pays attention to changes over time, continuities, dissolution, and incorporation. While it avoids recurring efforts to pinpoint the movement’s lasting impact on contemporary Black artistic production, it instead uses Fuller’s singular experiences to show how Black Arts institutions eventually died out, leaving Black cultural nationalism to take on an amorphous, altered, and, dare we say, atrophied afterlife completely divorced from the original context of social movement politics, the wider discourse of Black revolution, and many of the vibrant institutions that once nurtured it in the 1960s. By charting a lethal combination of fatigue, political demobilization, ideological infighting, dwindling resources, state repression, and corporate and institutional incorporation, this book considers some of the factors that brought the movement to an end. In this regard, it complies with Christian Davenport’s imperative to think through the ways social movements die.22 Indeed, if there is something we can learn from the past, and the Black Arts movement more specifically, it is how social movements come to life, wax, wane, and eventually expire. Progress is by no means constant, and demobilization and incorporation can occur as a result of number of different factors.

1 Designing the Future Black in a Negro Company The Johnson Publishing Company was, without question, the biggest and most influential enterprise of its kind in the entire world, and it seemed that, ideally, such a place would be a center of intellectual and literary ferment. That it was not such a center I could understand. The conservatism [in the company] was imposed by circumstance. —Hoyt Fuller, “Incomplete Autobiography” The Negro press is not only one of the most successful business enterprises owned and controlled by Negroes; it is the chief medium of communication which creates and perpetuates the world of make-believe for the black bourgeoisie. Although the Negro press declares itself to be a spokesman for the Negro group as a whole, it represents essentially the interests and outlook of the black bourgeoisie. —E. Franklin Frazier, The Black Bourgeoisie

In 1971 the Johnson Publishing Company released a Festschrift in honor of Illinois poet laureate Gwendolyn Brooks titled To Gwen with Love. Like all Festschrifts, the 149-page book featured the work of writers and artists who had worked with Brooks and been touched by her tremendous literary legacy. Although Brooks was nationally renowned for her poetry, the book better reflected the changing politics within the Johnson Publishing Company. Mindful of the protest that had taken place in front of the JPC building just a couple of years earlier, John Johnson hoped the new book would publicly signal the company’s willingness to change with the times. In reality, To Gwen with Love reflected Johnson’s dual efforts to embrace the new Black consciousness and simultaneously make inroads in the Black Arts

18  .  chap ter 1 movement by tapping into a new consumer base. Ambivalent about the situation, Hoyt Fuller was happy to see so many artists from his network come together to celebrate Brooks, yet he remained leery of his boss’s political expediency. More than any other individual involved in the production of the Festschrift or, for that matter, the larger Black Arts movement, Fuller had a clear sense of his boss’s political commitments. After working on the JPC staff for more than a decade—first between 1954 and 1957 and then again from 1961 to 1976—Fuller knew well that Johnson’s focus was not on racial solidarity but, instead, profits. Nevertheless, the publication of the Festschrift served as a measure of the undeniable popularity of the Black Arts movement and, perhaps more importantly, Fuller’s tangible influence on the print politics of the company through the pages of Negro Digest. Focused sharply on the peak years of Fuller’s employment at JPC as editor of Negro Digest, this chapter has a dual purpose. First, by recalling Fuller’s unique editorship, it recounts the magazine’s centrality to both the resurgence of a popularly rooted Black nationalism and the associated emergence of new modes of thinking and organizing as it related to African American art, intellectual work, and social activism. In addition, by chronicling the strained professional relationship between John H. Johnson and Hoyt Fuller, the chapter simultaneously illuminates the intraracial struggle between that same emergent group of Black nationalists and a more established elite class of African American liberals who grew comfortable with desegregation and racial equality but eschewed critiques of capitalism and economic exploitation during the civil rights–Black Power era. This struggle was perfectly encapsulated in Fuller’s efforts to purposefully contradict and undermine what he deemed as the bourgeois Negro politics of John H. Johnson and the Johnson Publishing Company. By advancing “Black” as counter to JPC’s dominant discourse—on consumerism, celebrity culture, and leisure—Fuller used Negro Digest as an influential print mechanism in the production and amplification of an alternative politics for African Americans. Coincidentally, since Fuller and most Black nationalists understood African American entrepreneurship as an indicator of racial empowerment, it forestalled their ability to raise the difficult, more fundamental questions about class exploitation as an essential component of capitalism and Black business ownership. By ceding the discussion about African American entrepreneurship, they essentially made room for African American economic elites, like Johnson, to regain control over the terms of the debate and redefine “Blackness” while also maintaining their managerial status in the racialized American economy. Even as the racial ordering of that economy

designing the future  ·  19

shifted—from legal segregation to racial discord and urban rebellions to a post–Jim Crow, liberal, racial democracy—the African American economic elite were able to maintain their profit-driven agenda by incorporating the most innocuous features of Black nationalists’ politics and disavowing the more challenging elements. Nevertheless, in the process of taking up this fight with Johnson, Fuller successfully expanded the conversation in African American print culture and, at least for a brief period of time, altered the general tenor of JPC periodicals.

Negro Digest, the JPC Empire, and African American Print Culture Although Fuller’s editorship of Negro Digest began in 1961, the magazine’s origins start in 1942 with a lofty idea, a five-hundred-dollar loan, and a gentleman’s agreement between strange bedfellows.1 While working on a weekly compendium of news clippings for the Supreme Liberty Life Insurance Company, Johnson came up with the innovative idea to create an alternative to the immensely popular Reader’s Digest. His venture however, was aimed squarely at African Americans as both a reading audience and a potential consumer base. After being denied financial support from multiple banks and several well-to-do individuals, Johnson took out a loan of five hundred dollars against his mother’s home furniture. Upon securing the necessary startup funds, he still lacked the editorial skills and experience required to put together a top-tier periodical worthy of space on national newsstands. To fill this need, he broached Benjamin Burns (born Benjamin Bernstein), a Jewish communist and editor at the Chicago Defender, who agreed to help launch the new venture. Within this arrangement, Johnson served as the public face of what began as the Negro Digest Publishing Company, and Burns served as the skilled editor working behind the scenes.2 Formatted as a digest, the magazine was “a convenient, economical monthly magazine of condensations taken from an international list of newspapers and magazines . . . printed to fit in your pocket and priced to fit your pocketbook.”3 While keeping the sales cost low, Johnson and Burns also solicited original pieces, which over time appeared more frequently than reprints. The “race-angled duplication,” as Burns once described it, mimicked the layout, type, formatting, and several regular features in Reader’s Digest.4 At the same time, in an effort to align the magazine with its particular target audience, Burns and Johnson developed several unique columns over the course of Negro Digest’s initial run, including “The Roundtable,” “Dixie Drivel,” “My Most

20  .  chap ter 1 Humiliating Jim Crow Experience,” and “If I Were a Negro.” Collectively the columns, much like the magazine, sought to capture the distinct experiences, discourses, and dialects of Black America while situating African Americans as an integral, and loyal, constituent of the American body politic. Initially Negro Digest’s attempt to serve as “a magazine of Negro comment” was seriously misunderstood by J. Edgar Hoover’s Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). In 1944 one of Hoover’s men declared, “This publication might be characterized as a militant Negro publication of the variety of [the Baltimore] ‘Afro-American’ and the ‘Pittsburgh Courier.’”5 Likely the result of Burns’s involvement, the California Committee on Un-American Activities, which worked closely with the FBI, believed Negro Digest was “communist initiated and controlled, or so strongly influenced as to be in the Stalin solar system.”6 The Chicago Field Division of the FBI reported that Negro Digest “was in a position to influence a considerable number of Negroes.”7 In a 1943 report, one agent surmised, “An examination of the contents of the publication causes doubt that it will be helpful in leading to more harmonious race relations.” The agent further noted that “Negroes reading the Negro Digest are likely to become more agitated after reading numerous articles in the publication.”8 Even as the FBI agent projected his own fanciful ideas about Black political behavior onto the magazine’s readers, he also offered a shrewd option for the FBI moving forward, stating, “It is believed that this publication [if] handled properly could do much to help/prevent racial friction.”9 Appearing to heed the agent’s words and come to grips with the magazine’s repeated attempts to solicit written commentaries from Hoover, the bureau abandoned its hostile oppositional posture toward the magazine.10 In 1948 one FBI agent encouraged Hoover to oblige Johnson’s requests to contribute to the magazine, noting that the company “has been favorable to the FBI.”11 Following the suggestion of his agent, Hoover’s October 1948 article “Crime Fighting as a Career for Negroes” appeared as one of several FBI promotion pieces in Johnson’s magazines over the years.12 From that point on, Hoover and Johnson established an amicable relationship, though Hoover would reestablish FBI surveillance of Negro Digest in 1969.13 Contrary to the incendiary magazine initially imagined by the FBI, Negro Digest reflected the enterprising character of its founder far more than its communist editor. Breaking with long-standing traditions of the African American press, and arguably its raison d’être, Negro Digest did not aggressively prioritize and denounce issues of American racism, inequality, and injustice. Instead, Johnson’s magazine at times made light of, frequently downplayed, and intentionally sidestepped passionate discussions on racial

designing the future  ·  21

justice, civil rights, and historic discrimination. In those instances when the magazine did lend space to more intense discussions of racial justice, the articles were clearly marked as reprints and often framed by a critical, yet supportive, African American patriotism, or as part of a larger project to enhance “interracial understanding.”14 In fact, Johnson’s decision not to prioritize racial justice effectively set Negro Digest apart from the most widely circulating African American magazines—the NAACP’s Crisis and the Urban League’s Opportunity—and the dominant African American newspapers of the 1940s, including the Pittsburgh Courier and Chicago Defender. By creating an innovative magazine marketed to, sold to, and consumed by African Americans, sans the explicit racial justice stance, Johnson initiated an important bourgeois turn in African American print culture that grew only stronger with subsequent JPC publications. The rapid success of Negro Digest allowed Johnson to expand and exercise greater control on the African American print industry. Starting with a circulation of five thousand copies in November 1942, Negro Digest’s circulation quickly grew to fifty thousand copies in eight months and over one hundred thousand copies by 1945.15 The revenues and reader interest in Negro Digest led Johnson and Burns to launch Ebony, a large glossy Life-like magazine filled with colorful pictures of “the happier side of Negro life—the positive, everyday achievements from Harlem to Hollywood.”16 According to Burns, Johnson was the lone figure who preferred the emphasis on African American celebrities, sensationalism, success, and sex, instead of “get[ting] all hot and bothered about the race question.”17 As a communist, Burns preferred a more political emphasis, but he feared federal persecution for his beliefs and felt he lacked the racial insight and leverage to trump Johnson’s vision.18 Moreover, nebulous business agreements between the two men eventually played out with Johnson claiming the title of founding owner and Burns serving simply as an employee.19 Ultimately Johnson’s vision and politics carried the day, and what started as the Negro Digest Publishing Company was eventually rebranded as the Johnson Publishing Company. As a result, Ebony’s pages granted even less space to the struggle for racial and economic justice than its predecessor, Negro Digest. Gracing newsstands for the first time in 1945, Ebony was an immediate success, selling out all of its initial copies. As a huge overnight sensation, Ebony’s revenues quickly outpaced Negro Digest and displaced the first magazine as the bedrock of the company. In two short years, Ebony had a circulation of over three hundred thousand copies, claiming the lofty distinction of the largest circulating Black publication in the United States.20 Not only did Ebony

22  .  chap ter 1 garner an instant subscription base, but in its first few years it also attracted major corporate advertisers in Zenith, Swift Packing Company, Armour Food Company, Quaker Oats, Pepsi-Cola, Colgate, Old Gold, Seagram, and Remington Rand.21 Johnson’s ability to desegregate the advertising industry by courting major (read, white) corporate sponsors had the dual effect of positioning JPC’s head man as a key gatekeeper between African American consumers and white corporate America while also expanding JPC’s dominance in the arena of African American print culture. JPC’s growing relationship with white corporate America and its steady subscription base in Black America allowed Johnson to grow the mom-andpop company into a formidable publishing empire in less than a decade. Johnson was able to outlast or buy out any competition, as he did with Blackowned magazines such as Our World, Tan Confessions, and Copper Romance. He also rapidly expanded JPC’s staff, adding competent and experienced employees, attracting some of Black America’s best graduates in journalism, and wooing top-notch and emergent African American journalists from other successful publications. One such journalist was Hoyt Fuller, who cut his teeth writing for the Detroit Tribune and the Michigan Chronicle before joining JPC as an associate editor of Jet in 1954.22 Johnson’s ability to attract African American journalists added to JPC’s growing mystique, making it both a magnet for up-and-comers in the profession and a source of anxiety for owners of other African American publishing outfits.23 To the owners of rival periodicals, Johnson was a headhunter and JPC was a merciless empire with enough resources to pilfer the best journalists from their respective rosters.24 The expansion of staff led Johnson to purchase a three-story former funeral home on South Michigan Avenue, not far from the center of Chicago’s major business district, in 1949.25 From the comfort of the new location, Johnson and his staff initiated several startup publications, such as Jet and Hue, with some lasting longer than others. At the same time, the stability of JPC allowed Johnson to take risks and terminate financially solvent magazines, such as Negro Digest in 1951, whenever he devised new ways to increase profits. By the middle of the 1950s, Johnson’s business, with its numerous magazines, official corporate office, top-notch staff of over one hundred employees, and Fortune 500 connections, had emerged as a modern American company and by far the most prominent African American publishing empire in the United States.26 Marginal by no means to the JPC success story are the politics of the company’s founding owner, John H. Johnson. More than any individual editor, writer, or employee, JPC publications reflected the class-based, racial politics of their owner. Johnson strongly believed in the American traditions of

designing the future  ·  23

rugged individualism and free enterprise. These beliefs firmly shaped his racial politics, which most times discreetly doubled as class politics. Though infrequent, his most vociferous criticism of racial discrimination stemmed from the limits that American racism placed on social mobility and economic opportunity, especially as it related to his own life. Johnson believed that racism was destructive to the lives of African Americans and that it tarnished the American social order. However, in his estimation, racism was not a problem that was endemic to American society; instead it was a temporary shortcoming that could be overcome through expanded interracial understanding, genteel public comportment, and veritable desegregation of the free market. In order for this to happen, though, white economic powerbrokers had to be made aware of the “goldmine in their backyard.”27 From Johnson, these influential businessmen needed to learn “the secret of selling the Negro” and recognize that they stood to benefit from the full incorporation and unrestricted participation of African Americans in the American free market.28 Johnson assured white corporate interests that capitalist competition and robust consumerism were good for everybody, even African Americans suffering under the heel of Jim Crow. At the same time, Johnson maintained that African Americans needed to emphasize “the happier side of Negro life,” because the individual success of one Black person positively translated to the larger image and collective benefit of all African Americans.29 While these beliefs would be clearly articulated in his autobiography, Succeeding against the Odds, they were first reflected in his magazine’s persistent focus on “Negro firsts,” celebrity culture, and stories of success.30 Ultimately, it is impossible to disaggregate Johnson’s racial interests from his class interests, since African Americans doubled as his racial affinity group and the consumers who served as the source of his expanding wealth. This inseparability became most evident in moments of heightened racial crisis and was duly noted by his harshest critics, who believed that the exigent demands of Johnson’s class interest far outweighed his commitment to racial equality or empowerment. Among Johnson’s best-known critics was a Howard professor of sociology named E. Franklin Frazier. With the English publication of The Black Bourgeoisie in 1957, Frazier described the emergence and development of class dynamics within the African American community and offered a scathing analysis of several African American institutions. One of the institutions in question was the “Negro press,” which, in Frazier’s assessment, helped to construct and circulate the Black bourgeoisie’s “world of make-believe” and “wish fulfillment.” In his surgical assessment of intraracial class politics, Frazier wrote, “Although the Negro press, including magazines as well as

24  .  chap ter 1 newspapers, claims to be published in the interest of the ‘race’ (the Negro), it represents primarily the interests of the black bourgeoisie and promulgates bourgeois values.” He went on to take explicit aim at “the most important of these magazines, Ebony, Jet, Hue, and Tan Confessions,” which, he pointed out, were all published by JPC.31 Frazier’s stinging critique served as one of the lasting assessments of JPC periodicals, reverberating as a standard argument for several activists of the 1960s and at least one of Johnson’s employees— Hoyt W. Fuller. The Black Bourgeoisie crystallized Fuller’s disappointment as an employee at JPC, bringing him to a crossroads in his life. Though several factors contributed to Fuller’s resignation from JPC in 1957, Frazier’s critique played no small part in the editor’s departure. In drafts of his unpublished autobiography, Fuller echoed Frazier’s appraisal while adding an insider’s perspective as a former employee. Riffing off the language articulated by Frazier, Fuller described JPC’s depiction of Black America as a “closed world of fantasy.”32 Like Frazier, Fuller was frustrated by JPC’s obsession with “Negro firsts.” The editor believed that JPC’s recurring stories of Negro celebrities, success, and leisure failed to capture an emergent political energy among African Americans. As the civil rights movement increasingly took center stage in American news cycles, Fuller concluded that “the [Johnson Publishing] company, because it was so important [to African Americans], failed in its responsibility to the people who made it successful—and to itself.”33 He commended the political coverage of coworkers like Simeon Booker but ultimately loathed JPC’s “aloofness from the center of the fray.”34 Moreover, Fuller also articulated his disappointment with the “indifference to genuine intellectual concerns among [JPC] staff,” while noting his coworkers’ tendency of “playing up to the boss and trying to win favorite positions.”35 The lack of intellectual curiosity among coworkers, marginal focus on political issues, and emphasis on “the happier side of Negro life” led Fuller to tender his resignation in February 1957, just three short years after joining the staff. Despite all the reasons Fuller articulated for leaving JPC—in drafts of his unpublished autobiography and letters to friends—he told Johnson he was leaving for “reasons of health.”36 This vague explanation allowed Fuller to depart from the company on good terms while ultimately leaving the door open for his return.

The Second Time Around: Resurrection or Rebirth? During the years between Fuller’s resignation in 1957 and his return in 1961, JPC pressed on without missing a beat. The company remained the most

designing the future  ·  25

dominant Black-owned publishing operation in the world, with Ebony and Jet maintaining their positions as the most consistent and largest circulating African American periodicals in the United States. However, within three short years, the political context in the United States had changed dramatically, making Frazier’s critique even more poignant. When Fuller left in 1957, the civil rights movement was just beginning to unfold. In fact, Fuller was an associate editor of Jet as the company successfully balanced coverage of the murder of Emmett Till with stories of Black celebrity, success, and Negro firsts. He left in the shadows of the Little Rock desegregation campaign.37 Three years after his departure, the student sit-ins served as a pivotal moment, galvanizing the civil rights movement by providing a new point of entry for African Americans who were interested in expanding the fight for racial equality beyond the courts. As this heightened racial consciousness and political activity gained more attention in the nation’s media, it opened a window of opportunity for Johnson that ultimately led to Fuller’s return to JPC. Ever the astute businessman, Johnson refused to let America’s emergent racial crisis go to waste. He perceptively assessed the growing political fervor on the part of African Americans as an occasion to make money, fortify his company’s brand, and expand JPC’s dominance in the Black printing industry. In the face of racial unrest and national crisis, Johnson decided to resurrect Negro Digest and position it as the most ardent political periodical on JPC’s roster. There were several ways the resurrection of Negro Digest served Johnson’s best interest. First and foremost, a politically oriented magazine could serve as a new source of profits, spurred on by readers who found Ebony and Jet too ensconced in the fanciful world of the Black bourgeoisie. At the same time, Negro Digest could act as a release valve for Ebony and Jet by taking on the more in-depth political discussions that had the potential of altering or, perhaps in Johnson’s estimation, ruining the celebratory hallmark of the more popular magazines. Lastly, by reviving Negro Digest and situating political content as a core feature, Johnson could stave off criticism from detractors like Frazier and others, whose excoriations only became more resonant with each new racial confrontation. Simply put, Johnson had found a way to transform America’s racial crisis into financial opportunity, and he did not hesitate to seize the day. He hastily moved forward with plans to resurrect Negro Digest. In February 1961 Johnson extended an invitation to Fuller to rejoin the JPC staff.38 For two weeks Fuller mulled over the offer, which required him to resign from his job at Colliers Encyclopedia Company in New York City and relocate to Chicago.39 Although he held major misgivings about resuming

26  .  chap ter 1 employment at JPC, Fuller believed the offer was a rare opportunity for a Black journalist working in segregated America.40 Moreover, Johnson was not simply asking Fuller to be another employee; JPC’s president wanted the journalist to lead the revival of Negro Digest, the magazine that had served as the foundation of the company in 1942. As managing editor, Fuller would be granted a measure of autonomy greater than that afforded to most JPC employees. More importantly, this was Fuller’s opportunity to use a nationally circulating magazine to shape African America’s political and artistic discourse. Fuller rightfully foresaw “the promise and possibility of being able to get out a publication that would serve the interests of the segment of the Negro community which is concerned with serious ideas, with young writers who needed an outlet for their talent, with those who have no need for the glitter and essentially superficiality of Ebony.”41 Still, Fuller accepted the position with much trepidation. In a letter to a friend he explained, “I have startling news of my own. In a moment of sheer madness, I agreed to go back to Chicago. To Johnson. Beginning March 1 . . . I think I might renege. Except that I won’t. But I KNOW it is a mistake.”42 Nevertheless, Fuller understood that as an African American journalist, he was not going to be granted many opportunities to actually work as a lead editor on a nationally circulating monthly magazine managed by a Black-owned company. Even with all of his reservations, this was the opportunity of a lifetime. After consulting with family and friends, Fuller told Johnson, “I rather look forward to resuming an association with the Johnson Publishing Company. . . . The prospect of working on the reactivated Negro Digest is a happy one. I am sure it will prove both challenging and stimulating.”43 Agreeing to a weekly salary of $150, Fuller was unaware that he was also embarking on a battle that would consume much of the remainder of his life: the battle to shift the politics of the Johnson Publishing Company from the inside. Fuller returned to JPC in 1961 as a man who was significantly different from the one who had left. He departed in 1957 as a reasonably experienced African American journalist and World War II veteran, who had worked in both Chicago and Detroit after graduating from Wayne State University. However, he returned with access to a transnational network, broad global experience, and an expanded résumé that included contributions to internationally respected newspapers.44 While abroad Fuller spent a significant portion of this four-year window writing and exploring Mallorca’s emergent counterculture that existed on the margins of President Francisco Franco’s military dictatorship in Spain. Even more pivotal to his political outlook, and the subsequent trajectory of Negro Digest under his editorship, was the time

designing the future  ·  27

he spent in West and North Africa meeting with political leaders and witnessing several countries gain their independence.45 In this short three-year period, Fuller repositioned himself as a noteworthy and emerging African American journalist writing about West Africa. For example, his five-part series on Guinea in 1959, featured in the Chicago Defender, fostered a transnational notion of Black identity while tapping into ideas of Pan-Africanism that laid relatively dormant among African Americans until the latter part of the next decade.46 Fuller’s international experiences expanded his knowledge of Black life beyond the US nation-state and shaped his understanding of white supremacy as a problem that was endemic to American society yet part and parcel of a worldwide racial-economic order organized through segregation and colonialism.47 Much like Malcolm X, who journeyed abroad in 1959, and African American journalist, William Worthy, whose investigative reporting took him to both Cuba and China, Fuller was part of a small contingent of Black journalists who encouraged African Americans to think about America’s racial crisis within the context of a larger racialized world. In this broader world, Whites constituted the global minority, and Blacks (and other people of color) across the globe confronted “not just an American problem, but a world problem.”48 This broad global vision also encompassed a new sense of Pan-African identity that understood Africa and the African diaspora to be fundamentally linked and inseparable. At the time, historian and activist John Henrik Clarke referred to this emergent politics as the “New Afro-American Nationalism.”49 Though Fuller never used the phrase to refer to his own politics, Clarke’s description captured Fuller’s belief that the African anticolonial struggle and the plight of African Americans were intertwined. This new expansive notion of Black identity emerged as a definitive feature of Fuller’s editorial praxis and eventually provided Negro Digest with a unique vision. It was the same notion of Black identity that would dominate the Black Arts movement. Ultimately, when positioned alongside (and often against) the more conventional, US-centered politics of John H. Johnson, Fuller’s conception of Black identity served as one of many points of tension within JPC. Where Fuller saw the second run of Negro Digest as a complete rebirth of the magazine—replete with a new direction, cutting-edge content, and an alternative guiding vision—Johnson imagined something much less adventurous. JPC’s founder and owner simply wanted to resurrect the same magazine, sticking to its tried-and-true design style. In his estimation, Negro Digest was to be a periodical “suited for collecting, condensing and presenting—in an attractive and readable package—the best and most significant

28  .  chap ter 1 of current literature of interest to Negroes.”50 Far less than something new, Johnson preferred something that was manageable and easy to incorporate into the company’s existing production schedule. These competing desires on the part of the two men shaped what each understood to be the “most significant” content worthy of publication in the magazine. Though not immediate, Fuller’s vision of Negro Digest eventually carried the day and influenced Johnson’s other periodicals, even if only for a short window of time. However, this proved to be an uphill battle for Fuller, as Johnson maintained control over the magazine’s resources, staff, and general means of production.

The Plantation, the Tyrant, and the Tax Write-Off In an interview with Harvard Business Review in 1976, Johnson proclaimed, “Back in 1954, I made up a list of 25 or 30 people that I thought I needed to run the magazines. I have a secret office in the heart of my company in which I keep those names before me at all times. I try to think of all the things I can do to make those people happy and well-satisfied with their work here [at JPC].”51 What Johnson did not say, though it can be inferred, was that all other JPC employees were expendable. Although Fuller worked most of his time as the sole editor of Negro Digest, he was not on Johnson’s list of important employees. Like so many of JPC’s close to three hundred employees, Fuller felt this sense of his expendability every day during his tenure, from 1961 to 1976. In fact, less than a month after he returned to the refurbished funeral home on South Michigan Avenue that served as JPC headquarters, Fuller declared, “Yes, I have come back here to edit NEGRO DIGEST. . . . It was a mistake to come. . . . Mark this now; I returned to Chicago to disaster.”52 In many ways Fuller saw his job as an ongoing battle with Johnson. Even as the two men remained professional at the workplace and in public, they would see eye-to-eye on very few things related to Negro Digest, or JPC more broadly. They disagreed over politics, magazine content, paper quality, advertising, support staff, treatment of contributors, and, of course, resource allocation. When Fuller first rejoined JPC, Johnson paired him with one of his most trusted employees, Doris Saunders. In an effort to both keep an eye on Fuller and get the revived magazine off the ground quickly, Johnson split Saunders’s workload between Negro Digest and her established task as the company’s Books Division director. Saunders was a Chicago native and trailblazer in the field of library science. After helping to expand the George Cleveland Hall Branch of the Chicago Public Library, Saunders came to JPC in 1949 and served as the in-house librarian.53 She had convinced Johnson, via letter, that

designing the future  ·  29

he needed to establish a world-class library at JPC, and he agreed by hiring her almost immediately. Her excellent rapport with Johnson extended to JPC’s staff, local bibliophiles, and Black Chicago at large. As one of JPC’s longestserving employees, she transformed the library from a minuscule hundred books to over a thousand, gaining Johnson’s utmost confidence along the way. Likely feeling that he could trust Saunders’s decision making and stave off costs for hiring additional support staff, Johnson appointed Saunders to serve as Fuller’s associate editor. Due to their mutual interest in African and African American history and Chicago’s cultural production, Saunders and Fuller worked well together. She helped Fuller establish a routine and some of the magazine’s trademarks. As a case in point, the monthly “Perspectives” column, which eventually became Fuller’s most popular contribution, was initially coauthored with Saunders, who later ran a similar column in the Chicago Defender.54 Although Fuller and Saunders maintained a solid working relationship, Johnson completely removed her from the editorial team in April 1963, leaving Fuller to manage the magazine alone for almost three years. Saunders’s short-lived appointment as associate editor was one of the few things Johnson and Fuller agreed upon. One of the many points of tension between Fuller and Johnson revolved around the latter’s business practices as an employer. For so many JPC employees, Johnson had a reputation as a tyrant. He generally maintained a jovial public demeanor, but with his employees he could be short-tempered, stubborn, negligent, and easily distracted. He was also notorious for erratically firing people, penny-pinching on things he felt were unimportant, and being inclined to clumsily meddle in different areas of work.55 Where Johnson saw himself exercising adroit business practices, Fuller and many of his other employees found themselves burdened by his behavior. For example, one of the major obstacles Fuller had to confront within his first year as editor was compensating guest contributors.56 He grew very frustrated with Johnson’s dilatory behavior when it came to paying contributors, saying, “I do not feel I can long continue promising to pay contributors on publication, knowing that I am telling a lie.”57 Fuller voiced his concern to Johnson multiple times, explaining how the late payments made it difficult for Negro Digest as a magazine, and him as an editor, to build lasting relationships with the world’s best Black writers.58 However, Johnson simply refused to pay people on time. He later gloatingly described his behavior as a “creative financing technique,” asserting, “One technique was to put off paying the bills until the last possible moment. I developed a sixth sense about the limits of delay.”59 While Johnson believed the technique worked well, it was Fuller who had to

30  .  chap ter 1 respond to writers’ requests to be compensated. Moreover, it was Fuller, as the editor, who was forced to explain to new writers that the rumors were not true and that JPC would swiftly pay them for their contributions. Fuller never grew to accept Johnson’s financial procrastination; instead he found ways to work around it and, when necessary, presented Johnson with ultimatums. Letters from as early as 1962 to as late as 1972 document a long history of Johnson avoiding to provide Fuller and staffers with typical raises, denying routine vacation time, and haphazardly firing people.60 As an employer and owner who prided himself on making his presence felt by taking regular walks through JPC offices and ostentatiously hobnobbing with the country’s wealthy elite, Johnson had a knack for disappearing when it came time to discuss employee raises and vacations.61 This added to his reputation as a negligent penny-pincher. It also served as fodder for the inner-office joke that Johnson Publishing was not a company but instead a plantation—a common quip among Black working-class people, both blue- and white-collar. On more than one occasion, Fuller threatened to resign in order to force Johnson to acknowledge routinely ignored requests for modicum pay raises or time off. In one interoffice memo, Fuller wrote, “In the more than a dozen years I have been employed here . . . I have never received an automatic increase in salary. You indicated that the situation might change to my surprise. I have not been surprised. . . . I think that I am deserving of a salary more in keeping both with the quality of my contribution to the company’s products and with my long tenure here. . . . I have no inclination for bargaining and trying to exert pressure. Now, as always, I am being direct and honest.”62 This kind of behavior was standard for Johnson, who accommodated only those he felt were essential to the company. His “creative financing technique” at avoiding debt collectors was also a strategy he used with his employees. As a dedicated editor, who labored tirelessly to make Negro Digest into a toptier magazine, Fuller believed that he deserved a modicum of respect, not to mention basic labor rights such as annual cost-of-living increases and time off. Johnson’s disappearing acts may not have been so egregious had they not also been combined with what Fuller referred to as his “frequent housecleanings.”63 Johnson’s willingness to arbitrarily and haphazardly fire dozens of employees in a single day intimated a heavy-handed leadership style and fueled his reputation as an impulsive tyrant with an “autocratic management posture.”64 Paradoxically, Johnson was nationally revered for his magazines but locally disliked and feared by many of his employees. Johnson’s persistent efforts to cut costs impacted the entire company but had a particular impact on Negro Digest. After its relaunch, Negro Digest

designing the future  ·  31

remained the lowest magazine on the company’s totem pole in terms of resource allocation.65 Unlike with his periodical darlings—Ebony and Jet— Johnson simply refused to invest sufficient resources into the rebooted magazine. The paper quality of Negro Digest was substandard, a low-grade weight with no capability for colorful pictures or glossy print.66 Because of the paper quality, colored ink was reserved for the cheaply printed cover art and smaller motifs on the inside. The magazine was also poorly bound with an inexpensive adhesive over staples. Retaining its original pocket-size measure of five and a half by seven inches, the hundred-page magazine continued to pack a lot of words into a small space of twenty-five folded sheets of paper. However, Johnson refused to lend any of this space to external advertisements—the key component to each of his other magazines’ success. In fact, Johnson flatly refused to allow Fuller to solicit advertisements and increase revenue for the magazine. By Johnson’s decree, the only ads to appear within Negro Digest were JPC hair-care products, like Duke and Raveen. Even when interest in the magazine increased and subscription rates grew, Johnson never allowed Fuller to attain revenues through advertisements. This decision, coupled with the stark difference in quality between Negro Digest and other JPC organs, made it evident to both readers and employees that the magazine was not a top priority. Among employees and readers, it earned the reputation as the company tax write-off.67 Eventually, this regularly rehearsed narrative became somewhat of an urban legend, spurring many to believe that Johnson printed the magazine at a financial loss and, on more than one occasion, providing Johnson with political cover from African American critics, who expected more from the company in an increasingly polarized American racial climate. Laboring in a challenging work environment, with marginal resources, intermittent staff support, and constant low-intensity dissension between him and his boss, Fuller completely remade Negro Digest into the leading magazine of the emergent Black Arts movement and a central print organ of African American counterpublic culture during the 1960s and 1970s. In the magazine’s first three years, it had a monthly subscription base of 5,543, with more than 15,000 units moved in sales through agents and news dealers.68 By its peak in January 1972, Negro Digest would command more than 20,000 mail subscribers while moving close to 34,000 units through magazine vendors, newsstands, and over-the-counter sales.69 Even as Johnson remained a miserly manager of the magazine’s resources, due to what he publicly claimed was feeble reader interests and revenue loss, Fuller pushed forward. In a letter to Johnson, he remarked:

32  .  chap ter 1 Frankly, Mr. Johnson, I do not feel that I have been given consideration here. For over four years I have worked on NEGRO DIGEST alone, not even being able to plan a vacation when I wanted to have one. . . . I have had one raise in those four years, and I have not been able to persuade you to give me any assistance. I feel that I have been taken advantage of because my identification with the magazine is so deep. . . . I have not stayed here because of the salary. . . . I have stayed because I think the magazine is important and because I want to see it built to its potential.70

Like Negro Digest’s readers and many JPC staff members, Fuller knew that Johnson’s spotty support did not stem solely from lack of revenues or the impossibilities of profit; instead one of the major issues was the magazine’s content.

Company Politics, Counterpublic Culture, and the Rise of Black Nationalism While at the editorial helm, Fuller wanted Negro Digest to be the corrective to what he believed were the shortcomings of JPC periodicals. Spotlighting the civil rights movement’s affront to American racism and charting the emergent Black Power and Black Arts movements, the newly appointed editor longed to disrupt JPC’s black bourgeois outlook. He loathed what he described as Johnson’s “adamantly non-political” edict.71 Criticizing what he viewed as the uselessness of conspicuous consumption, celebrity sensationalism, and Negro firsts, Fuller aimed to completely break the JPC mold. Instead of following Johnson’s lead by publishing “the happier side of Negro life,” Fuller consciously edited Negro Digest in a manner that went against the grain of all other JPC periodicals. In a letter to a friend, Fuller noted, “Working with Johnson, and most of the people there, is indeed a drag, and often discouraging, but I have managed to steer away . . . and have made the magazine the virtual voice of the committed Negro. . . . Mr. Johnson has no interest in all of this, and he has opposed it, and what has been done has been done often over his head and sometime[s] surreptitiously.”72 Even as Ebony grew to embrace stories of the civil rights movement, Fuller reserved more space for the “New Afro-American Nationalism,” amplifying relatively marginalized yet surging discourses in African American counterpublic culture. This direct challenge to the fundamental, shifting character (and coverage) of JPC periodicals situated Negro Digest as the company outlier and persistent dissenting voice on the magazine roster while gradually shifting the general tone and tenor of all of the company’s publications.

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Johnson’s and Fuller’s divergent politics were evident from the initial issue of the resurrected magazine. On the first cover under his editorship, Fuller’s new vision for Negro Digest was put on full display. By featuring a picture of the furrow-browed president of Ghana, Kwame Nkrumah, in national attire, with a rehashed Foreign Affairs title that questioned “The White Man’s Future in Africa,” the June 1961 reboot of the magazine made a dramatic break from the text-heavy covers of the first run. In addition, the title of the reprinted article inverted colonial power dynamics, putting the future of white colonizers in jeopardy instead of those who had suffered for years under the boot of colonialism. Further emphasizing an emergent spirit of nationalism was a section of text set to the immediate left of Nkrumah’s picture that read, “Black Muslims in America By C. Eric Lincoln.” By linking the Nation of Islam with Kwame Nkrumah, Fuller was consciously selecting articles that called attention to a spirit of nationalism sweeping across Africa and the diaspora while simultaneously, and perhaps unconsciously, collapsing deeper questions of statehood, and race. Even as Fuller attempted to shift the conversation, there remained reprinted cover stories on celebrities and sensationalism that fit Johnson’s traditional mold. Directly below the cover line for the Nation of Islam was “Sarah Vaughan Tells Why—Plain Girls Can Make It Too,” taken from the music magazine Down Beat, and a grinning picture of New York senator Jacob Javits alongside his reprinted Esquire article “A Negro President by 1999.” References to “making it” and white commentators on African American issues fit the classic mold set by Johnson and Burns in the 1940s and essentially parroted discussions in established white periodicals. This was the very mold that had driven Fuller to depart from JPC in 1957, but it was also one that he would eventually break with Negro Digest, although not without great difficulties. Within a few months of Fuller’s editorial tenure, an agitated Johnson remarked, “Negro Digest might be over-emphasizing Africa in its pages.”73 Johnson’s brief yet critical observation alluded to the gaping distance between the two men’s politics and, perhaps more importantly, their understanding of what it meant to be African American. Johnson was part of a generation of race men who took pride in the term “Negro.” He believed that upstanding African Americans who embodied the best of American values could prove the dignity of the race and serve as the best weapon against racial discrimination. Johnson’s notion of what it meant to be “Negro” was fundamentally tied to the American project, though he demonstrated some notable signs of change by the middle of the 1970s and certainly by the 1980s.74 Although Johnson knew African Americans had a unique past, he initially cared very

34  .  chap ter 1 little about historical or contemporary Pan-African connections. In Johnson’s estimation the American Negro was a unique phenomenon, and he assumed that his primarily African American readership agreed. Moreover, he disagreed with Fuller’s belief that “Black Americans need some reliable information on what Africa is like and what it can become.”75 Although Johnson served as a member of several special US ambassadorial teams to independent African nations in the late 1950s and 1960s, African news stories would never emerge as a consistent feature in JPC’s breadwinning magazines as Fuller had hoped. From Johnson’s perspective, African Americans who were attentive to politics were overwhelmingly interested in US domestic policy and conventional civil rights issues, including questions of citizenship, equal rights, and integration. For Fuller, Johnson was the embodiment of “Negro politics”—narrow in outlook, shortsighted in his thinking, and behind the radical curve emerging in African American counterpublic culture. As history would have it, Fuller’s tenure as editor of Negro Digest ran concurrent with the rise of the Black Power movement. Whereas the seeds of Black Power started to germinate at least as early as the middle of the 1950s in urban areas like New York City, Detroit, Chicago, and Oakland, its constituent politics—self-determination, self-defense, Black consciousness, and strident demands for political power—remained relatively marginal in both African American counterpublic culture and the larger American public sphere until the mid-1960s.76 During the first few years of his editorship, the civil rights movement’s demands for desegregation, voting rights, and full citizenship continued to carry the day. Seeing African American print culture as an essential part of African American political struggles, Fuller was inclined to include important voices and stories about the fight for civil rights in Negro Digest. However, Fuller’s politics, both editorial and otherwise, aligned more with the emergent themes of Black Power. He often published content that questioned the designated leadership, political goals, and aspirations of the civil rights movement. Even as Johnson increasingly commissioned sanitized coverage of the struggle in Ebony, Fuller sought out stories that challenged dominant civil rights ideology. For example, as early as 1962 Fuller ran Eugene Walton’s cover story “Is Integration a Threat to Negro Culture?”77 The following year—just one month before the widely celebrated March on Washington, a subject that subsequently appeared on Ebony’s cover—Fuller dedicated a whole issue to “The Crisis in Negro Leadership.” The issue included sure-fire rules on “How to Become a Negro Leader,” cartoon spoofs about nonviolence, and critiques of “Negro ministers” and civil rights organizations.78 The following

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month, Fuller published the words “Why I’m a Black Nationalist” on the cover in order to draw attention to Richard Thorne’s article “Integration or Black Nationalism,” featured inside the magazine.79 Clearly, Fuller was lending space to the “New Afro-American Nationalism” that had yet to make its deepest impact among African Americans or within JPC periodicals, for that matter. Nonetheless, his attempts to go against the grain of JPC were significant, especially since Johnson remained so dominant in African American print culture, and liberal civil rights discourse occupied center stage in African American counterpublic politics. In his efforts to alter African American counterpublic politics, Fuller was not alone. During the early 1960s, several smaller Black-run periodicals vied for space, attempting to contest Johnson’s narrative and the dominance of civil rights politics. Many of these periodicals were nationalist in orientation, and even more of them were open to discussing issues of race, class, power, colonialism, and imperialism in ways that Johnson was not. During the early 1960s, the leftist Freedomways, the Nation of Islam’s Muhammad Speaks, and the Liberation Committee for Africa’s Liberator were chief among these counterpublic contestants.80 Others included the African Nationalist Pioneer movement’s Street Speaker and Black Challenge, the Afro-American Association’s Dignity News, Robert Williams’s Crusader, the Detroit-based Now! magazine, the Revolutionary Action Movement’s Black America, and the Oakland-based Soulbook, all published prior to 1965. These periodicals were important venues for germinating nationalist thought in the early 1960s, but for various reasons—including smaller circulation numbers, limited distribution mechanisms, local orientation, and organizational instability— many of them were often difficult to obtain. As editor of Negro Digest, Fuller borrowed content and published writers from several of these periodicals, many of which were openly critical of Johnson’s politics and JPC’s metanarrative.81 More to the point, by reprinting their commentary and including their voices in a magazine with greater accessibility, Fuller amplified their political outlook. This helped to move relatively marginal political discussions closer to the center of African American counterpublic discourse and, by extension, fostered greater political debate. After the assassination of Malcolm X in 1965 and Stokely Carmichael’s declaration of “Black Power” the subsequent year, the ideas and subject matter in these once marginal counterpublic periodicals garnered broader attention in the American public sphere while serving as a centripetal force in African American political discourse up until at least the middle of the 1970s. In addition, the sheer number of these periodicals exploded between the years of 1965 and 1976, and their rapid increase had

36  .  chap ter 1 lasting implications for JPC periodicals, Negro Digest, and African American print culture, more broadly. When the Watts area of Los Angeles went up in flames in August 1965, just days after the passage of the last major civil rights legislation, JPC seemed to reach a major crossroads. The uprising was, as historian Gerald Horne once noted, “a milestone marking the previous era from what was to come. For blacks it marked the rise of black nationalism.”82 Sensing the pending political crisis and the limitations of conventional civil rights politics, Johnson could no longer ignore the salience of the “New Afro-American Nationalism” that Fuller had championed in Negro Digest. As a first in the history of Ebony, Johnson used his paramount publication to discuss what the editors called “The White Problem in America.”83 Transposing W.E.B. Du Bois’s classic inquiry—how does it feel to be a problem?—the special issue of Ebony stretched, and in many ways broke with, both the conventional civil rights discourse and the dominant JPC narrative up until that point.84 Instead of advocating for “interracial understanding,” as Johnson’s earliest mission espoused, the August 1965 issue assessed the entrenched nature of white supremacy in America. No longer were hard political discussions quarantined to the inexpensive pages of Negro Digest and other small, non-JPC upstarts. The once marginal counterpublic politics of Black Power had finally perforated Johnson’s idyllic projection of African America and pierced the pages of his most prized periodical. Like any good merchant, Johnson was adapting his economic interests to fit the changing political times. As part of the shift in August 1965, Johnson made two critical hires that further altered the character of JPC periodicals, with one causing deep reverberations for Negro Digest in particular. The first addition Johnson made to the JPC staff was former Pittsburgh Courier journalist Phyl Garland. The daughter of a noted photographer and an experienced journalist, Garland graduated from Northwestern University with a bachelor’s degree in journalism after spending her youth just outside of Pittsburgh. As an experienced journalist with distinct interests and a unique writing style, Garland made an important impact as an assistant editor of Ebony within the first year. Covering stories on Black music, Black women’s aesthetics, and Southern politics, Garland’s writings seemed more akin to Negro Digest than to Ebony or Jet. Her work deeply reflected the ascending cultural criticism of Black Power, not civil rights or the typical JPC narrative. Around the same time Garland was hired, Johnson allowed Fuller to appoint David Llorens as assistant editor of Negro Digest.85 Llorens was a Chicago native who worked as a project director for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee

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David Llorens worked as assistant editor of Negro Digest for a brief thirteen months beginning in August 1965. (Hoyt William Fuller Collection, box 59, folder 36, Atlanta University Center, Robert W. Woodruff Library)

(SNCC) during Freedom Summer in West Point, Mississippi, where two SNCC workers—George Bess and Henry McFarland—drowned after being forced off the road by Klansmen.86 Fuller knew Llorens prior to his joining JPC, as the two men had mutual acquaintances and Llorens had written for Negro Digest on multiple occasions. With Garland and Llorens now on the payroll alongside Fuller and Lerone Bennett, a senior editor at JPC and one of Johnson’s most trusted employees, the change in the editorial politics of JPC periodicals was inevitable. Although he added Llorens as assistant editor, Johnson did not actually increase his financial investment in Negro Digest. Instead, he simply reorganized the limited resources used to run the magazine. In a typical frugal move, he reduced the total number of copies printed annually from fifty-nine thousand to less than thirty thousand. This significantly reduced newsstand distribution but still covered subscriptions. He simultaneously reallocated the money saved from the printing reduction to the salary for the new assistant editor. This allowed him to finally attend to Fuller’s repeated requests to fill the gap left by Saunders’s departure in April 1963. At the same time, Johnson tasked Llorens with the typical double duty, requiring him to regularly contribute to Ebony and Jet alongside his work on Negro Digest. Although Fuller

38  .  chap ter 1 was deeply frustrated by Johnson’s larger scheme, he and Llorens worked well together, quickly enhancing the range and coverage of the magazine and shifting the nature of all JPC periodicals. Llorens’s experience as a writer and his connections to younger activists within the overlapping civil rights and Black Power movements immediately enhanced the breadth and depth of the political conversation in Negro Digest. As an experienced journalist, his presence afforded Negro Digest the ability to cover multiple events as they happened. With additional hands on deck, Fuller and Llorens were able to break stories rather than simply republish old material or rely solely on commentary. This is evident in the June 1966 issue of the magazine, when Fuller covered the First World Festival of Negro Arts in Senegal and Llorens reported on the pivotal Fisk Writers’ Conference. In addition, Llorens’s column, “On the Civil Rights Front,” provided Negro Digest with unique, condensed dispatches about lesser-known activists and local organizations in the civil rights movement as opposed to the national figureheads. The column also expanded the notion of “the movement” to include Black Power formations, antiwar politics, and traditional civil rights organizing while avoiding the top-down, Southern focus on civil rights and legislative issues that characterized Ebony and much of Jet’s coverage. Like Fuller, Llorens spent less time talking about nationally recognized leaders traversing the South and more time covering local developments both above and below the Mason-Dixon Line. Working in tandem during a pivotal thirteen months between August 1965 and September 1966, the two men transformed Negro Digest from an eccentric outlier on the JPC roster to a bona fide movement magazine. Due in no small part to the two men’s work, along with a few other staffers and the changing times, the political ethos and gravitas of JPC periodicals shifted dramatically, at least for a moment. Johnson took note; the following year he doubled the total number of copies of Negro Digest printed each month, raising the monthly total from just over twenty-nine thousand to over sixty thousand.

The Editor, the Magazine, and the Black Arts Movement In October 1969 Stephen Henderson, an important African American literary theorist of the period, expressed to Fuller, “And you are to the movement what Alain Locke was to the Harlem Renaissance.” Drawing a direct correlation between his contemporary’s editorial work and that of Locke, who was central to a previous watershed moment in African American creativity, Henderson was privately acknowledging the tremendous role Fuller played

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in building the Black Arts movement. Henderson further noted that Fuller was “probably closer to having a comprehensive view of the whole thing than anyone in the country, including the writers themselves.”87 Here Henderson hinted at the fact that in social movements revolving around artists, journal editors often go underappreciated even though they are best positioned for the most far-reaching view. With a premium placed on creative production and political imagination, far too often the emphasis is on those who perform rather than those who help build the platform for performances to take place. As an editor, Fuller fell into the latter category, crafting Negro Digest into the most important print platform of the Black Arts movement. Even as the period witnessed a veritable explosion in the number of print organs, Fuller’s magazine remained singular in its circulation numbers, public accessibility, monthly consistency, editing quality, and (inter)national coverage. While many of these factors stemmed from the financial stability of JPC, Negro Digest’s second run of success can generally be attributed to Fuller’s editorial guidance. Aside from his editorial practice, Fuller embodied a nonpareil variety of experiences and attributes that led to his singular position among Black Arts movement editors. Chief among these were his age and experience. Older than most major players in the Black Arts movement, Fuller was able to serve as an intellectual bridge between veteran writers who had cut their teeth in the period between the Harlem Renaissance and the civil rights era and younger writers who would come of age in the 1960s. This granted him a measured level of seniority among younger writers that translated as relatable respect instead of awe. In addition, his experiences living in America’s segregated South and urban North, combined with his World War II experience in Italy and short stint abroad in Spain, afforded him unique insights on American racial politics. Here was a man who had experienced “race” and what it meant to be Black in several different contexts. Moreover, his experiences in Algeria, Senegal, and Guinea proved useful in a movement that would passionately embrace the politics of Pan-Africanism. Lastly, Fuller’s deep frustrations working for Johnson further prepared him to embrace an audacious racial politics that challenged what he described as the “circumstantial conservatism” of JPC.88 Taken together, these aspects of Fuller’s life primed him to serve as the Black Arts movement’s most important editor. Like most participants, Fuller understood the Black Arts movement to be the artistic extension of Black Power.89 Before the phrase “Black Arts movement” emerged as a way to reference and describe the period’s artistic energy, he correctly assessed the influence that Black Power would wield upon

40  .  chap ter 1 African American creativity and the country’s art world at large. Completely enthralled by the moment, he used Negro Digest to foster broad dialogue and intense debates about the ways Black artists could reconcile their creative agenda with the period’s zeitgeist. Alongside other architects of the movement, Fuller questioned the existing dynamics of the art world, which was constituted by a seemingly endless number of artists, critics, editors, publishing outfits, production companies, museums, collectors, consumers, academicians, arts venue owners, managers and booking agents, philanthropists, and even state-run institutions. Focused on the point where art and politics collide, Fuller highlighted how the art world and its constituent relationships remained fraught with racist tensions, inequitable power dynamics, and uneven modes of granting legitimacy. More to the point, he intentionally used the pages of Negro Digest and the voices of its numerous contributors to launch an assault on the country’s artistic establishment. Motivated by the desire to see Black artists exercise more control over the production and evaluation of their work, he positioned himself as the movement’s editor, and Negro Digest became the most important weapon in his arsenal. The centrality of Negro Digest to the Black Arts movement cannot be understated. Whereas many influential journals already existed or emerged between 1965 and 1976—including Umbra, Journal of Black Poetry, Black Theatre, Black Dialogue, Black Books Bulletin, and Ascria Says—Negro Digest was the only movement journal that could be purchased at local newsstands across the country. Without major corporate underwriters—be it good or bad—no other journal of the Black Arts movement could lay claim to the same distribution capabilities, circulation figures, or public accessibility. The sheer scale of JPC’s distribution mechanisms granted the magazine a heightened ability to shape conversations precisely because it was so readily available. Moreover, Negro Digest’s dependable monthly production cycle also meant that new issues appeared consistently and more frequently than all other Black Arts publications, making it a steadfast presence. Even though Johnson often short-changed the publication in comparison to Ebony and Jet, Negro Digest still maintained the kind of solid economic foundation that eluded most emergent Black periodicals of the 1960s. Still, accessibility alone could not have resulted in the magazine’s singularity to the Black Arts movement. One must also consider Fuller’s explicit efforts to cover local activity, highlight emerging artists, and, in the process, transform the state of African American artistic production and criticism. Part of what made Negro Digest so vitally important to the Black Arts movement was its ability to amplify various local conversations and assemble

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them into coherent, national, and, at times, international exchanges. For localized individuals who likely would have labored in relative isolation or in distinctive regions, Negro Digest’s monthly coverage brought to light a vast network of artists and institutions. For example, Fuller’s boosterish write-up on the Black Arts Repertory Theatre/School (BART/S) in Harlem—widely regarded by movement activists and scholars as ground zero for the Black Arts movement—served as one of the budding institution’s earliest national press stories.90 Such spotlights on local artists, art collectives, and neighborhood institutions, when brought together in the magazine, illuminated a widespread network while serving as an inspiration and generative blueprint for artists in different regions. At the same time, when compiled in the magazine, the localized coverage generated both a collective sensibility and a national sense of community. This allowed Fuller to effectively forge a focused, consolidated conversation among disparate artists and varied voices that seemed to be wrestling with similar questions. This point is perhaps most evident in the annual April theater issues, which provided coverage and analysis of African American drama companies in several major cities across the country.91 To go along with the annual drama issues, Fuller also established yearly special issues on poetry, history, short stories, and political cartoons. With the exception of the history issues, honoring Carter G. Woodson’s Negro/Black History Month, Fuller referred to the focused volumes as “festivals.” In this way the pages of the magazine served as a perennial convening of sorts; each issue was like a monthly report of nationwide political and cultural activity. This ability to amplify and aggregate conversations granted Fuller a tremendous ability to shape movement discourse, even causing some to take exception to Negro Digest’s power to produce national attention or notoriety. Many movement activists benefited from Fuller’s ability to single-handedly thrust them onto the national stage and, in the process, lend an air of importance to their work. To have a poem, short story, critical essay, photograph, or visual artwork included in the pages of Negro Digest was to be immediately introduced to a national audience. Wielding this power as an editor turned Fuller into somewhat of a movement kingmaker, granting him the ability to advance or obstruct careers through the magazine. No other journal editor in the Black Arts movement could claim this level of influence. Of course, Fuller’s unrivaled power fueled jealousy and tension among individuals who felt that some artists received too much coverage and others too little.92 Yet very few who took issue with his editorial practice could accuse Fuller of completely shutting them out of the magazine. Nor could they deny the editor’s commitment to transforming the relationship between Black artists,

42  .  chap ter 1 white critics, and the country’s art establishment. In fact, such critiques of favoritism—whether accurate or exaggerated—further prove Negro Digest’s centrality to the Black Arts movement and the position of prominence occupied by the editor. Far more than any other editor of the Black Arts movement, Fuller deliberately cast a wide net when it came to tapping writers for the journal. Though he clearly sympathized with writers that fit the “literary nationalism” of the 1960s, he frequently published the voices and viewpoints of those with whom he disagreed.93 As an editor he frontloaded his politics just enough to illuminate a glaring distinction between his own political beliefs and those of the magazine’s owner. At the same time, however, Fuller embraced broad dialogue and public debate. Instead of speaking for those with contrasting points of views, he often included them alongside writers with whom he agreed. Uncharacteristic of most Black Arts movement periodicals, this open-ended editorial approach fostered critical debate and discourse through differentiation. It emphasized persuasiveness over pervasiveness, with value deriving from how well an argument was constructed rather than how frequently it was rehearsed. One contributor to the magazine recalled, “Even though Fuller had a definite philosophy about African world history and culture, he was not imposing. He was not doctrinaire. . . . It used to stun me. . . . [I always thought that] a person, who was as clear as he was, would be [more] strong-willed about things and want to propagate [his beliefs] more. That [practice] made his influence all the more important.”94 Still, Fuller’s approach did not prevent some critics from calling him “too narrow.”95 And his rare “anticommunist” tirades, such as “A Warning to New Black Poets” in the September 1970 issue, seemed to add fuel to such critical flames.96 At the same time, it led Amiri Baraka—the doyen of the Black Arts movement— to disparage the journal for being ideologically “schizophrenic.”97 Another writer close to Fuller may have been more accurate when he described the editor as having “a clear ideology, but not being ideological.”98 In other words, even though Fuller had a definite commitment to Black nationalist politics, most people believed that he was not dogmatic in the way he edited Negro Digest. While remaining open to political and artistic voices, Fuller placed a particular emphasis on cultivating young talent. Poet Kalamu ya Salaam recalls Fuller serving as “a male midwife for countless poets, fictionalists, essayists, dramatists and critics.”99 Fuller’s penchant for advancing the careers of emergent writers led him to establish a number of editorial techniques that underscored the position of younger writers in a long Black literary tradition

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stretching from Phillis Wheatley to Gwendolyn Brooks. First, borrowing from the playbook of editors in the Harlem Renaissance, Fuller established annual writing awards in several categories, including literary talent, literary criticism, drama criticism, and poetry.100 Drawing on his extensive network, he recruited established writers to underwrite the awards and provide the winners with small monetary prizes. Far from empty commendation, the awards granted national recognition and validation to recipients in a publishing industry that was hospitable to very few African American writers. Moreover, he used these magazine and the annual awards as means to establish intellectual bridges between distinct generations of writers. Emergent writers such as Sonia Sanchez, Nikki Giovanni, and Etheridge Knight were featured alongside established writers like Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, Robert Hayden, Gwendolyn Brooks, Chester Himes, and Sterling Brown. No other Black Arts movement periodical exhibited such a sweeping range of contributors or intergenerational dialogue. And, more to the point, no other editor of the Black Arts movement would come close to producing a periodical with the same impact as Hoyt Fuller’s Negro Digest.

From Negro Digest to Black World By the time protesters gathered in front of JPC headquarters in December 1969, Negro Digest had emerged as the premier journal of the Black Arts movement, with Fuller widely recognized as one of the movement’s most prominent luminaries due to his editorship. Still, readers continued to wonder about the magazine’s name, which persisted as a source of embarrassment for the editor. In a September 1968 interoffice memo, Fuller informed Johnson of the many letters “regarding reader dissatisfaction with the magazine’s name.” He also mentioned “several newspaper stories which questioned the name (New York Times and Chicago’s [sic] American, for example) and one story [that] was repeated in a book.”101 Nevertheless, Johnson stuck with the original moniker, showing no indication of his willingness to make changes. A full year passed after Fuller’s memo, leading the editor to devise a different, more public means of addressing the problem. During the protest, Johnson just so happened to be away from the office. After being notified of the disruption, Johnson instructed Ebony’s associate editor, Alex Poinsett, to invite the group upstairs for a conversation over the telephone.102 According to parties in attendance, Johnson was very respectful and open to the group’s grievances, promising to personally meet with them by the week’s end.103 No stranger to protests, Johnson understood the

44  .  chap ter 1 importance of quickly and quietly subduing the potential public relations nightmare. Just three years earlier, JPC’s New York headquarters had been picketed by Black women (and some men) who were upset with Ebony’s constant articles and ads on beauty tips, skin bleaching, and hair straightening.104 Humiliated by the public criticism, Johnson responded by publishing Phyl Garland’s cover story on “The Natural Look: New Mode for Negro Women” in June 1966. For Johnson, such protests served as a source of public embarrassment, because they made JPC appear to be out of step with its central constituency—African Americans. Desperate to maintain a positive reputation among the general public, Johnson once again sought to transform this oppositional constituency into new JPC supporters. At the same time, he conceded to most of the Chicago protesters’ demands, because they were not radical enough to negatively impact his profit margins or damage his business relationships with corporate sponsors. Since the Chicago protest was organized, as one demonstrator put it, “out of love and not malice,” many of the demands could easily be implemented (or co-opted) to the benefit of JPC.105 First, the protesters’ demand for Black models in ads to appear in JPC publications perfectly aligned with Johnson’s own private ambitions of expansion in the fashion and modeling industries. This demand on behalf of the protesters could only help Johnson leverage a broader clientele among the major corporations that desperately needed to adjust their marketing campaigns in a rapidly desegregating marketplace. When major marketers needed Black models for their ads, Johnson was positioned to accommodate them for a modest fee. Second, promotional change in JPC’s distribution of Negro Digest also aligned with Johnson’s financial interests. Since 1966—the same year the cry for “Black Power” sparked a media firestorm—he had slowly but steadily increased the total number of Negro Digest copies being printed and distributed to newsstands in order to meet a consistently growing demand. Between 1966 and 1967 the total number of copies printed monthly had increased three times over.106 By December 1969, JPC printed close to seventy thousand copies of the monthly magazine.107 The increase was three thousand more than the previous year and largely came as a result of a nearly five-thousand-unit increase in subscriptions. Though this was still a small fraction of the 1.2 million copies of Ebony that rolled off the press each month, Johnson framed the increased printing of Negro Digest as a goodwill gesture and sign of expanding company support.108 By January 1972, JPC’s printing of the small magazine reached its pinnacle, producing more than eighty thousand copies.109 Of course this also reflected Fuller’s brick-by-brick work of expanding the subscription base from less than five

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thousand to a peak of more than twenty thousand.110 Ultimately it was neither the call for Black models nor increased printing and distribution that had the most immediate implications; instead it was the dispute over the use of the word “Negro.” If the word “Negro” was to be dropped from all JPC publications, as the protesters stipulated, it would require not only a shift in all of the writing featured in JPC’s respective magazines but also the renaming of Negro Digest. Aside from the call for increased company support for the magazine, the need for a new name was the central point of contention for Fuller and one of his primary reasons for organizing the protest. To the surprise of Fuller and his supportive band of protesters, Johnson agreed to drop “Negro” from all of his publications. After December 1969 the word “Negro” appeared only in direct quotes or in advertisements for previously existing merchandise. In many ways the changing political climate had already prepared Johnson for what had to feel like a necessary and inescapable change. The end of the civil rights movement and the call for “Black Power” had effectively renewed old criticisms of the word “Negro.”111 By November 1967, Johnson could no longer feign ignorance, because his own magazine Ebony had featured “What’s in a Name?: Negro vs. Afro-American vs. Black,” by veteran staffer Lerone Bennett.112 Moreover, even if Johnson opposed the shift in language, the hiring of new, younger staff writers—such as Garland, Llorens, and, later, Peter Bailey, who originally worked in the JPC mailroom in New York City after serving as a close confidante of Malcolm X—made it hard for him to resist change.113 The addition of new staff members who embraced the politics of Black Power meant the use of the word “Negro” was already on the decline in the periodicals. Based on their own experiences in the movement, new, younger writers had already started to alter the political tone of JPC’s periodicals while effectively opening Johnson up to the language and temperament of the changing times. Nevertheless, Fuller and his allies pushed the issue through community protest, drawing a hard line and effectively eliminating the use of the word altogether. On December 30, within days of the protest, Fuller responded to Johnson’s request to send him suggestions for a new magazine moniker. Through an interoffice memo Fuller put forth several suggestions: the Black Star, taken from Marcus Garvey’s shipping line; the North Star, named after Frederick Douglass’s antislavery paper and the noted celestial body used by absconding Africans in search of freedom in North America; Russwurm’s Journal and Freedom’s Journal, which referenced one of the founders of the African American press, John Russwurm, and his respective newspaper.114 Fuller also

46  .  chap ter 1 proposed the Sojourner, JPC Journal, Together, the Guardian, New Africa, and Black World as possible titles, with Johnson agreeing to the latter. Just months after the protest, Fuller announced the magazine’s new name and the May 1970 date when the change would take place. While renaming the magazine cost Johnson minimal monetary or emotional strain, it amounted to an important, small-scale victory for Fuller inside the corporate offices of JPC. In addition, it symbolized what many understood to be a major shift in both the center of gravity in African American counterpublic culture and African American self-awareness. More than just a simple name change, this was an affirmation of a blossoming Black self-awareness, the potency of Black Power in African American counterpublic culture, and the decline of an older guard’s control over African American political discourse. For Fuller and other African American activists in the 1960s, this notion of “Black” was an intervention in the nation’s racial politics and discourses within African American counterpublic culture. “Black” emerged as a way to register a critical distance from “Negro politics,” which were understood to be made up of integrationist aspirations, a commitment to nonviolence, embodied genteel politics, critical patriotism, and, ultimately, a devotion to the US nation-state. In Fuller’s estimation, Negro politics served as the dominant political project among African Americans to emerge out of the civil rights movement and by far the most legible to the US political establishment of the early 1960s. As an alternative, to identify as “Black” within the context of the 1960s meant that one was willing to question the aims of integration and remain open to various Black nationalist articulations of self-determination. It also meant that one respected and applauded efforts at self-defense, armed resistance, and outright revolution as they emerged across Africa and within the broader diaspora. At the same time, respect was garnered first and foremost through self-respect and commitment to the struggle for Black liberation, not from proper public comportment or anxiety over a white gaze. Apparent love of oneself, one’s heritage, and one’s racial affinity group became the locus of respect, not recognition by the larger white society (or the Negroes most lauded by white society). Finally, to be Black also meant one was willing to question the very foundation of America, its myth of exceptionalism, guise of meritocracy, posturing about the Protestant work ethic, and even its very need to exist and persist in the world. To be Black was to puncture America’s myths and highlight the distance between the country’s claims and its actions. Within the context of JPC, the rebranding of Negro Digest as Black World also suggested a rejection of Johnson’s vision of African America. The new

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name represented a counter-politics in an intraracial conversation. Although Johnson continued to profit from the magazine, the new name challenged his central desire to see African Americans primarily as American consumers and instead sought to reimagine them as transnational freedom fighters. The latter half of the new name purposefully transcended what Fuller believed to be Johnson’s narrow US-centered outlook. Here was Fuller finally getting Johnson to reckon with a Pan-African vision of the world. JPC publications could no longer narrowly focus on Americans of a darker hue or African Americans’ intermittent excursions to other parts of the globe. The title Black World conveyed fundamental interconnections between people of African descent scattered across continents through complex historical circumstances. The new name also signaled a break from the dominant historical narrative reproduced in JPC magazines up to that point, which began with the enslavement of Africans before winding through the transatlantic slave trade’s creation of a tabula rasa, only to end with the production of the American Negro and his contributions to the country. Fuller’s formulation of a “Black World” constituted an alternative history that stretched back long before the slave trade, persisted through dispersal and chattel slavery, and remained attentive to Africa as a persistent cultural, intellectual, and political presence and player in the modern world, alongside the African diaspora.115 More than anything, the name change from Negro Digest to Black World highlighted an important yet gradual epistemological shift—which began with Fuller’s rehiring in 1961—in the way JPC’s periodicals had historically conceived of and depicted both the African American experience and the experiences of Blacks in the larger world. It is unclear whether Fuller understood the adoption of the new title as evidence of Johnson’s finally coming to grips with the emergent Black Power politics and its historical implications. What is evident, however, is that Johnson was willing to make certain concessions and adopt the language and symbolism of Black Power as it gained popularity in the mid- to late 1960s, because, as Earl Ofari Hutchison later noted, “the emergence of black pride and consciousness on the part of many in black communities has given the black elite more and varied opportunities to profit from these new developments.”116 “Black consciousness,” for Johnson, had emerged as a viable and profitable commodity. Even as his understanding of what it meant to be African American changed based on his relationship with the editors and writers working around him, the mutuality of his politics and economic objectives for the most part remained intact. In order to maintain his wealth and the well-being of JPC, Johnson remained focused on selling as many

48  .  chap ter 1 magazines as possible, no matter what racial climate emerged. This incessant goal demanded a constant negotiation between his own beliefs, those of his staff, the temperament of an ever changing African American consumer base and predominantly white, profit-driven corporate sponsors. Since Johnson restricted Fuller from soliciting ads for Negro Digest, the name change had little impact on JPC’s advertising relationships. Johnson likely understood the new moniker as a matter of simply appealing to the magazine’s readership, whose desires were made evident through patronage and, now, protest. In the grand scheme of JPC, it was a minor concession with minimal risk. For readers, however, it was understood to be both substantive and symbolic of the times. Most importantly for Fuller, the change was accompanied by increased staff support and an upswing in reader interests.

Selling Black World By 1970 the Black Arts movement was in full swing. Not only would the decade open with “Black” serving as the dominant designation to be used in reference to African Americans, but it would also serve as the peak years of the newly rebranded Black World magazine. In a final concession to the pro-Black/anti-Negro protesters, Johnson granted Fuller the resources to hire Carole Parks as his new associate editor. Over the next six years, Parks would grow to become Fuller’s most trusted colleague, with him describing her as “one of the brightest and most talented members of the JPC Editorial Department.”117 To the great delight of Johnson, the two editors worked together to drive Black World’s circulation figures up to over eighty thousand copies—the highest numbers of Fuller’s tenure. However, Fuller and Parks’s efforts to solidify Black World’s position as the premier movement magazine would also harden the existing political divisions with Johnson. Even as all three parties remained united in their desire to promote and market “Blackness” as the new racial mode of the day, divergences in political intent would ultimately give way to vastly different understandings. Unbeknownst to Fuller and Parks at the time, their ability to successfully increase the sales of Black World also illustrated the marketability of Black identity. By the middle of the decade, as the respective Black Arts and Black Power movements began to wane, Johnson’s market-based agenda would ultimately refashion Black identity, draining it of its initial political content and transformative raison d’être. In the end, it was the marketability and mutability of Black identity (and its cultural representations) that Fuller failed to take into account when he was first searching for an associate editor in the opening months of the decade.

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Carole Parks, who started as associate editor of Black World in 1970, became one of Fuller’s closest allies and most consistent supporters. (Hoyt William Fuller Collection, box 60, folder 21, Atlanta University Center, Robert W. Woodruff Library)

Fuller first met Carole Parks in New York City while attending a conference at Columbia University. First brought to his attention by a mutual friend, Parks made an immediate impression on Fuller, swapping stories about the publishing industry and the state of Black America. During their initial conversation Fuller learned that Parks had completed successful stints at Esquire and Doubleday, two top-tier outfits in the publishing industry. Fuller was likely impressed by the fact that even with Parks’s remarkable résumé, she still longed for the opportunity to join a first-rate African American periodical that covered serious political issues. He lobbied Johnson to bring Parks in for a job interview. Johnson obliged by interviewing her in July 1970. Impressed with her experience and seriousness, Johnson extended an offer the following week. She accepted the offer, which also granted her the opportunity to move closer to her parents in Chicago. The following month Parks arrived amid company rumors that Johnson was planning to place Black World on the chopping block. Astounded by the gossip, Parks shrugged it off and plunged herself into her work. When she first reported to the new assignment, she had no idea that she was about to embark on a journey that would unite her and Fuller for the next eight years.

50  .  chap ter 1 Parks’s tenure further elucidate some of the ongoing employment challenges that persisted within JPC even after Johnson embraced the “new Black consciousness.” For example, between Fuller and Johnson it was understood that Parks was filling the assistant editor position left vacant by David Llorens, who had departed JPC to direct Washington University’s Department of Black Studies.118 However, when Parks was selected to fill the position, Johnson granted her the title of “associate editor.” Though the workload and responsibilities were identical, Johnson dusted off an old job title that previously had been occupied by Doris Saunders. This meant the title “associate editor” was reserved solely for women working on the magazine and “assistant editor” for men, a variance that, at the outset, may have gone unnoticed by Black World’s editorial team. More to the point, this fine distinction spoke to subtle yet meaningful differences in the way Johnson organized JPC along gendered lines. As a woman employed at JPC in the 1970s, Parks was granted a subsidiary title and lower salary than a man with comparative, and arguably less, experience who was hired to edit the same magazine. Although this was typical of the American workforce at the time, it is unclear whether Fuller understood it as gender discrimination. Nonetheless, he persistently badgered Johnson about granting Parks the correct job title and increasing her salary.119 In one supportive interoffice memo, he wrote, “Miss Parks is one of the ablest and most conscientious of the young editors and writers working in the field . . . and [she is] a credit to JPC.”120 Still, Johnson remained prone to dragging his feet on financial issues, usually granting Parks a small but tardy pay raise. It would take him even longer to change her job title, eventually granting her the position of “managing editor” as late as July 1975.121 Resulting from more than just Fuller’s support, Parks’s belated promotion to “managing editor” came largely because of her unquestionable editorial abilities. Not only did she come with high expertise, but she also had a knack for learning new skills. She thrived in whatever role she was given, quickly learning the details of the magazine and the JPC work environment. In his communications with Johnson, Fuller would boast about her tremendous contributions.122 One of the major factors that led to Fuller’s deep admiration for Parks was her ability to keep Black World on track in his absence. Her steady hand granted Fuller the opportunity to spend significant time away organizing the Second World Festival of Black and African Art and Culture (FESTAC), in Lagos, Nigeria. Still, Johnson was slow to acknowledge Parks’s work. More compounded than straightforward gender discrimination, Johnson’s delayed recognition of Parks reflected the owner’s general outlook toward the majority of his employees and his neglect of Black World.

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Around the same time as the hiring of Parks, Johnson made good on his promise to promote Black World through the placement of advertisements in the pages of Ebony. Between 1961 and 1969, ads for Negro Digest appeared sporadically. Initially the Negro Digest advertisements appeared far more frequently as a way to help stir up a new subscription base for the rekindled periodical. As the decade rolled along, these ads grew far less frequent, with fewer than twenty appearing between 1965 and 1969. Then after Negro Digest became Black World, Johnson redoubled the placement of new advertisements for the journal in the pages of Ebony. In these new advertisements Fuller and Parks began referring to Black World as “the Magazine of the Black Consciousness Movement.” One of the ads pictured a young African American man sporting a dashiki and an Afro hairstyle while gripping a carbine. The advertisement asked, “Wouldn’t he look better with Black World in his hand?”123 It was without question Black World’s most incendiary advertisement, appearing in the October 1970 volume of the company’s best-selling magazine. While clearly meant to capture the Black Power element of the African American counterpublic, the ad still contributed to the larger effort to sell Johnson’s magazines. Coincidently, that same year Johnson adopted the signature Black

Conscious of the opportunity to transform the popularity of 1960s Black nationalism into economic opportunity, John Johnson demonstrates his willingness to embrace the latest Black print commodities. (Hoyt William Fuller Collection, box 59, folder 20, Atlanta University Center, Robert W. Woodruff Library)

52  .  chap ter 1 Arts movement phrase, “Black is Beautiful,” in a semi-pornographic promotional advertisement for Jet’s new pin-up calendar.124 Together the two ads illustrated the steady incorporation of the symbols and language of the new Black consciousness across all JPC’s periodicals; it also reflected the fact that Black identity had indeed become a market commodity.125 After 1970 Johnson paid little attention to Fuller’s and Parks’s work within the pages of Black World. As a result of Johnson’s indifference, Parks remembered feeling as if she and Fuller had a little world unto themselves within the walls of JPC. Both editors used Johnson’s neglect as an opportunity to further depart from JPC’s metanarrative and publish writing that reflected their own politics. In an interview years later, Parks would recall, “We could do whatever we wanted. We did what all of the other [JPC] publications couldn’t.”126 No longer the little magazine that jump-started Johnson’s company, Black World had taken on a life of its own. Long gone were the days of simple reprints; the JPC trademarks of celebrities, sexcapades, and sensationalism were also conspicuously absent. Black World had morphed into something completely distinct from all other Johnson publications. The little intellectual journal no longer regurgitated discussions from other magazines; it now set the trends. It was creative, hard-hitting, politically polarizing, and outright opposed to JPC’s bourgeois tales of Negro life.127 From 1970 to 1976 Fuller and Parks maintained significant, if not unilateral, control over the magazine’s content. Even though Johnson still presided over the larger company, Fuller had successfully remade Black World. The shift in the content and name change would ultimately set the course for the magazine’s final dissolution. Nevertheless, for a brief six years, Fuller, Parks, and Johnson remained strange bedfellows in their efforts to sell Black World. The history of Negro Digest—its death, rebirth, and its transformation into Black World—doubles as a story about intraracial politics, African American print culture, and the symbiotic relationship between counterpublic discourses and social movements. At the center of the story of the periodical and the company that published it lies a critical debate about what it meant to be African American in the second half of the twentieth century. Moreover, this debate resonated throughout African American print culture in the 1960s, much as it had done in earlier periods. Following in the same vein as antislavery newspapers and the journals of the Harlem Renaissance, Negro Digest/Black World, along with several smaller Black Arts and Black Power periodicals, helped foster a widespread social movement that had deep implications for African American self-awareness. In addition, periodicals like

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Negro Digest/Black World encouraged African Americans to rethink their relationship to white America, Africa, the African diaspora, and the broader world, challenging them to embrace self-determination and self-definition as necessary acts in a longer process of liberation. When “Black” finally displaced “Negro” in the middle of the 1960s, it made Fuller and Johnson an unusual pair in the marketing and promotion of Black identity, although their political beliefs remained at odds. While Fuller had to fight to get Johnson to embrace this specific metamorphosis in African American identity politics, the shift ultimately benefited JPC. Instead of resulting in the embrace of the transformative, Pan-African, nationalist politics that Fuller imagined in the pages of Negro Digest in the 1960s and in Black World in the 1970s, “Black” eventually became the standard reference to African Americans in all JPC periodicals. As the potency of the movement eroded over time, Johnson maintained control of all JPC publications and ultimately wrested the meaning of “Black” from Fuller and other nationalists. Unwilling to depart from his tried-and-true narratives—of sensationalism, celebrities, and sex—Johnson unintentionally used the pages of his magazines to remake the meaning of “Black,” disemboweling it of the political content that was initially intended. By the end of the 1970s, “Black” was no more radical than the use of the word “Negro” in the 1950s; it had become just another term of reference. Even worse, “Black” had become a useful marketing tool to salesmen interested in attracting African American consumers. While acting as a passionate advocate in 1969, Fuller had no idea that Johnson’s embrace of the new Black identity would also foster its subsequent depoliticization. This unexpected process implicated Black Arts and Black Power movement activists as the unintended, and ultimately expendable, vanguard in a much longer process to make both capital and its requisite marketplace more “racially inclusive,” “representationally diverse,” and purportedly more “socially conscious.” By making “Black” fashionable, Fuller and other Black Arts movement activists granted Johnson and his business associates, both African American and white, new opportunities to make a profit. In less than a decade and a half, “Black” had been transformed from a signifier of an oppositional politics marking a significant political break from “Negro politics” into a new means of marketing and profit making. By way of decree from economic powerbrokers, Black World, like other Black merchandise, had a place as long as it could be bought and sold. Fuller and other Black nationalists may have won an important battle of ideas, but the African American economic elite would ultimately win the war to manage Black America’s political future.

2 A Local Construction Site OBAC, Chicago, and the Black Aesthetic The Black Arts Movement is radically opposed to any concept of the artist that alienates him from his community. . . . The Black Arts and the Black Power concept both relate broadly to the Afro-American’s desire for self-determination and nationhood. —Larry Neal, “The Black Arts Movement” One can describe the ascendant class interests that have characterized Afro-America since World War II, forcing scholars, in one instance, to assess Afro-American expressive culture at a mass level and, in another instance, to engage in a kind of critical “professionalism” that seems contrary to mass interests. —Houston Baker, “Generational Shifts and the Recent Criticism of Afro-American Literature”

On a brisk Saturday in April 1972, more than thirteen hundred African Americans filled the Dunbar Auditorium on the predominantly Black South Side of Chicago, Illinois. Sporting everything from three-piece suits, Afros, dashikis, and Yoruba geles (head wraps) to army fatigues, leather jackets, boots, and black berets, attendees gathered to immerse themselves in an incredible night of poetry performances, theater, and live music. As Amiri Baraka, the doyen of the Black Arts movement, culminated the keynote address with a boisterous rendition of his popular poem “It’s Nation Time,” working-class Black Chicagoans excitedly took to their feet in rambunctious applause. Cheering in the audience were several local college professors; a handful of commuters from St. Louis, Indianapolis, and Detroit; and Mayor Richard Hatcher of Gary, Indiana.1 Almost doubling the attendance numbers for Baraka’s

56  .  chap ter 2 previous visit to Chicago in April 1968, those in the auditorium showed up for a variety of reasons.2 Some came simply for entertainment; others were there to learn. With most audience members believing that the Dunbar was the place to be on that night, an even smaller number of attendees were there on behalf of the state. Unbeknownst to most people packed in the auditorium, several informants and undercover officers from the Chicago Police Department’s notorious Red Squad sat discreetly among the crowd that evening. Another plainclothes officer stayed outside the venue to record the license plate numbers from organizers’ vehicles. Meanwhile, the disguised officers inside the building attempted to blend in, taking mental notes while doing their best to closely monitor the host organization and prominent attendees.3 The undercover policemen concealed any visible signs of anxiety or astonishment, as one emcee instructed the audience to “pat down the person next to you because he or she may be a stool pigeon.”4 In order to conceal their ulterior motives, the agents had to pay the small cover charge for entry like everyone else. And, like the rest of the audience in the Dunbar, they were cognizant of the fact that all proceeds went to the event hosts, who happened to be one of the country’s most renowned African American artist collectives, the Organization of Black American Culture (OBAC).5 Founded in 1966, OBAC started as the pipe dream of three friends—Hoyt Fuller, Conrad Kent Rivers, and Gerald McWorter (Abdul Alkalimat). Bound together by their love for Black Chicago, African American culture, and the desire for change, the three men set out to alter the ways African Americans in Chicago thought about art, power, and their city. In their effort to challenge the city’s established racial order and reorient Black Chicago’s relationship to artistic production, OBAC pioneered several community-centered projects that served as hallmark modes of artistic practice within the Black Arts movement. While helping to popularize the era’s burgeoning ideas, OBAC emerged as one of the most influential organizations both in the city and on the larger national Black Arts movement scene. In the process they also made Chicago an important epicenter of movement activity, attracting artists, activists, and intellectuals from around the world. At their peak, the organization would spark a national intellectual debate over their creative philosophy of a “black aesthetic,” effectively polarizing arts discourse as it related to African Americans. At the same time, OBAC’s growing popularity and raised national profile also generated a number of internal challenges. Prominent among these were intractable ideological and class contradictions, which were augmented by the tensions between budding career opportunities and

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individual professional aspirations and deep, sustained community engagement. With these complexities in mind, the subsequent pages of this chapter provide a history of OBAC while highlighting the central role Hoyt Fuller played as a founder, pivotal elder, intellectual linchpin, generational bridge figure, and the longest acting organizer of the OBAC Writers’ Workshop.

Generational Shifts, Intellectual Bridges, and a Dry Run in Detroit In his important essay “Generational Shifts and the Recent Criticism of AfroAmerican Literature,” Houston Baker outlined three competing paradigms or guiding assumptions that characterized the state of African American literature and criticism between the 1950s and the 1980s.6 The first was what he called “the poetics of integration,” which, in his assessment, served as the dominant critical perspective of African American literature during the 1950s and early 1960s.7 Some of the representative figures of this generation include Ralph Ellison, Robert Hayden, and Arthur Davis. Literary historian Lawrence Jackson further explicates this era in his deeply rich and complex study of African American literature and criticism between 1934 and 1960. Nevertheless, he echoes the point made by Baker, referring to African American writers of this period as “the indignant generation” and “the writers of the integration era.”8 According to Baker, the guiding assumption that unified this generation was the belief in the inevitable emergence of “a raceless, classless community of men and women living in perfect harmony.”9 However, the ideological assumptions of this generation would come under fire with the rise of Black nationalist politics—specifically, Black Power and the Black Arts movement. When thinking about the late 1960s and 1970s, Baker rightly characterized the Black Arts movement as an important generational shift in which young and emergent intellectuals forged an ideologically motivated movement that refuted the core beliefs of the previous generation and established a new framework for intellectual inquiry and creative activity.10 This new framework simultaneously privileged racial solidarity and community rootedness. Though far from hegemonic or homogeneous, the new framework would eventually be referred to by the catchall phrase “the black aesthetic”—a concept initially conceived of by Fuller in 1968, popularized by OBAC, and taken to its intellectual apex by professional African American critics like Stephen Henderson and Addison Gayle. Moved in no small part by Black Power, Black Arts movement activists publicly abhorred the integrationist impulses of the

58  .  chap ter 2 earlier generation.11 Instead, they wanted Black creative production to be assessed on its own terms and to the beneficial ends of African Americans in toto. For them, the quality of Black artistic production was measured by its resonance with, and impact on, a broad African American reading public and not by its universality or the critical praise of the “white literary establishment,” which was a phrase Fuller often used to refer to the constitution of mainstream book review editors, critics, literary agents, publishing outfits, and an array of white writers. In Fuller’s assessment, this establishment exercised greater power than Black writers, who often lacked the same access to symbolic and economic power in the art world and publishing industry.12 More to the point, black aestheticians abandoned the desire for “a raceless, classless community” and instead engendered a generational shift by organizing their notions of “community” and artistic practice around an explicitly Black nationalist racial politics. While Baker’s assessment offers a masterful account of intellectual shifts in the guiding assumptions of African American literary history over the course of the mid-twentieth century, it simultaneously omits vital points of continuity between generations. This is important not simply because it denies the ways subsequent generations draw from (and build upon) the work of those who preceded them but also because it fails to account for the important role played by “bridge figures,” whose work serves as a site of convergence between generations rather than divergence or rupture.13 As a key bridge figure straddling the eras of the indignant generation and the black aestheticians, Hoyt Fuller allows us to think about the rifts, shifts, and points of continuity that exist simultaneously between sequential generations. More than any other member, Hoyt Fuller was the principal driving force behind the formation and longevity of the OBAC Writers’ Workshop. However, parts of the ideational foundation for OBAC can be traced back several years before Fuller moved to Chicago and long before the Black Arts movement took shape. Before meeting his Black Arts coconspirators, Fuller’s experiences in Detroit laid the basis for his subsequent thinking around community engagement, art, and art criticism. Although the historical and political contexts were vastly different from the late 1960s, his years in Detroit during the early 1950s provided Fuller with workable models for organizing a civic-minded, artistic, and intellectual association. Fuller moved to Detroit from his hometown of Atlanta after a skirmish with an older white male commuter on a city bus almost led to his incarceration.14 In the Motor City he stayed with his aunt while attending Northern High School in the North End neighborhood. After graduation he successfully

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pursued a bachelor’s degree in literature and journalism at Wayne State University. While enrolled there, Fuller bounced around as a journalist, working for the Detroit Tribune and later the Michigan Chronicle. During his time at the Tribune, beginning in 1949, he came under the mentorship of a local African American activist, intellectual, part-time journalist, and “Negro history” enthusiast, Fred Hart Williams, who schooled him on the importance of African American history and public engagement.15 Through Williams, Fuller was introduced to the Association of Negro Life and History (ASNLH). Williams also brought him within the orbit of local civic, labor, and cultural organizations as well as important institutions in Detroit’s African American community.16 Williams not only opened up his home to Fuller, taking him under his wing and recruiting him to several local history projects, but he also provided Fuller with a model of mentorship that the editor later employed as the elder statesman of OBAC. Through Williams, Fuller was introduced to union organizers, musicians, visual artists, intellectuals, and local politicians. It was also through Williams that Fuller was pulled into the orbit of Detroit’s Contemporary Arts Group (CAG). Detroit’s CAG exemplified Baker’s characterization of the generation before the Black Arts movement. CAG started in 1950 as an educational group, “emphasizing freedom of thought and expression and making an honest effort to serve the people of this city (Detroit) along cultural channels.”17 Due in part to its educational mission and its interracial membership, the FBI believed CAG had communist ties.18 The year the organization was founded, the FBI and their informants classified CAG as a “communist front organization,” which was either founded by the Communist Party or “in the process of being created over from its original purpose.”19Consequently, the FBI kept records of the organization’s leadership and activity. In these files the FBI exhibited great anxiety over the group’s racial composition. According to the allegations of one FBI informant, CAG members “had been recruiting Negro members for this group and had made extravagant promises that white women were to be had as bed-mates provided Negroes came to meetings.”20 While likely exaggerated, the informant’s emphasis on the interracial composition of CAG’s membership aligns with Baker’s generational markers that characterized “the poetics of integration.” Although the historical record is scant, Fuller’s involvement with CAG can be traced back to as early as February 1953. That month, CAG hosted local events in honor of Carter G. Woodson’s Negro History Week. Fuller helped organize a “Negro History Week Art Exhibit” and spoke on a connected panel titled “Negro Participation in American Culture.”21 Though both

60  .  chap ter 2 events utilized a “contributionist approach” to African American history, the FBI characterized the events as communist activity due to the participation of Herbert Aptheker, a pioneering scholar of African American history and member of the Communist Party of the United States.22 The event resulted in the FBI opening a file on Fuller during the height of the McCarthy Red Scare. More important than the FBI’s assessment, however, was the public intellectual work that the event made clear for Fuller. CAG’s events illustrated the possibility of both organizing and participating in public events that focused solely on African American intellectual and artistic production. In addition, CAG showed Fuller the basic means of running a community-based, art-focused organization, as the group even published their own journal.23 Simply put, Fuller’s experiences with CAG served as dry run for the OBAC years, though the latter organization would dramatically break from the interracial politics of the Detroit group. The point here is not to deny the creativity or innovation of OBAC or to simply highlight the ways Fuller’s participation in intellectual circles in Detroit informed his years in Chicago. Instead, Fuller’s Detroit experiences make qualitatively plain how he broke with and simultaneously extended previous modes of artistic activism while in Chicago. By adopting and adding theoretical form to the literary nationalism of the 1960s, he made a dramatic break from the politics of interracial organizations like CAG, which embodied the earlier generation’s “poetics of integration” and desire for a “raceless, classless community.” At the same time, however, Fuller continued to embrace the older generation’s ideas of publicly engaged intellectual work and community-oriented artistic practice. The major difference—or, in Baker’s words, “the generational shift”—did not reside in the merging of public engagement, intellectual practice, and art criticism, which many understood to be a hallmark of the Black Arts movement. Instead, the shift occurred in the different ways “community” was imagined and, subsequently, intentionally organized. Whereas in the 1950s Fuller was a younger man in an organization of African Americans and whites who embraced integration and interracial understanding as a corrective to American racism and Jim Crow, a decade later he built an all-Black organization that embraced Black nationalism and self-determination as the ideal way forward for African Americans, particularly African American writers. Within the competing paradigms, racial autonomy changed from being an organizing impediment to becoming the central organizing principle of community. Nonetheless, the desire to organize for a broader public remained constant across generations. It was this organizing impetus that Fuller actively bridged from one

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generation to the next, drawing on his experiences with CAG and serving as a mentor to OBAC members, much like Fred Hart Williams had done for him in Detroit.

Chicago’s Committee for the Arts More than a decade after his time in Detroit, Hoyt Fuller’s Lake Meadows apartment at 3001 South Parkway Avenue, on Chicago’s South Side, would serve as the location for the initial meetings that led to the formation of OBAC. In the confines of his home, Fuller, Abdul Alkalimat, and Conrad Kent Rivers met regularly during the winter of 1966, reading books, debating concepts, exchanging ideas, and sketching plans for the Committee for the Arts, which was the precursor to OBAC. Alkalimat and other OBAC members recall Fuller’s home as a unique and eye-opening intellectual space, complete with a first-rate personal library, a large collection of decorative mementos from his years of globetrotting, and a cosmopolitan assortment of cuisine that he frequently shared.24 Fuller’s hospitality and openness went a long way in shaping his cofounders’ intellectual curiosity and their belief that they were indeed embarking on something new and exciting. While it is unclear how Fuller and Rivers first met, it is evident that the two men shared a deep passion for African American art and culture. Rivers, who was ten years younger than Fuller, was born in Atlantic City, New Jersey.25 He graduated from Wilberforce University in Ohio before going on to study at Chicago Teachers College and Indiana University. He also worked as a high school instructor of African American history and English in Chicago. Described by many as incredibly intelligent and outgoing, Rivers built a local reputation through his “To Make a Poet Black” evenings of poetry and live music in the city.26 Eager to make a name for himself as a writer, Rivers published “a thin volume of verse” as early as 1962 called These Black Bodies and This Sunburnt Face.27 By the summer of the following year, he had agreed to produce a follow-up volume of poetry for Paul Breman’s Heritage Press poetry series.28 The aspiring writer also established Kent Conrad and Associates, a promotional and publicity firm that handled tour schedules and itineraries for nationally renowned African American artists visiting Chicago.29 A youthful and energetic mainstay in Chicago’s budding African American artistic scene in the early 1960s, Rivers was somewhat ahead of his time, yet he no doubt sensed the coming of a vibrant local Black Arts movement. Rivers also served as the link between Fuller and Alkalimat, who was the youngest of the three men. Alkalimat recalls a chance meeting on the bus

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Conrad Kent Rivers, one of the three founders of OBAC. (Hoyt William Fuller Collection, box 60, folder 25, Atlanta University Center, Robert W. Woodruff Library)

that led to his friendship with Rivers. A native of Chicago, Alkalimat grew up in the Cabrini Homes public housing project before moving to the city’s West Side. After graduating high school, Alkalimat attended Ottawa University in Kansas, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology. It was during this time, while home on break, that he first met Rivers. According to Alkalimat, he was on the bus reading anthropologist Ashley Montagu’s The Natural Superiority of Women when Rivers looked at him and said jokingly, “I know her.” A natural conversation sparked up, and the two men found they were both headed to the post office to work the same shift. After that first day the two men kept in touch, and Alkalimat remembers Rivers providing him with an intensive reading list on African American literature, which he eventually completed.30 Once he returned to Chicago, Alkalimat got involved in the budding civil rights movement, eventually serving as the head of the Chicago Area Friends of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee.31 His activist outlook and organizing impulse would remain with him as his friendship and intellectual exchanges continued with Rivers, who eventually introduced him to the editor of Negro Digest. During a winter of periodic meetings in Fuller’s apartment, the three men concluded that their private conversations were incomplete if not transformed into public action. Believing that African Americans in Chicago

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suffered from “political and economic colonialism,” they decided that art would be their weapon of choice to “touch the masses.”32 According to Fuller, “The trio envisioned the arts as the means by which the people might be reached . . . [because] art—unlike politics—was beyond the corrupting power of the entrenched coalition of the White Establishment and the Self-Satisfied Black Bourgeoisie.”33 Focused on “the morale and consciousness of the masses,” the three men posited a Black cultural nationalist notion of artistic activism that deemed ideational transformation as a necessary precursor to revolution. According to Fuller, their objective “was primarily political; art for the sake of Black empowerment.”34 In their effort to build black power, the three men formed the Committee for the Arts (CFA) and hosted their first event in February 1967.35 On Sunday, February 19, Margaret Burroughs, one of two important institutional matriarchs of Chicago’s African American community, allowed the CFA to host their initial public gathering, titled, “Our Images: Inside the Black Metropolis: The Black Artist Looks at His Life in the Ghetto,” at the South Side Community Arts Center. Riffing off St. Clair Drake and Horace Cayton’s masterful study of Chicago—Black Metropolis: A Study of Negro Life in a Northern City—the event was reminiscent of Fuller’s earlier activity in Detroit with CAG, sans the interracial target audience and integrationist agenda.36 Due in no small part to Fuller’s existing network, the event incorporated an elder guard of African American artists who had made their mark in previous eras. The two poets on the program were Arna Bontemps and Margaret Danner. Serving at the time as a visiting professor at the Circle Campus of the University of Illinois, Bontemps’s career stretched back to the 1920s, when he moved to New York City, published, and won poetry prizes from important journals of the Harlem Renaissance.37 During the heady Popular Front days of the 1930s, Bontemps found himself in Chicago among the likes of Richard Wright, Margaret Walker, and other Black literary figures. In Fuller’s assessment, Bontemps embodied “a virtual history of Black literature on the hoof.”38 Though Danner’s career did not stretch back as far as Bontemps’s, her participation was important for different reasons. Danner came of age in Chicago and honed her writing skills alongside Burroughs and Gwendolyn Brooks during the 1930s and 1940s in the same building that played host to CFA’s inaugural event.39 Her first book of poems, Impressions of African Art Forms, was released in 1960, and she would go on to be very productive over the course of the decade. Danner’s old Detroit friend Fuller coordinated her participation in the event. At the same time, of the three men, Fuller had

64  .  chap ter 2 the strongest relationship with Burroughs, who headed the South Side Community Arts Center, and Danner’s participation likely solidified her willingness to grant the CFA space. In an interview, Alkalimat recalled Burroughs’s ambivalence toward the CFA, and later OBAC and the Black Arts movement in general, describing it as a “love/hate relationship.”40 Burroughs shared this outlook with Danner, who would count the 1960s as some of her most productive years but never fully embrace the movement’s assertive nationalist politics. In the buildup to the event and immediately thereafter, neither of the two women could conceptualize that they were witnessing the creation of one of the decade’s most influential African American artist collectives. However, since the CFA was looking back and providing an outlet for elder artists, both Danner and Burroughs supported the upstart group, allying themselves with Fuller and other OBAC members on several occasions and, in Burroughs’s case, generally tolerating subsequent Black Arts movement activity in the city. The final artist scheduled to perform that night was Terry Callier, an upand-coming balladeer affectionately known around the neighborhood as “T. C., the True Christ.” Callier grew up in the same Cabrini Homes as Alkalimat. Interested in music at a young age, Callier had sung in doo-wop groups as early as age twelve, carrying this interest with him all the way through college.41 Like so many artists of the Black Arts movement, he came under the spell of John Coltrane, who, among others, provided inspiration for the writing and recording of Callier’s first full-length album, The New Folk Sound, in 1965. An unfortunate industry mishap resulted in the album’s late release in 1968, three years after its initial recording and a year after CFA’s first event.42 Nonetheless, Callier would remain a mainstay in the orbit of CFA and later OBAC, frequently performing at events, donating money, and lending support as his career blossomed.43 Callier represented a younger, emergent guard of African American artists in Chicago, and his participation in the CFA’s initial event symbolized the committee’s desire to not only look back and recover a tradition but also look forward to artistic horizons. In addition, the combination of music and poetry—which Rivers had previously brought together with his “To Make a Poet Black” events—signaled what later morphed into a standard fusion of multimedia artistry, characteristic of the Black Arts movement. CFA’s event provided Chicago a glimpse of what was to come. Held at an important institution in the heart of a predominantly African American neighborhood, and explicitly organized by African Americans, whose main target audience consisted of members from their same spatial and racial

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community, the event would serve as a successful blueprint for OBAC’s subsequent efforts and Black Arts practice in the city. Reflective of the three organizers, the event (as well as the committee and subsequent organization) was an amalgamation of artistic appreciation, intellectual engagement, and career aspirations, fused with a Black nationalist politics that pivoted on a culturally focused public agenda, à la Harold Cruse’s Crisis of the Negro Intellectual.44 It was complex, innovative, and contradictory, all at the same time, and comprised at least three constituent parts—social activism, literary careerism, and popular intellectual engagement—that each, over time, required its own particular skill set, detailed attentiveness, and specific time commitment. In addition, it evinced an important attempt to bridge the past and present while highlighting a long and vibrant tradition of African American creativity that was national in nature yet simultaneously rooted in Chicago. Even as the CFA expanded, changed its name, and later became somewhat of a revolving door for artists, this effort to bridge generations would remain a hallmark of Fuller’s work in the city. In fact, Alkalimat explicitly remembered Fuller’s patience and “willingness to open doors” serving as a major catalyst in the success of the group.45

From Committee to Organization Animated by the success of their first event, Fuller, Alkalimat, and Rivers felt it was time to expand. In a few months CFA’s triumvirate grew into a ten-man organization, with each of the founders pulling in additional members from their respective networks. The new recruits consisted of Black Chicagoans from various walks of life, including a local record store owner and lawyer named Ernest Duke McNeil; Joseph Simpson, a doctoral candidate studying psychopharmacology at the University of Chicago; Donald Smith, an African American educational activist and professor at the Center for Inner City Studies; George Ricks, who taught African American music; Bennett Johnson, a social worker and activist who later went on to establish Path Press, and Ronald Dunham, a printer.46 By far the most significant addition was Jeff Donaldson, a budding visual artist, Chicago native, and friend of Alkalimat. Donaldson would not only lead OBAC’s visual arts workshop through the creation and development of the Wall of Respect, but he would also later serve as a key founder of the spin-off African American visual artists collective Afri-COBRA.47 In joining CFA, Donaldson forged the beginning of a lasting relationship with Fuller and provided inspiration for the group’s name change.

66  .  chap ter 2 According to Ann Smith, who became an instrumental player in the organization by the fall of 1967, the ten men often met in her apartment, which she shared with Duke McNeil, her husband at the time. Smith recalls the “four plus one [apartment] building” also serving as a home for Arna Bontemps and Carolyn Rodgers, who later emerged as one of OBAC’s most celebrated writers.48 During a meeting in Smith’s apartment, Donaldson suggested the group call itself the Organization of Black American Culture, or OBAC. In a subsequent essay, Fuller explained that the men agreed to pronounce the acronym as “o-ba-see’ . . . to echo the Yoruba word oba, denoting royalty and leadership.”49 The explicit attempt to draw from West African culture evinced a growing interest in Pan-African history, culture, and politics among African Americans during the later 1960s. By the end of the 1970s, this interest would blossom into visits to multiple African countries by several OBAC members and collaboration on major international festivals. Seeing the Pan-African world as an important source for creative inspiration, politics, and an alternative identity formation for African Americans, OBAC members also believed the name reflected the group’s Black cultural nationalist ideology. In their assessment, African American culture—or, more precisely, “Black American culture”—was distinct from other American cultures, because it was rooted in an African past and conditioned by a set of specific historical experiences in a new world diasporic space. Ever conscious of points of continuity, rupture, and innovation between Africa and the diaspora, OBAC’s events represented explorations of “Black American culture” in its broadest sense. OBAC’s first event was held in the summer of 1967 at the Abraham Lincoln Center on the South Side of Chicago. It featured dancers, blues, gospel, and rhythm and blues singers; biographical vignettes of important historical figures in African American history; short lectures on visual art and music; and a poetry performance.50 OBAC members led the lectures and recruited an assortment of local artists to conduct the performances. Among the performers that night was a poet named David Moore (Amus Mor). Initially introduced to the men of OBAC through his good friend Alkalimat, Mor was the first OBAC poet to garner national attention, after Fuller reported on the event in Negro Digest.51 Alkalimat recalls Mor as a “rogue, proletarian artist” with exceptional creative ability.52 At the same time, he remembers Mor being a nonconformist who bounced between the houses of friends and family while eschewing social norms and Black bourgeois conventions.53 Mor was also a veracious reader and an incredible student of the poetic craft. Though lacking formal higher education, Mor spent significant time in the University of Chicago Library, gaining access through multiple professors on

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campus, who also happened to be his most consistent marijuana customers. There he would study writing from around the world and piece together a global consciousness that matched his deep knowledge of Black Chicago. Like Fuller and other OBAC members, Mor dived into the study of Black culture and relished the opportunity to further his intellectual interests in OBAC’s informal setting. Abandoning the idea of a committee and now understanding themselves as a full-fledged organization, OBAC initially adopted a guiding philosophy of “black experimentalism” to give direction to their activity. Though never fully defined, the idea obviously granted creative leeway to a broad range of ideas. As a concept, black experimentalism was vague enough to provide OBAC members with flexibility yet sharply focused on the experiences of people of African descent. By 1968 “black experimentalism” would be replaced by Fuller’s “black aesthetic” concept, which would eventually take on a life of its own. Nevertheless, at the outset OBAC would work under the broad umbrella of “black experimentalism,” funneling participants into three workshops and later adding a fourth. The writers’ workshop, the visual arts workshop, the community workshop, and the drama workshop, which was the last to form, served as the primary points of entry for new recruits. The community workshop featured regular speakers and was chaired by Joseph Simpson. It provided a space for South Side residents to intermingle with local activists and nationally renowned intellectuals in a casual setting. Through lectures and free-flowing discussions, the workshop fostered the dissemination and open exchange of ideas. In an effort to flesh out their organizational ideology, the workshop hosted Maulana Karenga in October 1967 and Baraka in April 1968.54 At the time, both men were considered to be central figures in the development of Black cultural nationalist politics and Black Arts theory.55 Their visits, along with a host of others, indicate OBAC’s position at the cutting edge of the country’s Black Arts activity. OBAC called these meetings “Rapping Black Sessions,” because they were specifically focused on thinking through the era’s emergent notions of Black identity. In fact, all of OBAC’s workshops incorporated this particular aim, but some also focused on honing specific artistic crafts. Jeff Donaldson led the visual arts workshop, which lasted a meteoric four months between June and September 1967. The first, and only, project undertaken by visual artists in the workshop was “the Wall of Respect,” a remarkable two-story mural at 43rd and Langley in the heart of Chicago’s South Side. Situated at the intersection of the neighborhood’s respective jazz and blues thoroughfares, “the Wall” was nestled among some of the most active music

68  .  chap ter 2 joints in Black Chicago.56 The production process for the mural galvanized residents, local storeowners, and members of the Black P. Stone Nation, a powerful African American youth gang in the city, to work together in their efforts to both beautify the neighborhood and establish youth-focused activities.57 The unveiling of the Wall brought out several hundred residents and subsequently served as a rallying place for community protests and aspiring Black elected officials.58 Local police also took note of the activity at the site, with the Red Squad police unit opening an investigation file on the Wall and several OBAC members.59 Fuller’s writings on the “Wall of Respect” in both Negro Digest and Ebony introduced the site to a national audience and helped to spark similar projects all across the country.60 Ironically, the Wall outlasted the workshop, as members disbanded over decisions made regarding the monument.61 Although brief, the workshop would spark a virtual renaissance in African American mural production and eventually give birth to Afri-COBRA, an internationally celebrated visual artist collective. Long after the visual arts workshop dissolved, Fuller and Donaldson remained close, cochairing the African American delegation to FESTAC and collaborating on several subsequent Black Arts events. After encouragement from Fuller—who believed that Chicago’s theater needed “a vital shot in the arm”—Ann Smith formed OBAC’s drama workshop.62 At the time, Smith, who had a graduate degree in speech and theater from the University of Iowa, taught classes at what was then Northeastern Illinois College. Her willingness to take on a bigger role had a lot to do with the involvement of her friends and husband in addition to her own interest in performance. In fact, she had already served as program director for OBAC’s first event at the Abraham Lincoln Center and was present at several of the early planning meetings.63 Assured that the organization was not meant to be all male, Smith organized several performances, including the Du Sable Festival of the Arts at Dunbar High School in November 1968 and several Black Arts plays in March 1969, including Marvin X’s Take Care of Business and Jimmy Garrett’s We Own the Night.64 The workshop also hosted Barbara Ann Teer of the National Black Theatre in Harlem during the spring of 1969.65 However, like the visual arts workshop, the drama workshop had a short life due to time constraints on the part of the mostly working-class actors and the development of two allied theater companies in Val Gray Ward’s Kuumba Workshop and Abena Brown’s ETA.66 Although the drama workshop had disbanded by 1970, Smith’s stewardship is important because she would be the only woman to lead an OBAC workshop during the organization’s most vibrant years.67 Subsequent to the drama workshop’s closing, Smith and Fuller remained very close friends, and she continued to lend her support to other OBAC efforts.

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Ann Smith serves as the mistress of ceremonies at an OBAC event, something she did on numerous occasions. (Hoyt William Fuller Collection, box 59, folder 35, Atlanta University Center, Robert W. Woodruff Library)

Although three of the four workshops lasted for only a brief period of time, they proved to be exciting and highly productive spaces, attracting all sorts of attention. All of the workshops and events were open to the public. With the exception of an implicit Black racial requirement, there were no stipulations on who could participate. Chicago residents showed their interest through sustained participation. Attendance numbers in the more technical workshops ranged anywhere from fifteen to twenty people. The community workshop and public events, which required less attention to craftsmanship, would draw anywhere from under twenty people to over a thousand, depending on the evening’s speakers, performance lineup or nature of the program.68 In fact, during the first two years, each public event was a collaborative effort between the respective workshops, with OBAC members encouraging participants and attendees to think across the four specified areas and find productive points of convergence. Secretly, the Red Squad of the Chicago Police Department also frequented OBAC events, opening files on members, guests, and even host venues.69 They also scoured the pages of the Chicago Defender, keeping track of the group’s activities and the public’s response. In less than a year, local police—in correspondence with FBI branches—identified OBAC as a potential problem. Regularly swapping

70  .  chap ter 2 intelligence reports, they believed OBAC’s foray into the cultural life of the South Side could prove to be a challenge to Chicago’s status quo.70 Quickly accumulating both friends and enemies, OBAC’s national notoriety would continue to grow with the success of the writers workshop.

The OBAC Writers’ Workshop The writers lasted longer than all other OBAC workshops, and they were by far the most active and pivotal in building the organization’s national reputation. The workshop produced some of the Black Arts movement’s most renowned writers and influential ideas. Led by Fuller—who remained OBAC’s chief expert on African American literature after Conrad Kent Rivers’s untimely passing in March 1968—the initial assembly of writers who met for the first time on the second floor of the South Side Community Arts Center in May 1967 was primarily made up of college students and recent graduates.71 This included Walter Bradford, a student at Woodrow Wilson Junior College around the time of the workshop’s formation. Bradford’s college classmates included two more founding members of the workshop: Donald Luther Lee (Haki Madhubuti), who was born in Arkansas and raised in Detroit before attending high school in Chicago, and Jewel C. Latimore (Johari Amini), a nontraditional student from Philadelphia who had moved to Chicago in 1940. Another founding member, Carolyn Rodgers, a Chicago native born to a factory-working mother and a welding father, had just left Roosevelt University.72 Ebon Dooley (born Leo Thomas Hale), a Tennessee native and graduate of Fisk University, was in New York as a Columbia Law School student and a volunteer for Harlem Youth Opportunities Unlimited when he first encountered members of the Chicago delegation at the Black Power Conference in Newark in July 1967.73 The chance meeting motivated Dooley to move to Chicago, where he joined the OBAC writers. Randson Boykin was a student at Loyola University when OBAC started. Also born in Chicago, Boykin was around nineteen when he joined the workshop as its youngest member. Other founding members included Kharlos Tucker (Sigmonde Wimberli), Ronda Davis, and Mike Cook. As the workshop’s director, Fuller sought to both mentor and instill a sense of racial pride, seriousness, and critical professionalism in workshop members. One younger person in Fuller’s orbit remembered, “What I received from . . . [Hoyt] as a younger person was the sense that I could be as confident and comfortable with myself, and as proud, as he was. And by proud, I don’t mean externally demonstrative behavior. It was so intuitive. . . . It was implicit in his person and in his views.”74 Fuller imparted the seriousness of

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studying, knowing, and writing within the long African American literary tradition. He emphasized racial commitment as an integral component of a Black artist’s critical practice and public engagement. Convening the first three Wednesdays of the month to discuss their craft, Fuller encouraged the group to reserve the fourth Wednesday as a closed planning session for the following month. In each open session, Fuller kept track of time as participants read and exchanged writing, offered constructive criticism, and, as their mission stated, “encourage[d] the highest quality of literary expression reflecting the Black experience.”75 According to scholar David Lionel Smith, who participated in the workshops, discussions revolved around a number of issues, including the craft of writing, the racial and economic politics of publishing, questions of audience, the challenges of being a Black writer in the 1960s and 1970s, and “managing one’s role as a public figure.”76 Within its first few years, the workshop claimed a growing body of literary works, proving it to be a highly productive space. Released in 1967, just before he joined OBAC, Madhubuti’s Think Black was the first in a rapid series of publications that included the wildly popular Black Pride and Don’t Cry, Scream. Publishing initially with Dudley Randall’s Broadside Press in Detroit, Madhubuti would convene fellow workshop members Amini and Rodgers to found Third World Press, appointing Fuller to the advisory board.77 The upstart outfit enhanced the workshop’s visibility and productivity by quickly publishing Amini’s Images in Black and Black Essence and Rodgers’s Songs of a Black Bird, the latter including an introduction written by Fuller. These works were followed by Sterling Plumpp’s collection of poems titled Portable Soul.78 A Mississippi native and recent graduate of Roosevelt University, Plumpp was working at the Chicago Main Post Office when he joined OBAC in 1969 after receiving verbal invitations from several participants and a formal letter from Fuller.79 The rapid proliferation of OBAC publications was further amplified by Fuller’s promotion and coverage of the writers’ activity in Negro Digest. Using the magazine as a national megaphone, Fuller cast the workshop as a cutting-edge, vibrant, creative environment and home to a new generation of important voices. He frequently published their writing and included OBAC writers in conversations with established and well-known authors. In addition, his assistant editor at Negro Digest, David Llorens, published a feature story titled “Black Don Lee” in Ebony magazine in 1969, effectively introducing both Madhubuti and OBAC to their largest African American reading audience up to that point.80 In just a few short years, the group could boast of tremendous accomplishments, and by 1972 the OBAC writers laid claim to more than twenty-five volumes published by members of the workshop.

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(L to R) Hoyt Fuller, Haki Madhubuti, and Sterling Plumpp stand together at an OBAC event. (Hoyt William Fuller Collection, box 59, folder 35, Atlanta University Center, Robert W. Woodruff Library)

The OBAC writers also contributed to a number of collective efforts that further raised the visibility of the workshop. In the winter of 1969 they released Nommo: The Journal of the OBAC Writers’ Workshop.81 Three subsequent volumes appeared sporadically between 1969 and 1972. The first volume is particularly important because it came as a result of the group receiving grants from the Illinois Sesquicentennial Commission, the Illinois Arts Council, and the Coordinating Council of Literary Magazines—a group that Fuller had publicly chastised a year earlier for its failure to consider little Black magazines as eligible recipients.82 The group also initiated the shortlived Cumbaya: A Newsletter of the OBAC Writers’ Workshop; like Nommo, it was also released intermittently.83 In order to produce the periodicals, Fuller leaned heavily on his connections at JPC while working closely with Dooley and newer workshop member Barbara Mahone, who was a twenty-four-yearold, Chicago-born author of a collection of poems published by Broadside Press in 1970 titled Sugarfields. OBAC writers also contributed to several of the period’s landmark anthologies, making themselves recognizable names

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in the field of poetry. However, the written word was not their only means of gaining notoriety. A major part of what led to OBAC’s popularity was the writers’ live performances and energetic public presence. The OBAC writers were extremely active. Locally they performed at bars, nightclubs, churches, festivals, theaters, and high schools.84 Often they performed as a collective, with Fuller providing introductory remarks. The band of poets would ascend on a given audience, radiating youthful energy and embodying the period’s trending aura of “Blackness.” Budding Black Arts institutions in the city also helped build the group’s reputation as Fuller and the poets hosted parties at Ellis’s Bookstore and were regularly featured in the lineup at the Affro Arts Theatre.85 OBAC writers also traveled the country performing at colleges and universities.86 On these trips they often converted aspiring, middle-class Negro students into would-be Black revolutionary poets. As with the rest of their activity, Fuller reported on their trips in Negro Digest. However, he omitted the fact that these events created a hierarchy in the workshop that privileged poetry above other written forms and, more specifically, poets with a more dynamic reading style, as opposed to those who were better at the craft of writing. In addition, he was silent about how his professional connections often led to the writers’ attaining these college invitations. With Fuller serving as the group’s gatekeeper, these gigs eventually blossomed into visiting professorships and artist-in-residence positions while also sparking bouts of jealousy and internal competition among workshop participants. Still, the workshop thrived. In June 1969 the writers’ workshop opened a headquarters in a modest storefront at 77 East Thirty-Fifth Street, just off Michigan Avenue.87 The new location provided the group with a sense of stability. They no longer had to shuttle back and forth between the South Side Community Arts Center, the DuSable Museum of African American History, and the George Cleveland Hall Branch of the Chicago Public Library. The headquarters allowed the group to establish a stronger presence in the local community, particularly in the historically African American neighborhood of Bronzeville and the contiguous extension in the Douglas neighborhood on the South Side. Now operating in plain sight, the workshop attracted curious pedestrians and commuters from the immediate area. Functioning in their own space, the group hosted book parties, forums, and other events without having to totally depend on other neighborhood institutions. In order to pay the bills, the writers cosponsored ticketed events, collected donations, and, at times, asked members to contribute. The more consistent workshop attendees shared

74  .  chap ter 2 the responsibilities of keeping the place clean and setting up and breaking down chairs for events, though Fuller often bristled when individuals failed to contribute to these tasks.88 Now firmly situated, the group established an informal library that was free and open to all participants and to the general public. Workshop members donated and collected books, journals, magazines, and any writing they could obtain on African Americans, Africa, the African diaspora, and the broader Third World. In September 1969, workshop members hosted a surprise birthday party for the workshop’s director and named the Hoyt Fuller Library in his honor.89 In little more than a year, the workshop had established institutional roots on Chicago’s South Side. The group’s growing reputation attracted traveling writers and intellectuals from around the country. Important African American writers visited, exchanging ideas and offering samples of their forthcoming works. For example, Toni Morrison visited in 1974, shortly after the release of Sula and The Black Book.90 Alex Haley came to the workshop, too, sharing portions of what would later be his 1976 magnum opus, Roots. Academics and aspiring critics also made their way to the workshop. Local University of Chicago professor of African American literature George Kent was a regular attendee. Another aspiring critic of African American literature, Addison Gayle, garnered ideas directly from Fuller and the workshop. The group’s vibrancy also translated into visits from celebrities, such as the South African singer Mariam Makeba, performer Sammy Davis Jr., and To Kill a Mockingbird star Brock Peters, with the latter two lending financial support as well.91 The dynamism of workshop members, the growing popularity of the workshop as a hotbed for artistic production, and the related institutions in the city—including Negro Digest—led Stephen Henderson, one of the major African American literary theorists of the period, to write to Fuller, “The center of the movement is not Harlem, nor San Francisco, but Chicago.”92

Internal Conflicts, Points of Contention, and Contested Ideologies Emerging within the context of a broader movement around Black Arts, Black Power, and Black Studies, Fuller’s ability to open doors to new institutional opportunities, combined with the talents of the group’s members, resulted in the workshop serving as both a launchpad for career advancement and an incubator for new ideas. Still, the workshop’s notoriety and relative success did not inhibit the development of a number of internal (and external) fissures. Conflicts surfaced among individual workshop members over ideology,

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racial and class politics, literary predilections, and career aspirations. As the leader of the workshop, Fuller was not always successful at relieving these tensions. In fact, in some instances he was responsible for their development, particularly because of the prominent role he played in shaping the group’s guiding philosophy, its posture toward the local community and members’ respective entrée into the literary profession, not to mention his ability to single-handedly jump-start careers. Fuller’s erudite, literary nationalist approach to African American letters would be best captured in his idea of a “black aesthetic.”93 Although it was never fully fleshed out, his “black aesthetic” provided the workshop with a basic framework and sense of purpose. Outside of the workshop space, Fuller first made use of the phrase in a writers’ survey featured in the January 1968 issue of Negro Digest.94 In the survey he asked participants if they “see any future at all for that school of black writers which seeks to establish a ‘black aesthetic’.”95 Around the same time, his landmark essay “Towards a Black Aesthetic” was making its way through the editorial channels of The Critic—a literary journal printed in Chicago—only to appear later that year.96 By July 1969, OBAC ads in Chicago’s Daily Defender would invite black writers “to explore the black aesthetic,” effectively displacing the group’s earlier references to “Black experimentalism” and “the Black experience” in previous ads.97 The adoption of the black aesthetic as the group’s guiding philosophy also created one of the first moments of discord. Amus Mor was among the group’s earliest participants and the first poet to perform at an OBAC event.98 During the early years of the Black Arts movement, Mor was seen as one of the most innovative and upcoming poets, due to his ingenious incorporation of jazz sounds into his poetry performances.99 By the end of the movement, his innovation would become a standard feature of Black Arts poetic practice, but very few credited him as the originator. With Mor among their initial ranks, the OBAC writers had already proven to be wildly creative. However, he did not stay with OBAC for long. Within the first year he strongly disagreed with the direction of the workshop and, in particular, the group’s decision to focus exclusively on Black writers. According to Alkalimat, Mor believed it was necessary to see the universal and the particular in all writing, and therefore OBAC should be studying the writings and ideas of artists from around the world, not just Black writers. From Mor’s perspective, workshop members used race, and, more specifically, Black identity, as a means to dismiss literature from people who were not of African descent; thus, they were shirking their duties as true students of the craft.100 Other workshop members supportive of Mor recall him being lambasted as being too Eurocentric.101

76  .  chap ter 2 Although his departure did not sever his personal relationships with several OBAC members, he would later refer to the group as a “cultural nationalist in-group.”102 The ideological distance between Fuller, early OBAC writers, and Mor would result in the latter’s absence in subsequent recollections about the workshop’s members. Mor’s criticism of OBAC speaks to the larger issue of preferential treatment within the group as it related to Fuller and the black aesthetic. Fuller’s prominent position as editor of Negro Digest created both pressure and unequal power relations among the group of aspiring writers. In hindsight some members concluded that Fuller had a tendency to promote those members of the workshop whom he felt best represented his literary ideals.103 Some believed this resulted in his publishing both the poetry and criticism of Madhubuti, Rodgers, and Amini more than the works of other workshop members. In addition, it created a sense of marginalization for those workshop writers who were borrowing from African American traditions that did not fit the “new, Black, urban” sensibility that was so wildly popular during the Black Arts movement. And even though Fuller granted space in Negro Digest for OBAC writers in this minority faction—such as Missouri-born James Cunningham, who questioned the Black cultural nationalism and central presuppositions of the Black Arts movement—some members felt they never received the editor’s full support.104 Even worse, some believed Fuller simply lacked good judgment when it came to the art of poetry and that his use of a vague notion of a black aesthetic was a means of maintaining his gatekeeper status.105 While feelings of partiality, self-promotion, and neglect occur naturally among individuals in all social organizations, their existence among OBAC writers is important to point out, because it often resulted in the departure of talented members, like Plumpp in 1972.106 Those who did articulate their differences before departing rarely held ill will toward the group. Nor did they completely sever their individual relationships with workshop members. This was partly due to Fuller’s willingness to accept differences of opinion and partly a result of the voluntary nature of the group. Most members truly felt they could come and go as they pleased. More importantly, they were convinced that they could articulate their differences with Fuller, genuinely be heard, and subsequently depart on amicable terms. Sam Greenlee was another casualty of dissension within the group. Born in Chicago to a performance artist and a union activist, Greenlee was older than most participants in the workshop and closest in age to Fuller. Before joining OBAC, Greenlee had graduated from the University of Wisconsin, spent time at the University of Chicago, and gained considerable international

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experience in the military. He had also spent significant time living in Greece, where he first began to write. Greenlee joined the writers of OBAC just as he was finishing his first novel, The Spook Who Sat by the Door, which was published in 1969, and beginning work on a collection of poems and a second novel, titled Baghdad Blues. In September 1970, workshop members decided Greenlee needed, in the words of OBAC’s Plumpp, “to be put on trial” and potentially expelled from the workshop, because he had a white wife.107 Within the racially polarized 1960s, some OBAC members believed Greenlee’s interracial relationship was a violation of Black (cultural) nationalist etiquette, which situated intimacy and love within the realm of racial power relations and cast the personal as truly political. According to the logic of this particular faction of the membership, Greenlee was sleeping with the enemy—or, as the saying went then, “talking Black but sleeping white.” While a similar argument would later resurface during the organizing efforts of the African Liberation Support Committee, this iteration of the attack also served as a smokescreen disguising certain members’ jealousy toward Greenlee, whose novel was being made into a full-length film. No doubt wary of how bedroom politics could also be turned against his own

OBAC member Sam Greenlee at the OBAC Writers’ Workshop. (Hoyt William Fuller Collection, box 59, folder 4, Atlanta University Center, Robert W. Woodruff Library)

78  .  chap ter 2 sexual relationships with men, Fuller verbally disagreed with the criticism levied at Greenlee. Although absent from the initial contentious meeting, he communicated his support of Greenlee at the subsequent workshop meeting and via personal correspondence.108 Nonetheless, the damage had been done. Greenlee departed from the group, even though he remained supportive from a distance, returning for reunions, donating to fund-raisers, and staying in contact with several members, including Fuller.109 As might be expected, there were African American writers in Chicago who despised both OBAC and Fuller. A perfect example is Ronald Fair, who believed he had been snubbed by the OBAC circle and, more specifically, Fuller. By the time OBAC took shape, Fair had published several essays and his first novel, Many Thousand Gone: An American Fable, in 1965. A child of African American migrants from Mississippi, the novelist had spent more than a decade as a reporter after a short stint in the navy. In letters to publisher Paul Breman, Fair openly voiced his criticisms of Fuller and OBAC, writing, “Here the don lees and the hoyt fullers and all those little insignificant shits around Chicago are doing the work of the racists by using the lowest common denominator as their standard of excellence.” Fair’s criticisms seemed to revolve around several issues, including artistic craftsmanship and not being acknowledged as one of the original minds behind OBAC’s formation. Although he technically was not one of the group’s founders, he was likely one of several men who had participated in early conversations with Fuller, Alkalimat, and Rivers when they sought to expand from a committee to an organization. Nevertheless, Fair concluded, “I am delighted that I am not being associated with what is now OBAC.” In addition, Fair feared OBAC members may condemn him for having a white wife or lambast him because he was “not black enough.” His most pronounced criticism focused on Fuller’s powerful gatekeeper status, which led Fair to note, “Many people . . . are finally realizing that fuller wants to be in charge of all blacks on the plantation. What he does not realize is that some of us left the plantation long ago. . . . I have to try to stop the fullers from ruining good minds.”110 Although it is unclear whether or not Fair’s disdain for Fuller was reciprocated, it is clear that the editor continued to publish Fair’s writings and make announcements about his activity in the pages of Negro Digest. OBAC’s cultural nationalist politics also drew the attention of several members of the Illinois branch of the Black Panther Party (BPP), including the group’s chairman, Fred Hampton. Conscious of the Panthers’ violent conflict with other Black cultural nationalist groups, such as the US Organization, Plumpp recalls Hampton and other BPP members making an unexpected

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visit to the workshop just months before Hampton’s assassination in 1969.111 BPP members aggressively questioned workshop participants about their reason for gathering and their larger aims in the community. Attempting to avoid unnecessary conflict, Fuller navigated the tension between the two groups. His response was that there was no need for animosity, because he was simply “organizing people to learn how to write.”112 Other workshop members recall Hampton later reading poetry at an OBAC meeting, thus hinting that the initial tension was now resolved between the two groups.113 Nevertheless, his visit shines a spotlight on how political and ideological differences within the Black Arts and Black Power movements also had bearing on the OBAC writers. The Panthers’ derision of cultural nationalism as “Pork chop nationalism”—which was a comical yet serious critique of an ideology they deemed to be backward, fanciful, and, in many ways, apolitical—often led to intense conflicts with rival organizations.114 Yet even as these political cleavages affected OBAC and the larger world of Chicago’s Black Arts counterpublic, they never metastasized into the kinds of violent turf wars that emerged on the West Coast or internecine confrontations in other regions. Ironically, the OBAC writers were less impacted by the Panthers than they were by another writers workshop in the city. Gwendolyn Brooks’s workshop served as another source of tension within OBAC’s circle of writers. Renowned long before the Black Arts movement took shape, she had garnered critical success with A Street in Bronzeville in 1945 and won a Pulitzer Prize for Annie Allen in 1949. Her longevity and reputation made Brooks one of two important institutional matriarchs of Chicago’s African American community, Margaret Burroughs being the other. Because Brooks was one of the most decorated African American authors living in the city, her opinion held significant sway, particularly among aspiring writers who were just learning the craft. She was very supportive of the organization from the outset, serving as a patron and a headliner at multiple events. However, when she organized her own writing workshop, some OBAC members felt that she was leading a counter effort.115 Unlike OBAC, which had an open policy for whomever wanted to join, Brooks’s workshop was much more exclusive or, in Carolyn Rodgers words, “elite.”116 Perhaps due to the fact that the workshop met in her home, Brooks restricted participation to those who met her approval. In addition, her very presence—as an elder Black woman—generated a level of politesse and decorum that escaped OBAC’s more public workshop. Participants in Brooks’s workshop felt the need to adhere to respectable African American middle-class conduct. With greater emphasis placed on the public comportment of a writer, attendees

80  .  chap ter 2 were not allowed to use offensive language or perform suggestive poems.117 OBAC’s participants in Brooks’s workshop—which included Madhubuti, Rodgers, Amini, Cook, Wimberli, Bradford, and Davis—acknowledged its tremendous impact on their development, but its exclusive nature irked those who were not invited. And although Brooks was well meaning, her quasicelebrity status as Illinois poet laureate between 1968 and 1970 further exacerbated feelings of inadequacy for young poets who were not welcomed in her home. For the most part, however, Fuller was successful at keeping the workshop’s internal conflicts to a minimum, although he was perhaps less effective at navigating the points of contention with other writers and organizations in the city. With both his elder status and prominent position as editor of Negro Digest granting him what one OBAC member referred to as “mythical status” among the OBAC writers, Fuller guided the workshop with a stern hand that many felt was beyond reproach.118 Reminiscing about the workshop’s trajectory in 1972, Fuller wrote, “The workshop was beset with all the routine and unavoidable threats which loom over any Black institution. . . . Some of the threats seem ludicrous: there were, for example, Blacks who resisted the idea of the uniqueness of the Black experience . . ., there were the disruptions by ‘writers’ carrying the banner for Jesus . . ., and there were the sick ones—lost, defiant, unteachable.”119 Yet even as OBAC confronted their fair share of challenges and continued to flourish, they still had to reckon with the changes taking place within the larger American society and how the country’s racial order affected both institutions of higher education and their beloved African American community.

Where Liberation Meets Incorporation Once an ideological discourse enters the public realm, control is lost, no matter how tightly an ideology is scripted by ideologues and activists. —Michael Dawson, Black Visions

“The black revolt is as palpable in letters as it is in the street,” wrote Fuller in the opening lines of “Towards a Black Aesthetic.”120 For Fuller and some, but certainly not all, of the OBAC writers, the black aesthetic was both a professional literary mission and a political project. As such, it was simultaneously attentive to the broad political issue of African American self-determination and the more specific professional interests revolving around African American artistic criticism and creative production. Fuller had merged the two at

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least as early as 1967 when he chaired a session at the Newark Black Power Conference titled “Black Power and the Black Professional.”121 These dual concerns—professional criticism and political insurgency—also meant that competing aims resided at the heart of the black aesthetic project and, by extension, the OBAC Writers’ Workshop. On the one hand, Fuller understood the black aesthetic as part and parcel of the grander push for Black liberation, which centered on African American communities exhibiting more control over their lives, and that included the art they produced. At the same time, Fuller’s project called for “the emergence of new black critics” who would, as he put it, “set in motion the long overdue assault against the restrictive assumptions of the white critics.”122 These bifurcated aims, more than the internal squabbles or external conflicts, had the most profound impact on the organization, shaping its composition, the trajectory of its membership, and, ultimately, its legacy. Over the course of the organization’s existence, OBAC members accepted positions at colleges and universities across the country. Within the larger organization, Abdul Alkalimat and Joseph Simpson were the first to leave. Simpson moved to New Haven to take a position at Yale University, but it was Alkalimat’s departure that had more of an impact. Accepting a sociology position at Fisk in 1969, Alkalimat left Chicago for Nashville and brought OBAC’s bifurcated agenda with him. At Fisk he founded the People’s College, which was a collective of intellectuals who eventually set up a five-week community education program in a Nashville student center. People’s College took on a more Marxist position while refining—and, some would argue, remaking—OBAC’s dual aims, which they eventually captured in the dialectical slogan “Study and struggle! Struggle and study!”123 Now firmly situated in the South, Alkalimat made recurring trips back to Chicago and OBAC.124 However, his leverage and influence in the group gradually atrophied as a result of his long absences. More to the point, with Alkalimat gone, the organization lost one of the main engines for community engagement and grassroots organizing. Alkalimat hoped that Ebon Dooley would keep the flames of his radical agenda burning. However, his departure, along with Simpson’s, led to the immediate collapse of the community workshop and a general whittling down of OBAC’s activist thrust. The breakdown of OBAC’s community and visual arts workshop resulted in the writers taking on more explicit efforts to engage residents in the surrounding neighborhood. This made sense due to the fact that several of the core members had come to the group by way of civil rights and Black Power organizing, including Plumpp, who had participated in the Congress of Racial

82  .  chap ter 2 Equality (CORE); Ebon Dooley, who had experience with the Civil Rights Research Council; and several other members who traversed the activist networks of Chicago’s civil rights and Black Power milieu. In January 1970 the writers introduced their monthly “Black Forum Series” to fill the void left by the community workshop. Initially Plumpp, Bradford, and other OBAC writers led participants in large public discussions of radical texts, including Frantz Fanon’s Black Skin, White Masks, Albert Memmi’s The Colonizer and the Colonized, and C.L.R. James’s A History of Pan African Revolt.125 Yet as time passed, these sessions were reorganized around traveling guest speakers and community activists from the surrounding area.126 That same year other OBAC members established a children’s story program at the Hall Branch Library.127 Then in 1971, Plumpp and Virginia Johnson, a local schoolteacher, organized an OBAC youth workshop, encouraging literacy, the craft of writing, and familiarity with the African American literary tradition.128 OBAC members also formed other initiatives and joined Black Power organizations. Two of these were Madhubuti, who was instrumental in the Chicago branch of Baraka’s Congress of Afrikan People (CAP), and Amini, who along with Madhubuti founded the Institute for Positive Education, an Africancentered education center, in 1969.129 Bradford served as another example, helping Gwendolyn Brooks pull together a writing workshop for members of the Blackstone Rangers, a notorious Chicago youth gang.130 Obviously, for OBAC members, community engagement was a compulsory component of the black aesthetic project and an essential feature of what it meant to be a Black writer. However, the organization’s emphasis on art was never pointed enough to pierce the realm of politics proper. At the same time, the allure of the academy profoundly shaped the group, pulling members away from the community-based organization and onto college campuses. With American institutions of higher education facing their own racial crises, colleges and universities scrambled to hire faculty members who could fulfill student demands to study topics on the African American experience.131 After 1968, university administrators scoured the country for individuals with working knowledge of Black topics and basic teaching skills. This desperate search made community-based artistic and intellectual organizations like OBAC breeding grounds for the recruitment of African American faculty. The very subject matter and content that they were engaging in was now being recognized as an integral component of the humanities and therefore vital to the country’s higher education curriculum. As the leader of the workshop, and the most prominently positioned in terms of his profession, Fuller again served as the elder statesman and gatekeeper

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between workshop members and university recruiters. In this role he entertained university requests by recommending OBAC members for jobs and writing letters of support. For Fuller, this effort coincided with one of the major goals of the black aesthetic project, which was to develop “new black critics.” Still, members’ willingness and ability to accept employment and short-term residencies at colleges and universities had the effect of turning OBAC and its writers’ workshop into a revolving door. Late in 1968 Fuller loaned Haki Madhubuti the money to purchase a Volkswagen Beetle, which he used to move to Cornell University.132 With Fuller’s recommendation, Madhubuti accepted a “Black Writer-in-Residence” position that opened as a result of Black student protests on the Cornell campus.133 There Madhubuti was joined by Michael Thelwell, a Jamaican-born SNCC activist, Howard University alum, and student of Sterling Brown; and Harry Edwards, who was a central advocate in bringing Black Power critiques to bear on American collegiate and professional sports.134 Reflecting on his first time interacting with the faculty of Cornell’s English department, Madhubuti recalled being surprised that he was the only person on the department’s faculty who had a real working knowledge of the depth and breadth of the African American literary tradition. Deeply impressed with his unique command of the subject matter, Cornell’s English department offered Madhubuti the opportunity to stay beyond his yearlong residency. However, the poet returned to Chicago, because he felt Ithaca was “too cold and too racist.”135 Still, this did not stop his old OBAC colleague James Cunningham from taking a position at Cornell the subsequent year.136 Nevertheless, Madhubuti’s return to Chicago as a poet-in-residence at Northwestern University enabled him to remain active in OBAC. He stayed for only a brief year before he packed his bags and headed to Howard University for another writer-in-residence position, which he occupied until 1978. While part of Howard University’s faculty, Madhubuti and his former OBAC colleague Jeff Donaldson made an unsuccessful attempt to recruit Fuller to run the college’s incredibly vibrant Institute for the Humanities in 1972. Although Fuller declined to join Madhubti at Howard, the two men remained close, with the latter going to great pains to stay involved with OBAC during frequent trips back and forth to Chicago.137 Carolyn Rodgers left OBAC in 1970 to take a teaching position at the University of Washington.138 Her departure seemed to take Fuller by surprise, and, even worse, it reflected her attempt to create intellectual and spiritual distance from the larger movement. Although her individual celebrity never reached the level of some other Black Arts writers, many believed that Rodgers was

84  .  chap ter 2 astonishingly skilled in the craft of writing. Of all the early OBAC writers, she was arguably the most critically acclaimed and deemed to have the most promising potential. In a few short years she had amassed the Poet Laureate Award of the Society of Midland Authors, the 1970 National Endowment for the Arts Award and Negro Digest’s inaugural Conrad Kent Rivers Award, which Fuller was glad to extend.139 While Fuller was affected by Rodgers’s departure, he was unable to see it as a sign of the changing times. He did, however, voice his displeasure with her decision to communicate with him through her newly hired literary agent, Marjorie Peters, interpreting it as a display of vulgar careerism.140 Nevertheless, the two continued to communicate as the University of Washington became the first in a number of teaching stops for Rodgers that, once pieced together, eventually led her back to Chicago but never again to the writers’ workshop. Some OBAC members attempted to straddle the “town and gown” divide by taking academic positions that allowed them to stay in Chicago and remain involved in the organization. In fact, Fuller accepted a visiting lectureship at Northwestern University in 1969 and used his time on campus to recruit

Hoyt Fuller presents OBAC member Carolyn Rodgers with her prize money for winning the Conrad Kent Rivers Memorial Award from Negro Digest. (Hoyt William Fuller Collection, box 58, folder 25, Atlanta University Center, Robert W. Woodruff Library)

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OBAC member Angela Jackson working the book table at an OBAC event. (Hoyt William Fuller Collection, box 57, folder 10, Atlanta University Center, Robert W. Woodruff Library)

Angela Jackson, a first-year student at the time, who would emerge as a passionate and steady voice in OBAC in the latter years.141 During the academic year of 1971–1972, Sterling Plumpp served as a lecturer in Black Studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago. This position would later transform into an instructor’s position and eventually a tenure-track assistant professorship. In 1984 Plumpp fondly recollected, “Fuller is the one who wrote the recommendation for me to get the job at the University of Illinois. He’s the one who wrote the recommendation for me to become an assistant professor.”142 By 1972 Johari Amini also held a position as a member of Kennedy-King Junior College’s social science faculty, likely made possible, in part, by a recommendation from Fuller.143 Amini would remain an active participant in the group until 1975, serving as treasurer during her entire tenure with the organization. Yet even as the local nature of their jobs allowed them to stay involved in OBAC activities to a greater extent than those who had left Chicago, the requirements of the professoriate still had an impact on the organization’s dynamics. By the middle of the 1970s, many of OBAC’s core members would reorient their lives around the demands of the professoriate and traditional careers in

86  .  chap ter 2 writing. The desire for Black liberation—which was integral to Fuller’s idea of a black aesthetic—had given way to the incorporation of racial aesthetics, racialized areas of study, and a demand for Black faculty on the American college campus.144 By effectively positioning OBAC members at colleges and universities across the country, Fuller and the writers’ workshop had fulfilled one of the goals of the black aesthetic: they had successfully birthed a new class of African American critics who were not only prolific in their creative writing and criticism but were also training a subsequent generation of students committed to the craft and now newly formed profession of African American literary and art criticism. In the professional world of American letters and criticism, they had arrived and were well positioned to proliferate the ranks of like-minded Black intellectuals. But of course this came at a cost. The trade-off was that as OBAC members moved into the university, they were simultaneously pressed to abandon the collective labors of deep and sustained local community engagement that was one-half of the black aesthetic project. While it is unproductive to weigh the respective career choices of OBAC members, it is important to consider how the professoriate and the writing profession constrained their time and ability to remain involved in deep community engagement. Both teaching and writing required detailed attention and cultivation of a particular assembly of people who were not identical to their initial (and immediate) audience on the South Side of Chicago. As college professors their daily interlocutors changed, as did the structuring of their respective time and their immediate, and perhaps even long-term, goals. Simply put, the professional obligations of teaching and writing careers limited their capacity. It also hindered their ability to foster power shifts within Chicago’s cultural scene and restricted their ability to nurture deep-rooted relationships that were based on altering the power dynamics of their neighborhood. These goals become even more difficult to achieve when academic opportunities and writing residencies lured OBAC members away from Chicago, their familiar locus of activity. The straddling of the town and gown divide became difficult, at best, untenable, at worst, whittling down the black aesthetic project to the point where the rhetoric of black liberation transmuted into wholesale academic incorporation and book sales for major (read, historically white) publishing outfits. Perhaps the most glaring example of OBAC’s incorporation, and one could argue its national influence, came in 1971 with the appearance of Doubleday Publishing Company’s edited volume The Black Aesthetic.145 Addison Gayle, an English professor at City University of New York (CUNY) and confidante

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of Fuller, who had attended several OBAC events, compiled the collection from older essays by African American authors, a few new contributors, and a handful of works published in Negro Digest.146 Although Gayle was never a member of OBAC, he had proven to be both an ambitious literary critic and a productive anthologist, publishing a string of collections prior to 1971. Describing him as “one of the few contemporary writers who wins approval of both the revolutionary and the conservative wings of the black literary world,” Fuller supported Gayle and his career by granting him space in Negro Digest on several occasions.147 Ironically, one of Gayle’s earliest appearances in the magazine was in a writer’s forum where Fuller assessed, “Mr. Gayle does not see any future at all for that school of black writers which seeks to establish ‘the black aesthetic.’” Yet three short years later, Gayle’s Black Aesthetic anthology had emerged as the scholarly touchstone for the concept. Aside from the inclusion of Fuller’s original essay, there was no mention of the concept’s humble origins on Chicago’s South Side. Although well aware of it, Gayle never alluded to the fact that the idea actually traced back to the confines of the OBAC Writers’ Workshop and Fuller’s participation in the larger milieu of Chicago’s Black Arts movement. Over time, the national sway of Doubleday’s promotional machine would result in Gayle’s being incorrectly remembered as the mastermind of the concept, not Fuller or the OBAC writers.148 More to the point, Doubleday’s decision to publish the anthology exemplified the fact that once marginal ideas about Black culture—which had germinated in small politicized and creative corners of African American communities—were now being incorporated into mainstream corporate agendas. OBAC’s core idea had transcended the tiny storefront space on East Thirty-Fifth Street; however, the workshop would not reap the benefits of putting the notion into motion. Around the same time that Doubleday published The Black Aesthetic, the Modern Language Association (MLA)—the country’s leading organization for professional, academic-based literary critics—founded the Commission on Minority Groups and the Study of Language and Literature. Recognizing the overwhelmingly white constitution of America’s accepted literary canon and the generally Eurocentric nature of the scholarly conversation existing among its membership, the new commission reflected MLA’s effort to come to terms with the racist and narrow epistemology that had existed in the association since its founding in 1883. More to the point, the association’s leadership wanted to get a handle on the new explosion in Black literature and criticism emanating from the Black Arts movement. Ready to commit institutional resources to the study of “minority” literatures, MLA would

88  .  chap ter 2 tap Dexter Fisher, an MLA member and teacher at CUNY’s recently opened Hostos Community College, to lead their efforts. Although she was white, Fisher would help coordinate a “series of [MLA] national conferences, seminars and institutes . . . to stimulate greater awareness and to encourage more equitable representation of minority literature in the mainstream of literary studies,” beginning in 1974.149 Hoyt Fuller, along with a number of other OBAC members and Black Arts activists, remained conspicuously absent from these gatherings. In the case of Fuller, one of the most prominent Black literary luminaries of the period, invitations were never sent. Nevertheless, the tenor of these meetings reflected critical aspects of OBAC’s black aesthetic project sans the community commitment, Black Power interface, and Black nationalist politics. Instead, MLA, through the support of “a substantial grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities,” was about to embark on a course that severed Black literature from broad-based African American interests and Black counterpublic culture while simultaneously refashioning Black Arts literary nationalism into what they would call “Minority Literature in the Service of Cultural Pluralism.”150 By 1974 the writers’ workshop was rapidly waning. Most of the original members, besides Fuller and Amini, had moved on. Several had taken jobs at universities and colleges across the country. Some, like Carolyn Rodgers, simply felt overwhelmed and constrained by the prescriptive environment that had developed under Fuller’s leadership and in the larger Black Arts movement in general; while others, like Angela Jackson, continued to thrive in the workshop, even as its membership, general character, and the larger context in which it operated changed. Some older members, like Plumpp, lamented that “younger people were coming into the organization, jockeying for position.”151 Still, even with the turnover in membership, the workshop remained active. New members joined, participated, and published, with Fuller remaining at the helm. They also proved themselves to be rather resourceful. In 1973, when they began facing economic challenges, they responded by hosting a string of rent parties and fund-raisers.152 According to Plumpp, the hardships had resulted in the pursuit of grants becoming “full-time work” for the group’s members.153 The self-publishing and relative economic independence of the late 1960s had given way to 501c3 nonprofit (state-sanctioned) status, an endless cycle of grant proposals, and hunts for external subvention. This reality nagged Fuller, who had always hoped that OBAC’s creative exploration into aesthetic self-determination would lead to economic independence. Unfortunately, this proved not to be the case.

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In December 1975 the organization would face the first of two devastating challenges. Just two weeks after the workshop held its eight-year anniversary, a fire ravaged the group’s headquarters. The flames broke out on the second floor of the building during the morning’s early hours. Before it was extinguished the fire had engulfed half of the block, destroying several buildings in its path. The headquarters and everything in it—organizational documents, artwork from around the world, furniture, photographs, and the hundreds of books and periodicals that made up the Hoyt Fuller Library—were reduced to ashes.154 Overnight the group found themselves completely displaced and in search of a new home in the frigid cold of Chicago’s winter. They tried to stabilize after being granted a temporary haven at the African Information Center by Randson Boykin, an original OBAC member.155 However, before they could regroup, they were dealt their final crushing blow three months later when Fuller was fired from Johnson Publishing Company and forced to leave Chicago once and for all. Now floundering with neither a permanent home nor Fuller’s guiding hand and connections, the group eked out several more years under the helm of Angela Jackson. But the heyday of OBAC had come and gone. At its peak OBAC had a tremendous impact on the Black Arts movement and its hallmark modes of artistic practice. The members’ persistent

Hoyt Fuller caught in the spotlight at an OBAC event. (Hoyt William Fuller Collection, box 58, folder 14, Atlanta University Center, Robert W. Woodruff Library)

90  .  chap ter 2 activity, poetic and literary flare, and black cultural nationalist politics played a profound role in helping many African Americans reimagine themselves as modern-day Black subjects who collectively doubled as the driving force behind America’s new racial renaissance in creative culture.156 Obviously, Fuller played no small part in OBAC’s success. As the only OBAC founder to maintain a workshop longer than a year, his long-term leadership and commitment were second to none in the organization. His guidance helped spawn a new generation of African American writers who were adept at creative writing, teaching, literary criticism, and institution building. Even as their work in the late 1960s and early 1970s remained hamstrung by their reliance on jejune yet wildly popular notions of a homogenous “Black community,” they proved to be incredibly productive in terms of their literary output and the generation of new concepts, such as “the black aesthetic.” And while it is fair to say that their work did not yield the outcome of “black liberation” that they so eagerly longed for, it did have deep implications for the states of American literary criticism, canon formation, the collegiate teaching profession, national arts institutions, and the internal organization of most American college campuses and humanities disciplines. By 1974 even the MLA was willing to acknowledge the peculiar and racist relationship between “Black Literature and the American Literary Mainstream.”157 Ultimately, Fuller and OBAC’s black aesthetic project served as an early yet thunderous warning shot in America’s forthcoming culture wars. Fuller was correct in his assessment that “the long overdue assault against the restrictive assumptions of the white critics” had officially begun. However, he underestimated the ways that “the black revolt . . . in letters” would result in a greater distance between working-class African American communities and academically contained, professional critics of African American literature and culture.158

3 Expansion Plans Asymmetries of Pan-African Power I went to Africa. . . . I went to the motherland to find my roots! 700 million black people; not one of those motherfuckers knew me. —Richard Pryor, Live on the Sunset Strip We had started to think about an Africa that was still alive and in chains, actively struggling for liberation. One heavy part [of our thinking] . . . was based on a never-never-land Africa, the African paradise of the first chapter of Roots. We were finding out about an Africa of imperialist domination and class struggle. —Amiri Baraka, Autobiography of LeRoi Jones

Over the course of January and February 1977, five hundred African Americans disembarked from US state-sponsored jets at Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos, Nigeria. Half the size of initial estimates, the contingent consisted of Black Arts movement artists, activists, and intellectuals from all over the United States. For several of the African American travelers, it was their first time on African soil. Some made the journey to find their “roots,” which they believed to be lost as a result of the transatlantic slave trade. Still others came to network, dissolving themselves of any romantic ideas about severed heritage or displaced connections. After gathering their luggage, musical instruments, art supplies, and personal effects, they all headed to the same place, a village of 2,400 newly constructed modern living quarters meant to house more than 120,000 people.1 For the next month, this new space would serve as the home of artists and intellectuals from every region of the African continent and the broader African

92  .  chap ter 3 diaspora. They had all come together to participate in the Second World Festival of Black and African Arts and Culture, which most people referred to simply as FESTAC. Recognizing that the number of African Americans dwarfed delegations from every other country, the February 8, 1977, headline of the Nigeria Daily Times boldly read “Black Americans Storm FESTAC!”2 Hoyt Fuller, the man most responsible for African American participation in FESTAC, was absent among the travelers. Deeply disappointed with the Nigerian government’s handling of the festival, he stayed home in Atlanta as the US delegation settled into FESTAC Village.3 More than any other African American delegate, Fuller had the most comprehensive view of the festival, including its buildup, the challenges at the state level in Nigeria, and the wider continental politics that brought FESTAC into being. In fact, he had participated in the two continent-wide festivals that preceded FESTAC. He had been present at the First World Festival of Negro Arts (FESMAN) in Dakar, Senegal, in 1966, where he served as a member of the US press team. Then, three years later, he attended the Pan-African Cultural Festival (PACF) in Algiers, Algeria, in 1969. For more than a decade, from 1966 to 1977, he had tested the possibilities of international organizing and unearthed the limitations of Pan-African politics. Taking a long view of the road to FESTAC, Fuller had reached a pivotal crossroads in his political journey. Several scholars have discussed the national scope of the Black Arts movement within the United States, but too few have explored the international organizing efforts of movement participants.4 Spanning an explosive decade of decolonization on the African continent, this chapter uses Fuller’s experiences across three seminal African festivals to explore the ways USbased Black Arts movement discourses engaged with discussions of art and struggle on the African continent. Organized to forge international bonds between a global array of statesmen, artists, and intellectuals, these three festivals aimed to showcase the awesome cultural breadth and complexity that constituted the Pan-African world. At the same time, the festivals fashioned a common ground for ideas of liberation, art, culture, and collective struggle to be debated, (re)imagined, and actualized. Through his varied roles, Fuller discovered that these Pan-African festivals, although groundbreaking in a number of ways, were also Janus-faced in nature. While they touted the ideas of a new Pan-African renaissance, they also disguised a local repressive underbelly that highlighted the limits of national independence, the deep-seated fissures plaguing post-independence African nation-states, and the difficulties of building global Pan-African power through the nexus of art, culture, and politics. Ultimately, Fuller’s festival experiences map the

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ruptures, strains, collective aspirations, and points of unity that constituted the asymmetries of Pan-African power in the late 1960s and 1970s. Moreover, the festivals illustrate how the Black Arts movement aligned with, broke from, and troubled larger discussions about art, power, and politics in the broader African world.

Pan-Africanism’s Parameters, Promises, and Problems after World War II In his 1956 treatise Pan Africanism or Communism?: The Coming Struggle for Africa, the Trinidadian activist and intellectual George Padmore declared, “If the war years can be described as the coming-of-age period of Pan-Africanism, 1945 and after represents the beginning of its triumph and achievement.”5 Recognizing the decaying effects of two world wars on Europe’s colonial stranglehold, Padmore pointed to the inevitability of African independence. At the same time, he warned African leaders about “allying themselves with the Communists, who are trying to seize control and exploit the Negro political movements.”6 A former member of the Comintern, Padmore broke with the Communist Party in 1933 after the Kremlin made a distinction between the “democratic imperialism” of Britain and France and the “Fascist imperialism” of Germany and Japan.7 In Padmore’s assessment, both forms of imperialism were unacceptable, and, more to the point, it was the so-called democratic imperialists who continued to wreak colonial havoc on much of Africa. Padmore’s assessment captured emergent ideas of a nonaligned Pan-Africanism that would profoundly shape political discourse about African statehood and independence. One year after the release of Padmore’s book, Ghana’s independence from Britain seemed only to hasten the conversation, making Pan-Africanism a hotly debated concept over the course of the next two decades. After the first wave of African independence, British scholar George Shepperson encouraged those in the debate to make a distinction between “‘PanAfricanism’ with a capital letter,” which he saw as a clearly defined movement, and “‘pan-Africanism’ with a small letter,” which captured a more diffuse variety of ephemeral cultural expressions, grassroots activity, and micromanifestations. For Shepperson, the Pan-African Congresses (between 1900 and 1945) and Ghana’s All-Africa People’s Conference in 1958 best represented capital “P” Pan-Africanism, which focused primarily on questions of anticolonialism, self-governance, statehood, and international relations. Meanwhile, cultural movements that situated statehood as a subsidiary concern

94  .  chap ter 3 to issues of “cultural reclamation,” “racial dignity,” and “race pride”—such as Marcus Garvey’s Universal Negro Improvement Association and the Negritude movement—represented small “p” pan-Africanism.8 Shepperson’s 1962 distinction, while widely referenced, could not adequately account for the subsequent series of state-led international cultural festivals that brought the issues of statehood together with questions of culture, art, and racial reclamation. Senegal’s FESMAN, Algeria’s PACF, and Nigeria’s FESTAC, which all occurred after the respective host countries gained independence, collapsed Shepperson’s distinction. Indeed, statesmen in several newly independent African countries fused questions of culture and racial reclamation with issues of statehood, making them part of the discourse of self-governance and inseparable dimensions of state-led Pan-Africanism. Simply put, they had rendered Shepperson’s distinction inadequate and somewhat obsolete. Perhaps a more useful way to think about the internal complexity of PanAfricanism after independence—which accounts for issues of culture and post-independence statehood—is through the concepts of scale and slant. Here “scale” refers to the range of people who were included in different conceptions of Pan-Africanism. For some, Pan-Africanism was a strict geographical concept that revolved exclusively around people living in African nation-states. The activist-scholar St. Clair Drake referred to this as “continental Pan-Africanism.”9 For others, Pan-Africanism was understood as a racial-geographical concept, including Africans on the continent and people of African descent spread across the worldwide African diaspora. Most Pan-Africanists from the diaspora embraced this broader-scaled idea, which Drake referred to as “global Pan-Africanism” due to the way it accounted for both geography and race.10 However, for some African statesmen, the racial-geographical scale was abandoned for a more geographically centered project. At the same time, Pan-Africanism conjoined with a variety of different internal political slants. Some Pan-Africanists were explicitly socialist or anticapitalist in their political orientation, including Guinea’s Sekou Toure and Julius Nyerere of Tanzania.11 Others preferred a free market economy, embracing capitalism and democracy as coterminous counterparts, as was the case in Nigeria. In this manner, identifying as a Pan-Africanist did not (over)determine one’s political ideology or approach to political economy. These issues of scale and slant, while seemingly negligible to discussions of art and culture, had tremendous implications for festival organizing. By demarcating who fell under the umbrella of Pan-Africanism and who did not, scale and slant functioned as framing mechanisms, granting festival organizers a way to decide who was allowed to participate or attend and who was

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granted a prominent or subsidiary position within each festival. Moreover, when the political slant of each respective governing state informed questions of culture and art, creative expression became instantly politicized. Literature, visual arts, music, and theatrical performances morphed into expressions for or against particular Pan-African projects, national administrative practices, state customs, and foreign and domestic policies. Between 1966 and 1977 these issues of scale and political slant continued to shift across the three festivals, serving as points of conflict and confluence for Fuller and all parties involved. As the only African American to participate in all three festivals, Fuller was well aware of the promises, problems, and shifting parameters of Pan-African politics on the African continent. In 1959, just six years before FESMAN, he spent time traveling up and down the coastal cities of North and West Africa. He vividly recalled portions of the trip in his pithy travel memoir, Journey to Africa, which was published more than a decade later, in 1971.12 Departing from the port city of Palma, on the Spanish island of Mallorca, Fuller made his way down the northwest coast via boat, stopping in the African port cities of Casablanca in Morocco, Algiers, and Dakar before ending up in Conakry, Guinea.13 The journey had a tremendous impact on Fuller, forcing him to contemplate how his experiences in the United States informed his politics and what it meant to be an African American interpolated simply as an American living abroad. More importantly, Fuller’s trip granted him the opportunity to witness several African countries in political transition. When he made the journey, Algeria was in the middle of a bloody revolution that three years later resulted in the country’s independence from France. Senegal was also in the process of gaining some semblance of independence from France and joining the Mali Federation with their neighboring country to the east.14 Finally, Guinea, the country that intrigued him most, had gained independence from France just months before Fuller’s arrival. Thus, he made his “journey to Africa” at a historical moment that was pregnant with promise and potential, particularly for those interested in Pan-Africanism. Like most Pan-Africanists from the diaspora, Fuller favored “global PanAfricanism,” because it accounted for both geography and, more importantly, race. Coming from the United States—which he understood as part of the diaspora—Fuller and many other African American activists had a tendency to emphasize race, especially Black identity, in their definition of Pan-Africanism. This was largely due to the significant role race played in organizing and influencing their daily lives in the segregated United States. In addition, the timing of the three festivals perfectly coincided with the

96  .  chap ter 3 rise and decline of the Black Arts and Black Power movements. As many African American activists in the United States moved away from the interracial, reformist organizing that characterized the civil rights movement, they embraced Black self-determination as an integral feature of their renewed activist agenda. Domestically this resulted in a break from white liberal allies. However, internationally, the idea of Black self-determination led African American activists to support African (and Caribbean) independence movements while thinking about African and African diasporic political futures as intertwined and in many ways inseparable. Aside from the sense of interconnectedness, this attentiveness to race and racism also influenced the ways Fuller and other Pan-Africanists from the United States understood colonialism and Africa’s road to freedom. Not only was colonialism a form of economic exploitation, but it was also, in Fuller’s assessment, a racial project. As early as 1959, he would argue that American racism stemmed from “the roots of Europe,” linking US segregation to colonialism and apartheid in Africa.15 According to Fuller, if these racially organized social orders were to be dismantled, it would require both racial awareness and collective mobilization on the part of the subjugated populations. More specifically, Fuller believed that “freedom for Black people all over the world will come only when Black Africa holds genuine power.”16 In other words, not only did Black liberation in the diaspora (particularly the United States) hinge upon that of Africa, but the struggle against colonialism on the African continent was at its core a racial imperative. Moreover, Fuller’s explicit reference to “Black Africa,” as opposed to Africa in general, illustrates how race and Black identity remained central pillars in his formulations of Pan-Africanism. Still, Fuller’s ideas of Pan-Africanism were far from universally accepted, and it is the incongruity of his ideas with those of African statesmen that animated the festivals, revealing the asymmetries of Pan-African power.

The First World Festival of Negro Arts in Dakar, Senegal (1966) At FESMAN in Dakar, Cold War politics, a decaying French colonialism, an emergent state-based Negritude, American espionage, feigned US racial liberalism, Pan-Africanism, and Black Arts nationalism all collided. Serving as a member of the US subcommittee on communications, Fuller was situated at the center of it all. From that vantage point he chronicled the entire festival, including its tumultuous buildup and revealing aftermath.17 At the

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outset he used the pages of Negro Digest to serve as one of FESMAN’s most ardent supporters. However, after the festival concluded, he used the same platform to become one of the event’s harshest critics. By the time the subsequent festival occurred in Algeria, Fuller had drawn public attention to the connections between the leadership of the US Committee, the State Department, and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), exposing their collective effort to contain the US delegation by suppressing any radical participation on the part of African American artists. More importantly, Fuller used the platform of Negro Digest to break out of America’s Cold War paradigm and publicly expose the ways domestic racism informed America’s cultural forays in the international arena. Initially Fuller was ecstatic about FESMAN because of its outward projection of global Pan-Africanism, referring to it as “an event of the greatest importance for people of African descent.” Understanding the event as a oneof-a-kind global Pan-African pageant, Fuller outlined its four purported goals for his readers: (1) to advance international and interracial understanding; (2) to permit Negro artists throughout the world to return periodically to the source of their art; (3) to make known the contributions of Negritude, the Negro’s pride in his race, and his recognition of his unique creativity springing from his African heritage; and (4) to make it possible for Negro artists to meet and demonstrate their talents to publishers, impresarios, film producers, and other representatives from the international art world. Thrilled by the festival’s possibilities, Fuller noted, “Seldom has an event excited such enthusiasm. Its potential, of course, is limitless. Nothing like it has ever been held before.”18 Fuller’s initial excitement was sustained by Senegalese president Leopold Senghor’s explicit efforts to use art and cultural creativity as means of nationbuilding. The poet turned president believed that his idea of Negritude could be harnessed as tool for national unity and a model for a global Pan-African future.19 In his estimation, Negritude was the notion that African people (both on the continent and in the diaspora) collectively had a unique racial-cultural psychology, emotive attitude, and creative gift that could balance Europe’s penchant for rationality and eventually fuse with the best of Europe’s gifts to create a new global humanism.20 Thus, Senghor regarded FESMAN as an “illustration of negritude” on the world stage; it was an important step toward this new global humanism.21 However, after making several organizing trips in preparation for FESMAN, Fuller soon learned that Senghor’s outward projection of Negritude statism served as a façade, covering a more complex reality within Senegal. Merging his haughty ideas on culture with his governing practices, Senghor

98  .  chap ter 3 spent considerable resources on state-sanctioned artists and arts projects that had little to do with concrete challenges faced by the country’s citizenry.22 In addition, Senghor publicly advocated for an idea of “African Socialism” that characterized Senegal and all emergent African nations as part of a global proletariat at odds with the Western, former colonial ruling class.23 However, both his grandiose ideas and governing practices lacked any substantive plan for resource reallocation within Senegal after independence, and he all but forfeited issues of infrastructure development to European foreign interests. Furthermore, his concepts elided divisive and rapidly hardening class formations within Senegalese society and, for that matter, post-independence African nations in general.24 Ultimately, Senghor’s grandiloquent ideas resulted in the Senegalese state ruling all facets of the country’s art world, and he would help to recreate the same dynamics within the US contingent.25 The first indication of Fuller’s disappointment in Senghor and the larger FESMAN came when the Senegalese president appointed Virginia InnessBrown as the chairperson of the US Committee to the festival in February 1965.26 Brown was the head of the American National Theater and Academy (ANTA) in New York City. Established by Congress in 1935 to nationalize theater projects across the United States, ANTA changed after World War II. The Cold War remade ANTA into a propaganda outfit that sponsored international tours for theater companies that were willing to spread a favorable message of American democracy and free market capitalism. In effect, this made Inness-Brown a contracted employee and consultant for the US State Department. Senghor’s appointment of Inness-Brown as “the sole spokesperson for American participation in the festival” granted the US government final decision-making power over which African American artists could participate.27 While Fuller and other members of the American press remained dumbfounded by Senghor’s decision to appoint a white woman as spokesperson for an African American contingent to an African festival, the editor was even more troubled by what appeared to be federal efforts to contain African American artists. The decision was out of step with most African nations and with many African diasporic activists who were at that very moment clamoring for self-determination. However, it was somewhat consistent with the actions of Senghor, who had decided just a few short years earlier that Senegal would remain a member of the French Community instead of going the route of complete autonomy.28 Nonetheless, the involvement of the US State Department encapsulated America’s desire to contain the spread of communism through the promotion of American liberal democracy.29

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If Fuller was disturbed by Senghor’s appointment of Inness-Brown, he found some solace in the selection of his old acquaintance John Davis as cochairman. Davis was a former researcher for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, a professor of political science in New York City, and, more importantly, executive director of the American Society of African Culture (AMSAC). Founded in 1957 by Davis and a handful of African American intellectuals in attendance at the First Congress of Black Writers, AMSAC’s purported goal was “to provide a bond of understanding between Africans and all Americans, especially those of African descent.”30 While their public mission seemed fitting, privately AMSAC was firmly committed to the US Cold War agenda.31 The group openly supported American-style democracy while eschewing all forms of communism and nonaligned radicalism. Establishing relationships in several newly independent African countries and a satellite office in Nigeria, AMSAC proved to be a vibrant intellectual community for African American intellectuals who were particularly interested in Africa.32 Fuller attended several AMSAC events and in 1965 declined an invitation by Davis to serve as vice president of the group.33 Nevertheless, AMSAC’s involvement in FESMAN seemed to temporarily assuage Fuller’s criticism leading up to the festival.

Hoyt Fuller with the pioneering Senegalese film director, producer, and writer Ousmane Sembene in Senegal. (Hoyt William Fuller Collection, box 58, folder 27, Atlanta University Center, Robert W. Woodruff Library)

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Hoyt Fuller with the towering Senegalese historian and physicist Cheikh Anta Diop, circa 1966, long before Diop was considered a pillar of Afrocentricity. (Hoyt William Fuller Collection, box 58, folder 27, Atlanta University Center, Robert W. Woodruff Library)

Despite organizing challenges on the part of both the US Committee and the Senegalese state, FESMAN opened in April 1966. Senegalese commissioners reported the participation of 2,226 delegates from thirty-seven countries, and 60,000 visitors, including Senegalese residents, international tourists, and participating artists.34 Senghor’s hope that the festival would stimulate the Senegalese economy and establish the country as an international tourist hub proved to be overly optimistic. Instead, Fuller and other reporters noticed the striking differences between Senghor’s manufactured Negritude state, which was reflected in newly built and renovated festival sites, on the one hand, and the older regions of Dakar inhabited by local Senegalese citizens, on the other. Rigid class divisions were apparent, even as Senghor tried to hide them from festival attendees by constructing what one New York Times reporter described as “an aluminum wall.”35 At the same time, the State Department’s control over the US Committee failed to translate into adequate subvention. The inability of the US Committee to raise half of its estimated six-hundredthousand-dollar budget led to a last-minute downsizing of the roster of artists.36 Still, for the average festival attendee the event was impressive. It was

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only organizers and committee members, like Fuller, who were privy to the larger financial challenges that dogged both Senegal and the US Committee. Frustrated by the entire experience, Fuller used Negro Digest and Ebony to publicly discuss these issues once the festival concluded. Publicly, Fuller hedged his criticisms of Senghor, choosing instead to focus on the disorganization of the festival and the general economic (and political) state of affairs in Senegal. In his lone Ebony article on the festival, Fuller acknowledged the overall success of the event, “despite some incredible blunders in planning and some operational goofs unworthy of even children.” He also pointed out Senghor’s attempt to use the festival as a way to “stave off economic collapse and concomitant political disaster.”37 At the same time, he cautiously circumnavigated the larger political divergence between Senghor and himself, which revolved around their differing views on Black-white race relations. Still, he went as far to publicly note, “Without the cooperation of Europeans and white Americans, the First World Festival of Negro Arts scarcely would have been held.”38 Indeed, FESMAN illuminated how Senghor was dependent on Swiss art curators, various European architects, French lighting experts, and German, Belgian, and British museums. It was in rhetoric alone that the festival represented the dawning of a new Pan-African age or the illustration of Negritude. In reality, FESMAN was an international display of artistic clientelism that left European powers in ultimate control and Senghor serving as Senegal’s chief comprador. To his dismay, the festival embodied the neocolonial relationships that Fuller hoped would be shattered by a united African continent. Privately he concluded that Senghor was nothing more than “an eloquent fraud” who was partly responsible for Senegal’s sad state of affairs after independence.39 Fuller used Negro Digest to put forth his most virulent public critiques, dedicating some twelve pages of the June 1966 issue to the festival. Aiming his criticism squarely at the US Committee, he focused primarily on the issues of race and leadership.40 More than any other individual committee member, Fuller was adamant that an African American should have led the US delegation. Understanding Pan-Africanism as a racial-geographical project put Fuller at odds with Inness-Brown and the US State Department. In his assessment it was the US government (which included the State Department) that was responsible for the legalized racist discrimination leveled at African Americans on the domestic front. How, then, could the same state be responsible for organizing a delegation that best reflected the interests (and artistic expressions) of African Americans? Fuller had little faith in the American state or its officials, even as major federal laws were being passed to end racist discrimination in

102  .  chap ter 3 its legalized and explicit forms. State Department officials did not overlook the fact that Fuller and other African American activists held the belief that racism was an endemic American problem. In fact, the efforts made to contain the US delegation meant that State Department officials had accounted for this kind of political analysis among African Americans. The State Department responded by trying to control the global narratives on American democracy, downplaying the racial turmoil embroiling the country, and containing any African Americans who might criticize American domestic policy while in the international arena. Fuller, however, refused to fall in line with America’s Cold War imperative.41 Instead, he sought to shatter America’s outward projection of liberal democracy and thus establish a space for African Americans to speak for themselves and criticize the United States while remaining unfettered by federal intelligence agencies. Vindication for Fuller came a year after the festival when news broke that the CIA had used multiple dummy organizations to secretly fund the activities of AMSAC.42 Roughly $173,000 had been funneled to AMSAC, which the CIA supported as an ally in the fight against the spread of communism and any potentially nonaligned African radicals. Although it was highly unlikely that AMSAC’s leadership was aware of the connections, Fuller confronted AMSAC’s president about the accusations. Sensing that his reputation was on the line, John Davis denied any knowledge of CIA connections in his letters to Fuller. He further pointed out that if the allegations were true, AMSAC likely received far less from the CIA than the media had reported.43 Nevertheless, AMSAC was finished; the organization never recovered. However, the revelation pointed to a larger effort on the part of the federal government to suppress African American participation in any radical, global Pan-African project. The entire debacle taught Fuller a hard lesson in Pan-African politics: the American federal government would go to great lengths—using tax dollars, espionage, and even the guise of cultural politics—to protect its global interests. Yet in the face of this new sobering reality, Fuller strengthened his commitment to Pan-Africanism by plunging deeper into subsequent festivals.

The First Pan-African Cultural Festival in Algiers, Algeria (1969) When the Algerian government hosted the First Pan-African Cultural Festival, in Algiers in 1969, it was evident that the fallout from FESMAN had international implications. Not only did FESMAN shape how Fuller and other Black Arts movement activists approached Pan-African organizing,

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Poster for the First Pan-African Cultural Festival, in Algeria. (Hoyt William Fuller Collection, series 15, poster, Atlanta University Center, Robert W. Woodruff Library)

but it also informed how the Algerian government framed their festival. Questions of scale and slant continued to result in competing conceptions of Pan-Africanism. Such questions were further complicated by two critical factors emanating from the politics (and national character) of the host country. The first was the Algerian government’s international reputation as a vanguard state in the global or, more accurately, Third World revolution.44 The second challenge stemmed from the Algerian government’s tendency to see race as a subordinate, or incidental, organizing principle. These critical factors not only resulted in major differences between Senegal’s FESMAN and Algeria’s PACF, but they also resulted in the overall marginalization and last-minute incorporation of Black Arts activists into the PACF.

104  .  chap ter 3 From its inception in 1964, the PACF had a strict continental focus, largely because it emanated from a meeting of the Organization of African Unity’s (OAU) Commission on Education and Culture in Kinshasa.45 Founded just one year earlier, the OAU began as a state-based organization, with membership held by independent African nations. Based on the idea of continental Pan-Africanism, the OAU’s initial sphere of activity did not include the broader African diaspora. Therefore, when the idea to host a festival first emerged, African Americans were not part of the equation. As planning progressed—almost simultaneously with Senghor’s FESMAN—several African governments sent representatives to meet in Lagos, Nigeria, in 1966; this included Cameroon, Senegal, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Guinea, Mali, Nigeria, and Algeria, the latter volunteering to host the festival in 1967.46 In some ways Algeria wanted to outmaneuver what it saw as the conservative African statesmen who had previously made up one-half of the Casablanca-Monrovia split in continental Pan-African politics. The Monrovia bloc—Senegal, Nigeria, Liberia, and Ethiopia—sought a more gradual approach to African unity through means that did not include the dissolution of sovereign nation-states. Meanwhile, the Casablanca bloc advocated for a continent-wide federation of African nations while pressing for full-speed decolonization. This group included heads of state from Ghana, Guinea, Mali, Morocco, and Algeria, among others.47 Thus, Algerian statesmen saw the PACF as a belated opportunity to assert their influence on the future of continental Pan-Africanism. Simultaneously they hoped to undermine the approach of other African heads of state, like Senghor, who continued to advocate for a state-based sovereignty and genial diplomatic relations with former colonial powers. Needless to say, global Pan-African ties between Africa and the African diaspora were not a driving factor in the organization of the PACF. For reasons vastly different from those surrounding the previous festival in Senegal, the PACF once again exposed the uneven relationship between African festival organizers and Black Arts activists from the United States. Since the Algerian government had severed diplomatic relations with the US in response to the June 1967 Arab-Israeli War, it resulted in their inability to promote the festival among African Americans. From the outset, most Black Arts movement activists had no knowledge of the planning or organization of the festival. Fuller only learned of the event in June 1969, just one month before it was scheduled to take place. Once he became aware of the event, he sent a letter to the Algerian minister of information inquiring about the possibility of a chartered flight for African American attendees. Although there was no plan to cover travel expenses, the Algerian minister

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communicated the organizer’s “hope that our Afro-American brothers will be on hand.”48 With no clear apparatus to serve as representatives of what Algerian officials understood as the African American “nation within a nation,” Algerian festival organizers reverted to sending invitations to select African American artists who embodied the “spirit of revolution.” This included the high priestess of soul, Nina Simone; the experimental saxophonist Archie Shepp; the fiery jazz vocalist Abbey Lincoln; and the doyen of the Black Arts movement, Amiri Baraka, although the latter two were unable to attend.49 This approach, taken by Algerian festival organizers, represented a dramatic shift from FESMAN, which depended on the US State Department and, broadly speaking, the American government. Furthermore, it reflected the difference between Senghor’s conciliatory governing style and that of Algeria, which “sought to mediate and manage all interactions between the domestic space and the outside world.”50 Both on the African continent and around the world, Algeria was recognized as a pivotal nation in the overlapping fights for decolonization, nonalignment, and the global struggle against Western imperialism. Fresh off their victorious struggle to gain independence from France (fought mainly between 1954 and 1962), Ahmad Ben Bella and Houari Boumediéne took control of Algeria’s Front Libération Nationale (FLN), the major force in the country’s anticolonial struggle and newly instated governing body. With Bella as Algeria’s head statesman and Boumediéne as head of the military, the new government advocated for socialism, nationalizing land and several industrial plants in the name of “autogestion,” or self-management.51 They also adopted an outwardly facing revolutionary posture, supporting independence struggles in Southern Africa and training liberation fighters. Situating themselves as one of Africa’s most important bridges to the Arab world, Bella and the FLN emphasized a geographical definition of Pan-Africanism with an explicitly socialist political slant, which coincidentally did not place much stock in domestic or international race-based organizing. Privately, the Algerian government remained anxious that “any focus on racial dynamics could become a liability to their diplomacy in sub-Saharan Africa.”52 Nevertheless, among African Americans in particular, Algeria’s international reputation as a revolutionary state and critic of US racism served as an adequate smokescreen, masking the FLN’s domestic policy failures and their efforts to suppress internal revolts, silence critics, and outlaw oppositional parties.53 Their success at projecting an international persona of revolution even worked to sustain the country’s reputation through Boumediéne’s bloodless coup that resulted in the detention of Bella in 1965, just four short years before the PACF.

106  .  chap ter 3 The widely held view among Black Arts activists that Algeria was a revolutionary ally went a long way in suspending their critical assessments of the PACF.54 While Fuller was unique because he had previously traveled to the country, most Black Arts activists gleaned their first introduction to Algeria from what were then two unconventional sources: a propaganda film and a political treatise. The wildly popular film Battle of Algiers, released in 1966, served as most Black Arts activists’ initial window into the Algerian anticolonial struggle.55 Small-scale theaters and Black institutions, such as Chicago’s Affro Arts Theatre, offered African American activists a fictional glimpse into the Algerian struggle to end French colonialism.56 Filmed around the same time as Boumediéne’s coup, the movie intensified a budding interest in armed resistance among African American activists who had already started to question the civil rights movement’s dominant strategy of nonviolent direct action. Frantz Fanon’s equally popular book Wretched of the Earth, first translated to English in 1963, served as the other major entry point.57 Although Fanon’s text was less about Algeria and more about decolonization writ large, it also fueled Black Arts and Black Power fascinations with armed resistance and revolution.58 Fuller was so moved by the text, he gained permission from his friend Jean-Paul Sartre to republish his lengthy preface to the text in the July 1965 issue of Negro Digest.59 The reprint proved to be the first of several essays on Fanon to appear in Fuller’s magazine. Still, substantive discussions of Algeria and state practices in the former colony were severely lacking. Aside from recognizing Algeria’s position on the Casablanca side of the continental split and efforts to nationalize oil, African American activists knew very little about the newly independent state. Besides the generally hard-to-attain Pan-Africanist journal Révolution Africaine, there was no sustained discussion of Algerian domestic policy or the state practices of Boumediéne.60 Black Arts activists generally seemed to fully accept the idea that Algeria was part of the global revolutionary vanguard. This fact, combined with the reverberations from FESMAN, led to willingness on the part of African Americans to suspend criticism of the Algerian government and the PACF. As a result, Fuller and other African American festival attendees remained silent about their inability to choose their representatives and all but ceded the issue of self-determination. On the whole, the African Americans present at the PACF represented a cross-section of both the Black Arts and Black Power movements. Collectively they were far more explicit in their critical stance toward the United States than those in attendance at FESMAN. Once again taking on the role of movement journalist, Fuller chronicled the activities of African American

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attendees for the reading public of Negro Digest. Those present included Ed Bullins, an essential player in the theater wing of the Black Arts Movement; Haki Madhubuti, Fuller’s OBAC ally from Chicago; Nathan Hare, a central intellectual in the creation of Black Studies; and Jimmy Garrett, Courtland Cox, and Charlie Cobb of SNCC. Also present were the Black Panther Party’s (BPP) Emory Douglass, Eldridge and Kathleen Cleaver, and Stokely Carmichael, former chairperson of SNCC and coauthor of Black Power. During the festival, which ran from July 21 to August 1, Madhubuti pulled together a poetry event, and the African American musical performers received a warm reception. Nevertheless, it was the Black Panther Party that received the most public attention.61 Days before the event, several exiled Panthers worked with Julia Hervé, the daughter of Richard Wright, to establish an international BPP headquarters, called the Afro-American Center, off site from the festival. The building quickly became a popular hub for festivalgoers, publicly granting African Americans a more prominent place in the overall occasion, although, as Fuller noted, the center was “merely a showcase for the BPP.”62 Still, the site granted further credence to the appearance of Algerian solidarity with the oppressed African American minority in the United States. Far more than FESMAN, the PACF provided African American activists a platform to speak openly about the conditions they faced at home while remaining completely unfettered by the US State Department or CIA. As was the case with FESMAN, Fuller held different public and private assessments of the PACF. In a private letter to a friend, Fuller noted that the PACF “was not quite as exciting an event as Dakar, but much more important in purely political terms.”63 For Fuller, the numerous speeches made by African statesmen led to the rendering of art and culture (and even cultural politics) as secondary issues, far less important than politics proper. Lukewarm to the diplomatic speeches and symposium, Fuller believed them to be “boring,” with “no fire [and] no inspiration.”64 However, publicly the editor maintained the overall importance of the event, describing it as “the Black world coming of age.” At the festival Fuller realized that “the Black World is a far more complex and integrated one than we sometimes realize.”65 Ironically, he had started to think about global Pan-Africanism as a more consolidated project than he initially believed. However, his assessment also revealed an inability to think about Pan-Africanism outside the frame of race and, more specifically, Black identity. Fuller’s persistent reference to the “Black world” did not capture the reality that most Algerians did not identify as “Black” but instead as Maghrib, Arab, or even Muslim.66 More to the point, Boumediéne

108  .  chap ter 3 and the FLN intentionally avoided race-based definitions of Pan-Africanism, although they strongly supported liberation movements across sub-Saharan Africa.67 Fuller’s inability or unwillingness to come to grips with this political difference was significant because it revealed not only the global asymmetries of Pan-Africanism but also African Americans’ overall lack of familiarity with the FLN’s political agenda and the details of Algerian foreign policy. Still, compared to FESMAN, Fuller and other Black Arts activists believed that the PACF illustrated the Pan-African promise on the horizon. If FESMAN represented Senghor’s attempt to illustrate Negritude and produce a new global humanity, the PACF was Algeria’s attempt to move beyond Negritude and bring the political struggles of the Third World’s global majority to the fore.68 Still, both festivals showed that African Americans’ place in both Pan-African equations remained troubling, at worst, and marginal, at best. While Senghor saw race as a definitive component of both PanAfricanism and Negritude, he held no qualms about partnering with the US government, which many Black Arts movement activists saw as the major force opposed to racial justice. Comparatively, Algeria’s FLN averted discussions of race and Black identity, but they remained adamant about African independence, national self-determination, and an eventual end to global capitalism’s hegemony. At the same time, the radical Third World politics of Algeria also resulted in autonomous participation on the part of African American festival-goers, allowing them to be involved in the PACF without being controlled by the US government or State Department. Still, Fuller either overlooked or ignored the political differences that resided between him and the FLN when it came to race, believing instead that the PACF laid bare an international network of Black activists who were poised to remake the world in a matter that best suited Africa and her descendants. Confident about the road ahead, he adopted a more proactive role in organizing the subsequent festival.

The Second World Festival of Black and African Arts, in Lagos, Nigeria (1977) Less than two years after Algeria’s Pan-African Cultural Festival ended, Fuller informed a friend that he was “starting some agitation relative to the Second World Festival of Negro Arts.” Still disgruntled about FESMAN, Fuller vowed, “No Virginia Innis-Brown [sic] is going to represent the American delegation this time.”69 Making good on his promise, Fuller spent the next half decade communicating with African American artists from around

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the country and taking several organizing trips to Lagos. For several international reasons outside of his control, the Second World Festival of Black and African Arts almost never happened. Still, Fuller’s determination lasted through several changes in festival leadership, multiple American presidencies, perpetual funding issues, ceaseless international gamesmanship, a successful assassination, military juntas, and more than one coup in the host country of Nigeria.70 Despite all of these challenges, FESTAC ran for twentynine consecutive days, with more than sixteen thousand participants from forty-seven countries, making it the largest, most elaborate, and, perhaps, most anticipated international arts festival ever to take place on the African continent up to that point.71 Not only did FESTAC dwarf both Senghor’s FESMAN and Algeria’s PACF, but it also—no doubt because of Fuller and his allies—reflected the influence of the Black Arts movement far more than the previous Pan-African gatherings. FESTAC grew directly out of Senghor’s FESMAN in Senegal. At the first festival, Nigeria was selected as the “star country,” which meant the West African country was slated to host the next festival just two years later.72 However, a military coup staged in January 1966, a short two months after FESMAN, resulted in the follow-up event being postponed. A subsequent coup in July of that same year led many to believe that Nigeria’s instability might forestall the second festival from ever taking place. The coups and political instability further aggravated ethnic divisions within the country, which until then had been organized as a three-region federal republic. Matters grew worse in May 1967 when the predominantly Igbo Eastern region declared itself the independent Republic of Biafra. The Eastern region’s bid for autonomy threatened the Nigerian federal republic and ultimately resulted in a civil war. The split consisted of the Northern region of mostly Hausa people and the Western region of mostly Yoruba people allying to quash Biafra’s bid for independence and hold together the fractured federation. The civil war lasted three years, stalling all discussions of a follow-up festival until 1970. Even worse, the cessation of the war precipitated several military juntas, which gained strength from Nigeria’s booming oil economy of the 1970s.73 While the country’s political turmoil did not bode well for Pan-Africanism, the economic upswing from the oil made Nigeria’s leadership on the African continent seem all but inevitable. In the end, it was the revenues from the country’s oil that allowed the military juntas to push FESTAC forward.74 In 1971, when Nigeria’s festival chairman, General Chief Anthony Enahoro, visited the United States to establish a festival committee for the North American Zone—which included both the United States and Canada—Fuller flew

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Initial poster for the Second World Black and African Festival of Arts and Culture, which was slated for 1975 before being postponed. (Hoyt William Fuller Collection, series 15, poster, Atlanta University Center, Robert W. Woodruff Library)

to New York City to meet him and lobby on the part of African Americans. When Nigerian organizers initially decided to follow in Senghor’s footsteps and select a chairperson for the North American Zone, Fuller informed them that African Americans would never agree with their selection and that they wanted to choose their own leadership.75 Not only did Fuller want to avoid the debacle that took place in Senegal, but he also valued self-determination as an important facet of both the Black Arts movement and Pan-Africanism. In addition, by selecting the chairperson for the North American delegation, Fuller also hoped to prevent the US State Department from exercising its influence or control. These points were important because if taken together it also meant that Nigeria was essentially recognizing African Americans as a nation within a nation, both autonomous and acting separate and apart from the US government. It was a bold move on Fuller’s part. However, Enahoro accepted the editor’s conditions, leaving Fuller with a huge organizing challenge.76

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Fuller tapped his national Black Arts movement network to set up the regional scaffolding for the US section of the North American Zone. In June 1972 he hosted a national meeting at Johnson Publishing Company headquarters that brought together more than one hundred artists, activists, and intellectuals.77 At the meeting, attendees democratically selected the African American actor and activist Ossie Davis to serve as chair and Hoyt Fuller as vice chair.78 In addition, the group decided to organize into seven regions, each with its own point person. These regions were the Northeast, Mideast, Upper South, Lower South, Midwest, Southwest, and Far West. Some of the people selected as regional point persons were legendary jazz drummer Max Roach; Boston-based arts educator and institution builder Elma Lewis; director of the Studio Museum in Harlem, Ed Spriggs; and poet, activist, and writer Kalamu ya Salaam. Fuller also recruited three of his most trusted Chicago allies: Haki Madhubuti, Jeff Donaldson, and Abena Brown. Brown’s participation proved to be particularly important, as she frequently turned her home into a meeting space and used her position at the YWCA to fund organizing staff. Meanwhile Donaldson and Madhubuti, both professors at Howard University, leveraged resources from their institution, which eventually housed the US Committee headquarters.79 The group also organized an at-large committee that included public historian and JPC editor Lerone Bennett, Nathan Hare of the Black Scholar, the Atlanta-based artist-critic Richard Long, and Woodie King, the New York–based theater buff.80 By bringing in this particular cast of individuals, Fuller simultaneously ensured that African Americans would lead the US delegation and that the committee would reflect the political orientation of the Black Arts movement. On the whole, the committee consisted of individuals who were both willing to openly criticize US policy and committed to the politics of Black nationalism.81 Political struggles among African Americans along the lines of race and class were critical in shaping the composition of the US Committee. At the very moment when Pan-Africanism seemed to take root as a popular political idea among African Americans, major ideological differences exploded. The high point of relative unity was evident in the formation of the African Liberation Support Committee (ALSC) and the African Liberation Day demonstration in Washington, DC, in 1972. However, this working unity among African Americans quickly collapsed into dueling political slants at the Sixth Pan-African Congress (6PAC), in Tanzania in 1974, and hardened in subsequent discussions about Angola and Southern Africa by 1976.82 The outcome was the formation of a hard line between the most conservative Black nationalists and the staunchest African American Marxists. While

112  .  chap ter 3 a tremendous number of positions existed between these two poles, most interpreted it as a struggle between those who believed that racism was not just intrinsic to white people but the sole obstacle for African Americans. On the other side were those who argued that capitalism and class formations led to the exploitation of particular social stratums of African Americans and other working people across the globe, including whites. Fuller tried his best to remain neutral in the feud, referring to it as “clique fighting” and “a replay of that tired and destructive drama . . . [which reoccurs] with every generation.”83 In hindsight, Fuller’s willingness to publish both sides, and his passionate support of Guinea’s Marxist president, Sekou Toure, beginning as early as 1959, should have been an indication of his willingness to engage with both race and class.84 Nevertheless, his close friendship and organizational connections with Madhubuti, who emerged as one of the loudest Black nationalist voices in the debate, combined with a refusal to make a public commitment to one side or the other, led many to see Fuller as primarily a narrow nationalist. In addition, his tendency to focus on art, culture, and aesthetics seemed to denote an unwillingness to think through concrete questions of class and instead served as evidence of a commitment to Black cultural nationalism. The result was a glaring absence of African American Marxists or revolutionary nationalists on the US Committee. With Marxist and revolutionary nationalist activists completely absent, the committee turned its line of struggle toward Nigerian festival organizers. Once in place, Fuller and US Committee members turned their focus on the framing of the festival, pushing Nigerian organizers to accept a framework that better captured the spirit of the Black Arts movement. As with previous festivals, the name helped to delineate who was allowed to participate or attend and who was granted a prominent or subsidiary position within the festival.85 During a meeting at Brown’s home in Chicago, Fuller and other US Committee members pushed Nigerian organizers to include “Black” in the official title of the festival.86 For Fuller it was important that the festival capture the spirit of the Black Arts movement by finally putting the word “Negro” to rest. At the same time, Fuller and US Committee organizers bristled at the idea of simply using the word “African.” According to Brown, it was essential to the US Committee that the festival captured the broad scale of global Pan-Africanism, accounting for both Africa and the diaspora.87 At the same time, Nigerian organizers felt pressure from previous Senegalese festival organizers who were lobbying for FESTAC to be an affair exclusively for “Black Africans” from sub-Saharan countries. In an effort to get back at Algeria for their criticism of Negritude during the PACF, Senghor

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lobbied to exclude North African countries, because they were “Arab” and lacking significant Black populations.88 In response, Nigerian festival organizers conceded to Fuller’s stipulation to include the word “Black” in the official title while simultaneously refusing to cave to Senghor’s North Africa/ sub-Saharan divide. In the end, Nigeria’s organizers agreed to name the event the Second World Festival of Black and African Arts and Culture, reflecting Fuller’s imprint on the major international event.89 Still, there were larger challenges unfolding within Nigeria that Fuller could not influence. As the event grew closer, Fuller became increasingly frustrated with Nigerian festival organizers. His frequent trips back and forth to the host country allowed him to see a number of organizational challenges that stemmed from the military bravado and disarray of the Nigerian state. For example, US Committee member Richard Long remembers Fuller growing frustrated with power-obsessed military men who controlled the country but knew very little about art and culture.90 There was also widespread talk of embezzlement by members of Nigeria’s International Festival Committee, which resulted in several arrests and sensational headlines in the Nigerian Daily Times.91 These issues were further compounded by the military government’s decision to shell out over 144 million naira—the equivalent of $230,400,000, at the time—for Bulgarian private contractors to build the major festival sites, including a national theater and national stadium, while much of the country remained impoverished. Festival organizers also pushed elderly farmers off their homelands, only to turn around and tap an Italian construction company to erect 2,400 modern living quarters for 120,000 festival attendees, called FESTAC Village.92 Present at multiple festival organizing meetings in the host country, Fuller was privy to the Nigerian government’s tendency to flex its military muscle at the expense of local residents. From his perspective, Nigeria seemed hell bent on replicating Senghor’s neocolonial mistakes— exacerbating class divides within the country while simultaneously enriching private European coffers. But instead of borrowing from the French, as Senghor had done, Nigerian organizers were using the country’s oil money to underwrite FESTAC. The multitude of problems stemming from Nigerian festival organizers only added to the issues Fuller confronted within the US Committee. One of the committee’s major hiccups revolved around Ossie Davis’s role as chair. Due to his hectic acting schedule, Davis was unable to carry his share of the workload, essentially leaving Fuller to pick up the slack. Witness to the toll the actor’s absence was taking on Fuller, US Committee members met in Chicago and decided to remove Davis from his post. In his place they

114  .  chap ter 3 promoted Donaldson, who was already serving as the committee’s executive director. But the change in leadership was just one of the problems.93 Another problem stemmed from Nigeria’s inability to stick to a permanent schedule for the festival. This resulted in Fuller and the US Committee’s inability to book major African American musical performers, who required a firm schedule for touring dates.94 The committee also struggled to raise money, falling well short of the projected $3.5 million budget, which included the funds to cover travel expenses.95 Even worse, their inability to fund-raise also harkened back to FESMAN, as it seemed Fuller was repeating the failures of Virginia Inness-Brown, whom he claimed failed to raise money because of her unwillingness to go “directly to the black masses.”96 Taken together, Fuller and the US Committee faced significant obstacles that seemed increasingly insurmountable as FESTAC grew closer. On the eve of FESTAC, Fuller and the US Committee took advantage of post–Jim Crow shifts in US electoral politics. Working within a paradigm of racial solidarity, they turned to the budding crop of African American elected officials for support.97 This included Georgia state senator Julian Bond, who had been a member of the then defunct SNCC, and Atlanta’s mayor Maynard Jackson. Fuller and the US Committee also garnered support from several members of the Congressional Black Caucus, including Charles Rangel of New York, Ralph Metcalfe of Illinois, Louis Stokes of Ohio, Yvonne Brathwaite Burke of California, and “Mr. Africa” himself, Charles Diggs of Michigan, who also served as chairman of the Subcommittee on Africa for the Committee on Foreign Affairs.98 Together they convinced Andrew Young, the newly appointed US ambassador to the United Nations and former confidante of Martin Luther King Jr., to approach President Jimmy Carter and the US State Department for support.99 Coincidentally, Carter’s administration was hoping to close the book on the Africa policy of the previous secretary of state, Henry Kissinger, whose post was concluding with the outgoing administration.100 With mixed feelings, Fuller and US Committee leaders accepted federally chartered planes but refused to cede full control over the list of African American artists travelling to FESTAC.101 It was a compromise that essentially left the core of their agenda intact by still allowing Black Arts movement activists to remain in the fore while also “bear[ing] no responsibility for the exercise of [US] state power.”102 Still, Carter’s administration used African American participation in FESTAC as a bargaining chip for American imperial interest.103 Although US federal involvement in FESTAC was far less than it was in FESMAN, the pact with the Carter administration undermined Fuller’s desire to remain completely autonomous—separate and

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Official poster for the Second World Black and African Festival of Arts and Culture, in Nigeria (Hoyt William Fuller Collection, series 15, poster, Atlanta University Center, Robert W. Woodruff Library)

apart from the US state. As a result, the administration was able to use support for the US delegation at FESTAC as a means to strengthen diplomatic relations with oil-rich Nigeria.104 This new relationship also pleased Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo, whose pro-capitalist outlook correctly saw the United States as an ideal free market to offload Nigeria’s oil surplus. In the end, Fuller was unable to completely break the pattern set by Inness-Brown, and the US delegation once again found themselves serving as pawns in a larger geopolitical game of chess. On January 15, 1977, FESTAC opened with a grand parade at the newly constructed sixty-thousand-seat national stadium. With plans for a month of Pan-African music, drama, literature, and intellectual debate, Nigeria’s head of state and festival chairman made their opening addresses. Then came the festival anthem, a portion of the poem “For My People,” by the renowned

116  .  chap ter 3 African American poet of the Chicago Renaissance, Margaret Walker.105 The decision to use Walker’s work as the FESTAC anthem no doubt reflected Fuller’s influence on the festival organizing. In part, he and the US Committee had persuaded the Nigerian state—an emergent power player on the African continent and in the global oil economy—to accept their vision of PanAfricanism, successfully shaping this international African pageant through the national network of the Black Arts movement. It was clear, though, that the nation-state remained supreme in its ability to wield power. Fuller was deeply troubled by the Nigerian state and the US Committee’s dependency on the American federal government, so he chose to stay home as FESTAC opened.106 While in Atlanta, he missed the chaos that ensued at the opening ceremony when Nigerian soldiers viciously beat and killed local Lagosians who were eager to enter the stadium for the free opening ceremony.107 Indeed, FESTAC had begun, and the international promise of Pan-Africanism remained riddled with problems emanating from the state level. During the 1960s and 1970s, the struggle for liberation among African Americans and Africans on the continent dovetailed closely with the pursuit of power. Drawing inspiration from one another’s struggle, people on both sides of the Atlantic embraced nationalism as a means to liberation. For most but not all African statesmen, the idea of nationalism was tied to statehood. Independent control of the nation-state—with all of its internal apparatuses— seemed to be an almost universally accepted first step toward liberation.108 At the same time, many Black Arts movement activists, like Fuller, embraced a notion of Black nationalism that drew inspiration from African independence struggles without hinging totally upon the nation-state. Instead these articulations were built on loosely defined ideas of community control and Black self-determination. While not completely congruent, both conceptions of nationalism stretched to embrace some form of Pan-Africanism or international solidarity along continental or racial lines. Nevertheless, the nation-state seemed to reign supreme, with African statesmen using the power of the state to prioritize their interests over the respective citizens while dictating the political terms of Pan-Africanism. Across each of the three festival gatherings, the scale and slant of PanAfricanism continued to shift based on the politics of the governing body. During the First World Festival of Negro Arts, in 1966, Senghor quietly coupled his global Pan-African embrace with a subtle acceptance of French economic hegemony. Then in 1969 at the First Pan-African Cultural Festival, Pan-Africanism was seen as a driving force for a revolutionary, emancipated,

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and united continent. The FLN’s explicitly socialist Pan-Africanism included support for African Americans and sub-Saharan African nations not on racial terms but in pursuit of a broader Third World revolution. Nigeria’s Second World Festival of Black and African Arts was brought to fruition by an antidemocratic, pro-capitalist, military junta. Nonetheless, FESTAC represented the broadest global scale of Pan-Africanism while also exhibiting the spirit of the Black Arts movement and the clear evidence of Fuller’s organizing influence. Fuller’s experiences across each of the three Pan-African gatherings must have felt like a roller-coaster ride. Speeding over the course of a decade, his journey was made up of the twists and turns of Cold War politics, the high points of national independence, downward spirals of political instability, and low points of recognizable Western neocolonialism. After exposing how Senghor’s Negritude statism complied with Western imperial interests in 1966, misinterpreting the Algerian FLN’s continental Pan-Africanism for something more race-based in 1969, and successfully getting Nigeria to embrace global Pan-Africanism in 1977, Fuller had amassed more than a decade of wins and losses on the African continent. Nevertheless, his commitment to Pan-African politics remained unflinching. Although he initially criticized the development of hierarchical class formations in post-independence Senegal and applauded Algeria’s more radical commitment to socialism and Third World politics, Fuller all but ceded questions of political economy to the pro-capitalist, oil-rich Nigerian military dictatorships. In many ways FESTAC seemed to undermine Fuller’s belief that “freedom for Black people all over the world will come only when Black Africa holds genuine power.”109 Perhaps this is why, less than three years after FESTAC concluded, he informed a friend about his plans “to go to Dakar to talk with Senghor personally about the next Festival.”110 As late as 1980, Fuller was still in pursuit of the ultimate promise of Pan-African power.

4 Scaling Back Closure, Crisis, and Counterrevolutionary Times We used to talk a lot in the Sixties about “unity” and “brotherhood” and “blackness,” and all that, and not many of us meant what we said. In the name of “blackness,” we exploit our own people, our own colleagues, our own friends. —Hoyt Fuller to Carolyn Rodgers, June 24, 1971 In 1976, the Johnson Publishing Company ceased to publish the important journal (Black World, formerly titled Negro Digest) devoted to the Black esthetic [sic], edited by Hoyt Fuller. Black scholars have not yet presented a plausible comprehensive analysis of why these shifts in orientations were occurring at that specific time. —St. Clair Drake, “Black Studies and Global Perspectives”

By the mid-1970s the Black Arts movement was quickly fading. The civil rights movement was dead, and the Black Power movement seemed to be reeling from a lethal concoction of state repression, ideological infighting, activist exhaustion, and growing public cynicism. Even worse, a rising tide of conservatism was emerging on the country’s political horizon. Times were indeed changing, and the country’s swing to the right would have deep implications for everyone, including Hoyt Fuller. Conscious of the shifting political terrain, Fuller published “Black Interest and Conservative America” as part of his March 1976 “Perspectives” column. In it he cautioned readers to remain vigilant of the “rear-guard activities of a constellation of social and political pundits who, under the rubric of ‘neo-conservatism,’ have been sniping away at Black gains.” He further declared, “There is no point in pretending

120  .  chap ter 4 we can afford to ignore these detractors; their power is considerable, despite its diminishment over the past decade or so.”1 Unbeknownst to him, Fuller’s ominous assessment proved to be prescient, hitting closer to home than he could have ever anticipated. Within days of the March 1976 column, John H. Johnson abruptly fired Fuller and managing editor Carole Parks. Adding insult to injury, the company’s president simultaneously ceased publication of Black World, effectively killing the single most important periodical of the Black Arts movement and shocking Black intellectuals across the country.2 Basing his decision on the internal—economic and political—interests of his company, Johnson was oblivious to the chain of events that he was about to set off. So were Fuller and Parks. Nonetheless, the sudden termination of Black World signaled the inevitable end of the Black Arts movement. At the same time, the struggle waged to save the magazine, and its editor(s), illustrate the development, challenges, and limitations of the Black intellectual community in the United States at the onset of the post–Jim Crow era. Though several scholars have marked the discontinuation of Black World as a watershed moment for the Black Arts movement, the actual story and history of events have yet to be told.3 Focused on the years between 1976 and 1981, this chapter recounts the circumstances surrounding the closure of the magazine and the subsequent establishment of First World: An International Journal of Black Thought. More than just an attempt to chronicle the life and death of a seminal Black periodical and its short-lived replacement, this chapter elucidates how the magazines’ respective trajectories embodied larger shifts and rifts within the Black intellectual community along the inextricable fault lines of race and class. In addition, it explores the very meanings of Black intellectual community in the 1970s while paying close attention to intraracial class politics. In essence, the chapter argues that the slow demise of Jim Crow exacerbated preexisting class (and ideological) divisions within the Black intellectual community and that these divisions—once inflamed—had a tremendous impact on Black institutions and the shape of Black intellectual praxis.

Black Intellectual Community and the Post–Jim Crow Era The composition, labor, perspectives, sites of activity, production, norms, and modes of expression of the African American intellectual community in the United States do not remain static across time and space. Instead, this community experiences shifts and rifts in relation to historic forces, material

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conditions, political landscapes, geopolitical currents, and ideological trends. Before the 1970s, African American intellectual life was generally fostered under the regime of racial segregation.4 Though a handful of intellectuals garnered considerable attention and, to a lesser degree, support from white institutions, most assemblages of African American artists, activists, scholars, writers, journalists, and teachers impressed Black intellectual life primarily through African American institutions such as historically Black colleges and universities, Black professional and civic organizations, and African American newspapers. This racialized structuring of African American intellectual life began at least as early as the 1870s during the legal origins of Jim Crow and remained intact up until the 1970s.5 Building upon civil rights desegregation efforts, the student wing of the Black Power movement helped to shift the locus of Black intellectual life in the United States in the late 1960s and early 1970s.6 For the first time, Black intellectuals found themselves on uncharted and shifting terrain that was marked by the legal end of de jure segregation and the entry of a sizeable numbers of African Americans into historically white colleges and universities. Black intellectuals occupied teaching positions at a growing number of historically white colleges and universities, Black students enrolled in significantly larger numbers, and entire academic units were created to systematically study Black life. This shift not only symbolized “the racial reconstitution of [American] higher education,” as Ibram Rogers has argued, but it also entailed the transmutation of the Black intellectual community, highlighting the extra-academic origins of a significant sector of that community during the outset of the post–Jim Crow era.7 As a result, the 1970s mark a unique, transitory moment in the trajectory of Black intellectual life. The Black intellectual community in the 1970s was a distinct formation shaped by both its past and present conditions. Fashioned in large part by the “interpretive and normative” forces of the long Jim Crow era, African American intellectuals of the period maintained an outlook on American racial politics that was similar to that of previous cohorts of Black intellectuals.8 Like earlier generations, Black intellectuals in the 1970s retained a belief in a “linked fate,” a definable collective Black identity and a historically rooted sense of community eked out within the limits of racial inequality.9 Through all of its terror, years of racial segregation effectively delineated the notion (and spatial boundaries) of community held by African American intellectuals in the 1970s. At the same time, the crucibles of civil rights, Black Power, and Black feminism marked the Black intellectual community in the 1970s with a unique feature of direct political engagement as part of its collective

122  .  chap ter 4 ethos and sphere of activity. Echoing this point, Farah Griffin argues that “the social political context [of the 1970s] . . . was one which held [Black] intellectuals accountable for their writings and actions. Many people engaged in diverse political movements; an even larger group knew that something was at stake for oppressed people.”10 Though ideologically multifarious, part of what it meant to be a Black intellectual in the 1970s (and late 1960s) was an unspoken stipulation to be engaged in, supportive of, or, at the very least, pay lip service to struggles against the dying Jim Crow regime. Professional titles and credentials notwithstanding, African American intellectuals perceived and made tangible the connections between the political arena and the scholarly world. The ideational crux of Black intellectual life in the 1970s—at the end of de jure Jim Crow—rested upon the tripartite pillars of a collective consciousness of the immediate segregated past, political engagement through the waning social movements of the moment, and a general sense of linked fate for African Americans moving forward. As a result of this triangulation, the Black intellectual community in the 1970s was qualitatively different from that which preceded it (and that which followed). In thinking about the 1970s and the end of the Black Arts movement, the closure of Black World and creation of First World help us to think about the Black intellectual community in the 1970s as both a configuration—of various scholars, artists, teachers, and activists spread out across the country—and, more importantly, a praxis. This praxis went beyond teaching, researching, producing knowledge, and engaging (counter)public discourse. It also emphasized the needs of Black collectives over individual careerism, although the two were often speciously conflated.11 Within this formulation, it was presumed that individuals occupied key positions in influential institutions (universities, foundations, arts councils, media outlets, elected office, professional and political organizations, etc.) not as markers of individual career achievement but for the welfare of a broader imagined community. Expectations were put on those who engaged in this praxis to understand their appointments in particular professional positions as a kind of advocacy, guardianship, or representational role for broader Black interests—a vocational extension to both the idea of commitment to struggle and the perception of linked fate. Though well intended, these group-based racial expectations were at best unmanageable and impossible to maintain and at worst fanciful and illusory due to competing, multifarious, and multiplying interests among African Americans across both regional and national scales and class lines. Simultaneously there was a purported goal to reform, expand, and, when possible, remake previously restricted institutions to be

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more receptive and responsive to African Americans. In addition, this praxis of Black intellectual community entailed the strategic leveraging of resources in support of Black political activities. During the 1970s such activities included support for political prisoners and activists facing state persecution; aiding militant anticolonial organizations in Southern Africa and other acts of transnational solidarity; state and federal lobbying; fighting for workers’ rights; bolstering community organizations and civic institutions; local electoral advocacy; backing various educational projects; and strengthening African American counterpublic institutions. At its core, the praxis of Black intellectual community in the 1970s was about reforming previously segregated institutions, establishing new Black institutions, and sustaining older ones that had served African Americans over previous generations. Within these overlapping and at times conflicting strains of praxis, the fight for Black World represented the latter, and when it could not be saved, a cross-section of African American intellectuals, activists, and artists sought to establish something new.

Reconciling Reasons, Rumors, and Revenues Weeks before Johnson fired Fuller and Parks and discontinued Black World, rumors swirled around JPC offices that such a move was in the works.12 The gossip was not a revelation to Fuller or Parks, who had heard persistent whispers since 1970 when Parks was first hired.13 For years it was obvious to JPC employees that the magazine was the most expendable in the company catalog. During the periodical’s second life, Johnson never invested an equal share of resources—adequate staff or money—to the magazine. The paper quality was very low, distribution and promotion were comparatively marginal, and, worst of all, Johnson prohibited the editors from raising revenues through advertisements.14 Ironically, the president’s blasé treatment of the magazine instilled a sense of editorial license and corporate expendability in Fuller and Parks. So when the hearsay circulated in February 1976, the editors were not surprised, only alarmed by how pronounced the rumors had become, leading Fuller to quickly query Johnson about the gossip.15 Johnson responded by assuring Fuller that there were no plans to fire anyone or to terminate the magazine.16 However, that could not have been further from the truth. Within weeks of their conversation, and without any explanation or sympathy, Fuller and Parks were let go without a two-week notification or severance package. Unemployed with no steady income at the age of fifty-three, Fuller could not help but ponder the underlining motivation driving Johnson’s

124  .  chap ter 4 decision. What was the point of Johnson’s cloaking the decision in secrecy? Why did he refuse to notify Fuller when asked directly? Why were the two editors barred from gradually phasing out the publication? Why were they not offered the opportunity to work on other company magazines, like Ebony and Jet, to which Fuller was a regular contributor? Had political differences finally eroded the years of mutual respect between the editors and owner? Beyond Fuller, many Black intellectuals had questions, and as their queries multiplied, Johnson felt compelled to answer them. Johnson offered the first of several public justifications in Jet, where he declared, “After long and careful consideration, we finally decided that we did not want to continue absorbing the recurring losses sustained from this one magazine.”17 According to Johnson, Black World subscriptions were declining, so the magazine was no longer paying for itself.18 Though Johnson did not detail the figures in his first public statement, JPC representatives later estimated a decline in circulation from 50,000 to 19,000.19 As subsequent outcry from the Black intellectual community escalated, JPC continued to exaggerate these figures, moving from initial estimates to a low of 19,000 down from 100,000 and later from over 100,000 down to 15,000.20 While the actual printing costs remain uncertain, the circulation figures reported by Johnson and company were disingenuous and intentionally misleading.21 In their final, formal Statement of Ownership, Management, and Circulation presented to the US Post Office in 1975, JPC officials reported total paid circulation figures at 28,059 and total distribution at 28,711.22 Although the numbers were down from the peak year of 1972—when mail subscriptions alone accounted for more than 20,000 copies, in addition to more than 33,000 units moved through newsstands—the actual figures at the time of discontinuance were 13,413 mail subscribers and 14,646 units sold through dealers, carriers, street vendors, and over-the-counter sales. These numbers, while down, still represented an increase between the years of 1968 and 1975.23 Even more, the postal reports make clear that the magazine performed much better when Johnson made it more accessible by printing more total copies. Contrary to Johnson’s contention, years later, that “Black World was discontinued because the readers stopped supporting it,” consumer interest in Black World was relatively consistent, with subscription numbers shrinking only with his continued whittling down of the total number of copies produced each month.24 In fact, Johnson and JPC’s official declension narrative was based on comparing Negro Digest numbers from the 1940s with subscription numbers from the 1960s. Such comparisons were deceptive, because in the 1940s Negro Digest was the only major Black magazine produced by the

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company; in the 1960s JPC produced several magazines, including the titans Ebony and Jet, meaning the Black print landscape was altogether different. The truth of the matter was that the claim of declining subscriptions was a red herring meant to lend credence to a different agenda, which Johnson made clear in the initial Jet article. Key in Johnson’s decision to terminate Black World was his plan to establish Fashion Fair, “a new fashion and beauty magazine, targeted to a booming audience of style-conscious Black men and women.”25 The new magazine was conceptualized as an extension of his wife Eunice Johnson’s successful traveling fashion show and accompanying cosmetic line.26 With Eunice slated to act as the magazine’s editor, all JPC resources and office space dedicated to Black World were to be reallocated for the new endeavor. Since the office space for Black World was already located on the same floor as other Fashion Fair projects, this was a matter of convenience.27 It meant that Johnson no longer had to worry about lack of space in his state-of-the-art, $8 million office building, which had been completed just four years earlier.28 Though Johnson never publicly admitted it, the company’s internal reorganization was also a reflection of external factors. Fashion Fair was JPC’s counter to the emergent Essence magazine. In a very short time, Essence had managed to cut into a significant market share of the Black periodical industry, which had serious implications for Johnson’s annual profits.29 Needless to say, part of Johnson’s decision to discontinue Black World was driven by his assessment of the Black periodical industry, the threat of Essence, and where he predicted the industry was headed. If Johnson perceived segregation and racial struggle as a thing of the past, fashion was the wave of the future. Outside of JPC offices, members of the Black intellectual community remained unconvinced by Johnson’s public rationale. Within days of Fuller’s dismissal, Chicago journalist Ellis Cose opened the floodgates for further inquiry and widespread speculation. In a Chicago Sun-Times article, Cose included a quote from Fuller that stated simply, “The publication was not profitable . . . because he [John H. Johnson] did not want it to be profitable.”30 Thus, in his first public statement, Fuller offered an alternative narrative that shifted the responsibility of the magazine’s success from a declared waning readership to the magazine’s owner. Alongside Fuller, Cose offered his own astute analysis that implicated JPC’s politics as an underlying yet unstated factor in the decision to close the magazine. Cose noted, “Black World had always been a rather strange child in the Johnson family. It was serious . . . analytical, and quite self-conscious. But what made it strange was its habit of attacking, and often denouncing, an American system with which the

126  .  chap ter 4 other members of the family (most notably Ebony) had seemingly made their peace.”31 Fuller went even further and personalized Cose’s point by describing Johnson as “a purveyor of the American ethic[,] of the American Dream.”32 Together Fuller and Cose shifted the conversation away from proprietary rights and profits to politics and propriety. This shift would frame the subsequent debate for the Black intellectual community. Within Black intellectual circles, one of the leading explanations for the discontinuance of Black World revolved around political differences over apartheid, Zionism, and South African–Israeli relations.33 Many of the parties closest to the situation maintain that Johnson terminated the magazine and fired its editors in order to curtail criticism of Israel’s foreign policy. For example, Carole Parks, one of the few people at the center of the debacle, contends that the magazine was closed because it reported on the links between private interests in Israel and diamond mining companies in apartheid South Africa.34 Corroborating Parks, Haki Madhubuti—one of Fuller’s closest confidants and someone who personally confronted Johnson on the issue—insists, “[Johnson] stated that Fuller was fired because he refused to cease publishing the Palestinian side of the Middle-East struggle and African support of that struggle.”35 Historical evidence supports both Parks and Madhubuti’s claims and confirms that Johnson was disturbed by Fuller’s editorial decisions on the issues. Reflective of a larger split in the Black political arena, the rift between the editor and the owner over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict started at least as early as 1970 when Johnson endorsed “An Appeal by Black Americans for United States Support to Israel.”36 The appeal, which was published in New York Times, called for US intervention in the Middle East as a means of preempting Soviet expansion. It also advocated resolute American support of Israel’s right to exist as a nation and American fulfillment of military provisions. Sponsored by the A. Philip Randolph Institute and authored by its executive director, Bayard Rustin, the appeal was signed by several Black elected officials, moderate civil rights activists, and a few members of labor.37 Far from being representative of African Americans in toto, the appeal depicted one pole in a larger debate within the Black intellectual community. If Johnson subscribed to a pro-Zionist position, Fuller and Parks remained on the opposite end of the political spectrum. Politically situated alongside the editors were groups like SNCC, the Black Panther Party, the Student Organization for Black Unity (SOBU), and the Third World Women’s Alliance, all of whom advocated for Palestinian self-determination.38 Furthermore, Fuller and Parks’s support for Palestine was bolstered by Israel’s shift in 1973

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toward renewed political, economic, and military relations with the racist apartheid regime in South Africa.39 In fact, the two editors’ stance was in concert with the majority of the United Nations’ members, who denounced the alliance for two consecutive years in the General Assembly.40 However, in this case the difference of opinion was not what mattered most. What took precedence over the contrast in political outlooks was where this divergence occurred. Using the most effective public outlet available to them, Fuller and Parks boldly objected to the political opinions of Johnson in the pages of Black World. Not only did Fuller use his “Perspectives” column to criticize both the appeal and the A. Philip Randolph Institute, but he also went a step further and published “A Resolution by African-Americans Condemning the Appeal by So-Called Black Leaders Calling for United States Support to Israel.”41 The resolution sparked the conversation about Israel’s role in the exploitation of South African diamond mines; referred to Johnson, Rustin, and company as “puppets”; and accused them of treason and “uncle tomming to appease Jewish interests.”42 The language of the resolution was audacious, to say the least. In an attempt to countervail the fiery resolution, Fuller and Parks simultaneously reprinted the original appeal on the consecutive pages. Their feign at parity, however, was offset by the “Perspectives” column, which, more than any other portion of the magazine, reflected Fuller’s personal political bent. Johnson later queried Fuller on the content of the volume, asking whether or not it was “anti-Semitic.” Though Fuller denied the charges by glibly hiding behind the approval of an undisclosed Jewish friend in New York, Johnson likely scrutinized the magazine’s content more closely thereafter.43 Nonetheless, this highly public intertextual exchange and subsequent articles on the topic were enough fodder to raise Johnson’s concern and provide him with a furtive justification, if necessary, to terminate the magazine and fire both editors.44 In reconciling all the stated reasons, speculative rumors, and persistently measured revenues, it becomes apparent that a confluence of events led Johnson to stop publishing Black World and fire both Fuller and Parks. As a businessman, Johnson interpreted subscription numbers as both a measure of profits and consumer interests, and Black World’s figures, though relatively stable for the third-tier magazine, were comparatively low when looked at in relation to the top-billing Ebony and Jet. In thinking primarily about the internal workings of JPC and its earnings, Johnson never thought to measure the magazine in relation to its kith and kin—such as Liberator, Soulbook, or the Black Scholar—which it was far above in terms of circulation

128  .  chap ter 4 numbers and recognizable branding. At the same time, Essence proved to be a formidable economic rival. JPC’s intended counter venture, Fashion Fair, required both workspace and people power in a company with considerable overhead and minimal space. These issues of costs, cash return, competition, and capacity, compounded by the explicit differences in political opinion over Zionism, apartheid, and American foreign policy—which no doubt embarrassed Johnson—all led to the abrupt death of Black World and the termination of both editors. But it also spurred a cross-section of the Black intellectual community into action.

Mobilizing to Save Black World In consultation with Fuller and Parks, the mobilization efforts to save Black World took place at both the local and national levels. Coordinated primarily through committees, national mobilization efforts tended to follow the lead of those at the epicenter in Chicago. This, in no small part, shaped the terms of dissent and means of struggle. The overwhelming sphere of influence held by Johnson and the powerful shadow cast by JPC in Chicago meant that the manner of conflict remained at a relative low-level of intensity. While deeply upset, most local supporters of Black World still held Johnson in high regard, seeing him as a productive and powerful—though, at times, troubling and heavy-handed—member of Black Chicago.45 In addition, JPC magazines helped to create the sense of a national African American community, marking Johnson with an equally prominent national stature without the local reputation of being a domineering businessman.46 As a result, many local supporters of Black World refrained from disruptive forms of protest and inadvertently allowed Johnson to shift the conversation back to proprietary rights. Nevertheless, the sense of urgency felt and exhibited by an impressive cross-section of the Black intellectual community helps to illustrate the singularity of the magazine and the respect held for its lead editor. In Chicago the first people to come to Fuller and Parks’s defense were their longtime allies Abena Joan Brown and Val Gray Ward. As a vehicle for their efforts, the two women founded the Chicago Committee for a New Black World. Brown and Ward embarked on a fund-raising campaign, soliciting funds from far and wide. The committee circulated a letter that read, “We know you are concerned about the demise of Black World magazine and that you share with many the feeling that the publication not be discontinued. There is no reason why it should if those who care accept the challenge to organize a NEW Black World Magazine through energy, creativity

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and money.”47 After ensuring personal commitments from both editors, the Chicago committee gathered donations from across the Black intellectual community. Within a couple weeks they scraped together close to fifteen hundred dollars from supporters including University of Chicago literary professor George Kent, visual artist and scholar Samella Lewis, Detroit’s Vaughn’s Bookstore owner, Ed Vaughn, filmmaker William Greaves, and Black Studies scholar-activists like Nathan Hare, Harold Cruse, and William Strickland.48 While quite effective and proactive, the Chicago committee’s immediate emphasis on the creation of a new magazine is telling. Perhaps better than their national counterparts, local Chicago intellectuals were well aware of Johnson’s tendency to be iron-fisted. Not only had they heard stories from Fuller, Parks, and other local JPC employees, but both Brown and Ward had come face-to-face with Johnson’s tyrannical ways before. While Ward’s previous run-in with Johnson revolved around the name of Negro Digest, Brown’s was in a different sphere.49 Originally Brown had named her independent theater company the Ebony Talent Association. After Johnson threatened to sue Brown over the use of the word “ebony,” Brown was forced to change the name to ETA.50 Needless to say, Johnson was a major powerbroker in the city of Chicago. His influence was vast, and few rivaled his place within the class structure of Chicago’s Black community. This certainly shaped the possible means of resistance for the Chicago committee and influenced their decision to focus on the creation of a new magazine instead of trying to directly engage Johnson or convince him to continue publishing Black World. Black intellectuals outside of Chicago took a different approach. On April 12, 1976, within days of Fuller’s and Parks’s dismissal, an outraged segment of the Black intellectual community showed up at JPC’s main headquarters in Chicago. Motivated by the sole purpose of confronting Johnson, the group consisted of several Black intellectuals from both the East Coast and Midwest.51 Counted among the group were historian and veteran activist John Henrik Clarke; James Turner, scholar-activist and founding director of Cornell University’s Africana Studies and Research Center; the Harlem Writers Guild’s John Oliver Killens; poet and writer Mari Evans; and several others. Not new to protest or confrontation, Johnson cordially invited the group upstairs to a conference room and offered beverages to ease the tension. When queried about his decision, Johnson stood firm on his alibi of declining subscriptions, emphasizing JPC’s economic interests. Unable to get around Johnson’s ownership rights, the group asked Johnson if he was willing to part with the moniker. He refused, claiming sentimental value to

130  .  chap ter 4 a name he had reluctantly adopted as a result of protest and public embarrassment some six years earlier. When subsequently asked if he would allow Fuller and Parks to leave with personal files and the subscription list, Johnson emphatically refused and drove an immovable wedge between the country’s leading Black magazine publisher and this representative faction of the Black intellectual community. The meeting made plain the limitations of Black nationalist ideas of racial solidarity, self-determination, and (collective) empowerment, which effectively collapsed in the face of intraracial class hierarchies and entrenched Black bourgeois interests. Once again the respect for African American entrepreneurship on the part of Black nationalists seemed to dull the radical potential of Black solidarity. In Clarke’s recollection of the meeting, “nothing was achieved except to rediscover what an astute Black capitalist would yield [and] not yield.”52 Growing directly out of the contingent that visited Johnson’s office, the National Committee of Concern Over the Demise of Black World was formed in coalition with the Chicago committee.53 Conceptualized and anchored by Robert Harris and James Turner, both faculty members at Cornell’s Africana Studies and Research Center, the national committee consisted of an array of Black intellectuals. This included Houston Baker, the talented, up-andcoming Black literary critic then working at University of Pennsylvania; Robert Browne, economist and head of the Black Economic Research Center in New York; Vincent Harding, founding member of the Institute of the Black World (IBW); Ann Smith of OBAC’s short-lived drama workshop and then vice president for academic affairs at Northeastern Illinois University; historian and Chicago activist Sterling Stuckey; Ronald Walters, activist and political scientist at Howard University; and John Henrik Clarke.54 Aside from maintaining their own individual relationships with Fuller, each of the national committee members also played some part in the struggle for Black Studies that was shaping both the discursive and organizational contours of the Black intellectual community. Their mobilizing efforts in support of Hoyt Fuller and Black World were perceived as an extension of that same struggle, which was simultaneously thought of as the intellectual arm of the Black Arts and Black Power movements.55 Along with drumming up support and acting as a clearinghouse for other local efforts, the national committee identified three main goals: (1) “to inform Mr. Johnson of sentiments within the Black intellectual and artistic communities, regarding the publications cancellation”; (2) “to applaud Hoyt Fuller’s work in making Black World a first-rate journal”; and (3) “to rally black intellectuals and artists to consider . . . alternatives.”56 With these goals

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in mind, the national committee amplified and went beyond the initial efforts of the Chicago committee. By encouraging people from across the country to write directly to Johnson, their national campaign brought letters of support from professors, activists, artists, librarians, university administrators, Black public officials, state employees, and even prisoners.57 Some individuals wrote to terminate existing patron status on all JPC magazines, while others asked for monies returned on their subscriptions to Black World. Historian John Bracey exemplified another trend in the letters, encouraging Johnson to turn Black World over to Black colleges in Atlanta.58 Several writers thought it enough to express their disappointment with Johnson and their disgust with the now unbridled consumerist ethos of JPC. Many, however, used their letters to express the costly nature of the blow by getting Johnson to come to terms with Black World’s importance to the Black intellectual community. By leveraging resources, volunteering their time, and organizing their energies, the national committee effectively galvanized a cross-section of the Black intellectual community for a brief three months and ultimately pressed Johnson to proffer another public relations spin. Noticeable in the efforts to save Black World was the conspicuous absence of key activists in the Black Arts movement. Chief among them was Amiri Baraka, who had been a mainstay in the magazine and a vocal critic of JPC. Also absent were movers and shakers like Larry Neal and Fuller’s old allies from OBAC, Abdul Alkalimat and Ebon Dooley. Though distant for a handful of different reasons, the contradictions around race and class were paramount among them. With the taxing debate between Marxists and nationalists inflicting catastrophic effects on both the architecture of Black politics and the Black intellectual community, longtime supporters like Baraka and Alkalimat had started to create some critical ideological distance between themselves and Black World, even though Fuller continued to publish and support their work.59 Ironically, in the case of Baraka, the distance was more as a result of Fuller’s close relationship with Haki Madhubuti than because of any genuine bad blood with the editor. Though Baraka claimed Fuller’s editorial practices were “schizophrenic” and ideologically inconsistent, he concurrently, and perhaps contradictorily, accused the magazine of reproducing narrow petit bourgeois nationalism in the same vein as his antagonists from Karenga’s US Organization, the East, in Brooklyn and Madhubuti’s faction of the Congress of Afrikan People.60 Simultaneously, Neal publicly demarcated growing differences in literary approaches, articulating what he deemed as the racial and cultural limitations of Fuller’s Black aesthetic criticism. He also echoed Ishmael Reed, railing against the narrow sensibilities

132  .  chap ter 4 of “the Chicago clique,” which again was a not so veiled shot at Fuller, Parks, Madhubuti, and OBAC.61 For example, in a private letter to John Leonard, editor of the New York Times Book Review, Neal wrote, “I am unable to write the requested piece . . . mainly because it would necessitate me saying some things that would be taken as an attack on certain sections of the Black literary community in Chicago. In my opinion, this group needs attacking but not in the New York Times Book Section. Perhaps, it should be attacked in one of [the] black magazines.”62 The differences, however, were ideological and not personal, as Fuller and Neal continued to collaborate, applaud forward motion in the waning movement, and exchange friendly correspondence.63 All of the men—Fuller, Neal, Baraka, Madhubuti, Alkalimat, and Dooley— continued to engage in movement-building work, even as their notions of “liberation” and “forward motion” started to vary. Nonetheless, Black World, as an intellectual enterprise, started to bear the full brunt of the political (and ideological) paradoxes of class and race. Though largely oblivious to the internal dynamics fracturing the Black intellectual community, Johnson was troubled by the flood of letters, negative press, and unwanted attention. However, it was not enough to make him reverse course. After producing a form letter to respond to the wave of mail from the national campaign, Johnson moved quickly to squash the growing dissent and brewing public relations nightmare.64 In the June 1976 issue of Ebony, Johnson included the phrase “Incorporating Black World Magazine” in the internal masthead.65 The four words were reprinted monthly from 1976 to 2000, almost twenty-five years after Black World was first discontinued. The new internal masthead allowed Johnson to publicly appear as if he was stabilizing the smaller publication while simultaneously giving the impression that he wanted to infuse Ebony with more hard-hitting political content. Though never explicitly stated, the new masthead also allowed Johnson to forcibly lay claim to the Black World moniker while backing down Fuller’s supporters. Johnson was a shrewd businessman, and his maneuvering offered a useful lesson in the fundamentals of post–Jim Crow era Black politics. If, under Jim Crow, intraracial class contradictions among African Americans were often sublimated or subsumed under a broader collective banner of racial solidarity—cast through the shared struggle to end segregation— supporters of Black World (and burgeoning detractors alike) learned that these same contradictions would become more pronounced and exaggerated within the emergent social structure of the Black community in the post–Jim Crow era. Fuller and his allies were confronted with the fact that

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the movements that had once breathed renewed life into their beloved magazine no longer held sway. During the Jim Crow regime, Johnson served as an advertising gatekeeper for white corporate entrée into the Black community, a powerful position that allowed him to profess to be doing both sides—Black America and white capital—a vital service in “desegregating the dollar.”66 With the civil rights, Black Power, and Black Arts movements effectively coming to an end, Johnson no longer needed to fashion JPC as a Black-owned company committed to Black struggle, vis-à-vis full entrée into America’s racially segregated marketplace. The end of de jure segregation made such a posture—whether genuine or ersatz—no longer obligatory. In addition, desegregation diminished Johnson’s singular status as corporate gatekeeper and required him to sink or swim in a more competitive, thoroughly integrated, and contrived “soul market,” which was part of an expansion in corporate marketing and American consumer culture. In other words, though still dependent upon Black consumers, Johnson’s reliance on corporate sponsorship had become increasingly important in the post–Jim Crow era. Whereas Johnson once juggled an opposition to Jim Crow and courtship of corporate patronage as dual interests, the end of de jure segregation freed him from being held accountable to any collective Black political agenda that went beyond a market-based racial pluralism. This effectively rendered Black World obsolete to Johnson’s grand economic schemes to maximize profits. Class interests and full participation in the free market, in this case, seemed to trump race as Johnson severed Black identity from radical political discourse and reduced it to nothing more than a commodity.

Starting Anew With all hopes of saving Black World dashed, a cross-section of the Black intellectual community embarked on a new mission to fill the void. This drive to establish a new magazine was emblematic of the praxis of Black intellectual community in the 1970s. As a publication generated by a broad collective effort, First World embodied a larger aspiration to establish alternative Black institutions that could respond to the emergent mandates of African Americans in the post–Jim Crow era. However, the shift in the locus of Black intellectual life from historically Black colleges and universities (and other Black counterpublic outposts) to historically white colleges and universities, coupled with the onset of national economic retrenchment, meant that the establishment of any radical, independent Black periodical would prove to be an uphill battle.

134  .  chap ter 4 The 1970s were both transformative and unforgiving years for the domain of print culture geared toward Black intellectuals. Great promise seemed to mark the earliest years of the decade, typified in the vibrancy of several radical periodicals like The Black Scholar. However, by the middle of the decade, numerous independent Black radical periodicals had disappeared, including Black Dialogue in 1970, Liberator in 1971, Soulbook in 1972, and Journal of Black Poetry in 1973. Largely as a result of the fight for Black Studies, new professional academic journals materialized each year. This simultaneous disappearance of radical independent periodicals and proliferation of scholarly journals concretized historic divergences and proved emblematic of broader shifts in the Black intellectual community during this period. Whereas most of the newer journals—such as Journal of Black Studies, Review of Black Political Economy, and Callaloo—found their stable institutional support, intended audiences, and principal aims within the realm of academia, the older journals had largely operated independent of universities. In addition, new periodicals aimed at popular Black audiences, like the Black Collegian or Essence, tended to eschew the revolutionary politics of the 1960s in favor of careerism and commerce. Any new periodical would have to thrive within a context where sustainability hinged upon either university subsidies or corporate sponsorship; unfortunately, First World lacked both. First World’s origins trace back to a meeting in John Henrik Clarke’s Harlem home on May 8, 1976. Along with Fuller and Parks, Madhubuti, and the local committee cochairs, Brown and Ward were in from Chicago. Both Robert Harris and Houston Baker were there on behalf of the national committee. Though Killens was absent, the Pan-Africanist activist and author Jean Carey Bond represented the old Harlem Writers Guild. The budding Black aesthetician and professor Carolyn Fowler came up from the Atlanta University Center. Black dramaturgy was well spoken for through the presence of Woodie King, founder of the New Federal Theater, and Paul Carter Harrison, a member of the Afro-American Studies faculty at the University of Massachusetts. Also present was Fuller’s old friend and writing confrère Eugenia Collier; his fellow theorist and critic Addison Gayle; and Charshee McIntyre, one of the key women in the African Heritage Studies Association (AHSA). Rounding out the bunch were Haywood Burns of the National Association of Black Lawyers and Fletcher Robinson, a physician from Washington, DC.67 Absent, but sending supportive communiqué, were Harding and Strickland from the Institute of the Black World (IBW); the editors of The Black Scholar, Robert Chrisman and Robert Allen; and AHSA’s president, Ronald Walters.68 Collectively this group laid the foundation for First

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World by leveraging institutional and personal resources, lending their pens, hosting fund-raisers, mobilizing social networks, and essentially working to anchor the magazine within the shifting economies of the 1970s. As he had done with Black World, Fuller outlined First World’s editorial vision, leaving much of the content to be fleshed out by contributors. In his prepared statement for the meeting, Fuller declared that any serious Black journal should be “concerned, first and foremost, with confronting the basic reality . . . that America is fundamentally a racist society, organized on capitalist principles.”69 Though committed to an analysis of racial capitalism, he maintained his signature ecumenical and dialectical approach to editing by insisting that the magazine encompass “responsible debate among differing individuals and proponents of varying philosophies.”70 Fuller also fed off of the insights of historic predecessors. Continuing to draw on the ideas of W.E.B. Du Bois, Fuller dismissed all divisions between art and politics and simultaneously emphasized “the connection between Afro-Americans and Africa.”71 After passing on several proposed names—such as Black Journal, Black Sphere, Black Continuum, Black Perspective, Afri-Concept, the New Black, Black Thought, Afri-World, and Afrikan World—Fuller and company settled on a name that merged the racial capitalist analysis with the explicit Pan-African sensibility. The name, First World: An International Journal of Black Thought, carried the day but still was not enough to solve the group’s most pressing problems.72 More than any other issue, lack of funding perpetually dogged Fuller and First World supporters. At the first meeting, the group had $1,351.73 on hand, with all other monies depleted through previous campaign efforts. At the same time, the group conservatively estimated the expenses for a one-year run at more than $400,000.73 To further complicate their financial woes, several of the attendees—including Fuller and Parks—refused to solicit money from major foundations, who were perceived to have their own political agendas.74 Instead the group followed the lead of The Black Scholar and established the First World Foundation as a nonprofit, tax-exempt, incorporated organization.75 They believed the foundation would allow them to finance the journal and support broader activities. In conjunction with the foundation, the group continued to fund-raise through letter campaigns. By July 1976 the committee had successfully scrounged together $11,555.90 from supporters including soul singer Bobby Womack, visual artist Murray DePillars, Emory University’s Delores Aldridge, and Howard Dodson of IBW. It was an impressive amount for a three-month turnaround but not enough to get First World off the ground.76 Still in need of immediate capital, Fuller and

136  .  chap ter 4 Brown secured a $25,000 line of credit from South Shore National Bank in Chicago, who held several committee members as $1,000 guarantors on the loan.77 It was just enough money to set up shop, squeeze out an initial issue, and develop a long-term financial plan. The establishment of a headquarters and working space was the final obstacle in starting anew. Although the editors had built their reputation in Chicago, the city no longer proved advantageous. Printing costs were high, and several printers flatly refused to take on the magazine, opting instead to avoid any possible fray with Johnson.78 As a result, Fuller and Parks agreed to set up the new operation in Atlanta. The move provided the two with a much needed change of scenery, a vibrant Black environment with low production costs, and a small supportive cast of comrades working in different sectors of the city. The relocation also served as a homecoming for Fuller, who moved in a home in Southwest Atlanta—not far from where his family lived in College Park—to double as the headquarters for First World.79 Still, the familiarity of the city was not enough to preclude the typical fits and starts of their transition, as Fuller and Parks would be confronted with a number of challenges just on the horizon.

Hoyt Fuller works on First World in his new home in Atlanta, which also doubled as the magazine’s office. (Hoyt William Fuller Collection, box 57, folder 48, Atlanta University Center, Robert W. Woodruff Library)

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Black Women and the Birth of First World The story of First World cannot be adequately recounted without considering the tremendous role played by Black women intellectuals. Women organizing in support of the magazine blurred the line between Black nationalism and Black feminism, which are often misunderstood by scholars as separate spheres of activity or distinct, sequential movement moments in the 1960s.80 For the most part, these women were Black Arts movement insiders critiquing issues of sexism and patriarchy while simultaneously collaborating with men like Fuller to promote Black women writers who consciously explored women’s experiences. Active during high and low points of the movement, many of these women remained supportive of Fuller through successive local, national, and international projects. As a group they would include fellow travelers like Ntozake Shange, June Jordan, Maya Angelou, and Audre Lorde and diehard supporters like Angela Jackson, Val Gray Ward, Mari Evans, Toni Cade Bambara, Eleanor Traylor, and Carolyn Fowler. Chief among them, however, were Carole Parks and Abena Joan Brown, who along with Fuller represent the nucleus of First World’s staff and, perhaps more importantly, typify a national body of Black women who were integral to the livelihood of the new magazine. Carole Parks’s commitment to First World was nothing short of remarkable. Starting with the relocation to Atlanta, no one was asked to make more sacrifices. Unlike Fuller, Parks had no connection to the Southern city. Initially eager to experience the change of environment, she quickly became disappointed with Atlanta and her fruitless search for community. Constantly wrestling with feelings of isolation, she worked tirelessly on the magazine. During the day she solicited articles, answered phone calls, edited submissions, organized content, identified illustrations, and generally continued the work she started with Black World. Without the support of JPC’s world-class workforce, she had to quickly learn new skills to keep the magazine afloat. Though Fuller carried his fair share of the workload, there were some things that even he was reluctant to do. For example, it was Parks who acted as the liaison between First World and the local printer, Roy Venable. Describing Venable as the prototypical white Southern yokel, Parks vividly remembered Fuller’s impatience when dealing with the typographer. She found herself serving as mediator, translating Venable’s thick Southern drawl to Fuller, the consummate Black cosmopolitan, and essentially ensuring First World’s production. In an ironic twist of events, Parks eventually joined Venable’s night staff. The short-term position provided her with a steady but small

138  .  chap ter 4 income to supplement her intermittent salary from the perennially strapped magazine.81 For someone whose résumé included several of the country’s top publishing outfits—including Esquire, Doubleday, and JPC—both First World and Venable’s second-rate shop were a far cry from the majors. Typifying a waning praxis of Black intellectual community, Parks passed on opportunities to climb the career success ladder in exchange for working on an independent magazine with a social movement focus. In her assessment, transformative politics and collective struggle outweighed financial success and corporate opportunity. In this sense, the long-term stakes were higher for her than for Fuller, whose decorated career had already peaked and earned him a spot as a mainstay in African American literary history. When asked about her decision to work on First World, Parks recalled two motivating factors: the camaraderie between the two editors and her own political commitment. Describing the two as “being in-sync,” Parks believed that a partnership of equals had grown out of an inherently patriarchal, father-daughter relationship. While at JPC, Parks fought for and gained Fuller’s respect as a mutual partner, demonstrating her position as a peer and not an understudy. In addition, the two editors’ politics were, for the most part, aligned. Both periodicals allowed Parks to fulfill her own desires of covering what she described as “the hard political stuff ” as opposed to the humdrum material found in run-of-the-mill American monthlies.82 In fact, it was both Parks and Fuller who pressed for the content in Black World that contributed to their termination. She was just as committed to covering the radical stories as Fuller. She also pushed him on questions of sexism and patriarchy, encouraging him to publish more work by and about Black women in both periodicals and to understand sexism as a major obstacle to Black liberation.83 Recalling what she believed were small, subtle, progressive shifts in Fuller’s gender politics, Parks understood this as an ongoing process but a worthy one nonetheless. In the final assessment, Parks was indispensable to the operation, and she shaped the course and content of First World (and prior to that Black World) in important ways. However, she was not the only influential women granting life to First World. From some seven hundred miles away in Chicago, Abena Brown played an integral role in First World’s existence. As one of the first people to spring into action when Black World was discontinued, Brown remained a stabilizing force from 1976 to 1981. Not only was she a central organizer in the meetings leading up to First World’s establishment, but she also remained one of the most active participants after the initial urgency dissipated. Most important among her activities were the management of the Sun Trust Bank account and her regular

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communication with board members and national supporters.84 Every month Brown delivered highly informative and painstakingly detailed reports about the periodical, keeping all board members abreast.85 Fuller often leaned on her to communicate urgent matters to supporters around the country. Fully committed to the project, Brown also leveraged resources from her position as head of the YWCA. For example, she employed Angela Jackson, who remembers working on tasks related to both First World and FESTAC while on the clock at the YWCA.86 Brown’s tried-and-true management skills and her no-nonsense persona went a long way in creating and extending the life of First World. She was also central in communicating the ethic of collective responsibility among supportive members of the Black intellectual community. Black women also played a key role in national fund-raising efforts for the magazine. They organized subscription parties and worked backdoor channels to grant money. For example, fresh off the success of her Tony Award–winning play, For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow Is Enuf, author Ntozake Shange headlined a subscription party organized by Woodie King at the Studio Museum in Harlem. Also present were Ruby Dee and several members of the Harlem Writers Guild.87 A similar event was held in Chicago with Gwendolyn Brooks as the draw. In Washington, DC, Howard literary scholar Eleanor Traylor organized an elegant affair at the African Museum of Art, with special guest Maya Angelou.88 Jean Cary Bond also organized a subscription party in Lower Manhattan, alongside Malcolm X’s ally and former Organization of Afro-American Unity (OAAU) member Peter Bailey.89 The multitalented artist Mari Evans hosted then Georgia state senator Julian Bond at a benefit party in Indianapolis.90 Similar events were held in Berkeley, Atlanta, and a few other places, frequently bringing in a few thousand dollars for the journal.91 Beni Ivey, of the Atlanta Black United Fund and the Sojourner South organization, worked her relationship with Atlanta mayor Maynard Jackson and UN ambassador Andrew Young to secure support from the Concentrated Employment and Training Act (CETA).92 Toni Cade Bambara, Ivey’s comrade in Sojourner South and an extraordinary author in her own right, helped secure a grant from the Coordinating Council of Literary Magazines.93 Such efforts temporarily eased the financial struggles of the magazine and lent reprieve to the already overextended editorial core. These organized efforts also reflected the sense of guardianship that Black (women) intellectuals adopted when it came to First World and the work of Fuller. The initial issue of First World appeared in January 1977, less than a year after Black World was discontinued. Some twenty-seven thousand copies

140  .  chap ter 4 were produced and circulated throughout the country via three strategically located distribution companies and a new mailing list of seventeen thousand.94 Prior to its first printing, subscriptions crept in at a snail’s pace, with an estimated fourteen new subscribers per month. In the wake of the inaugural volume, however, these numbers tripled to about forty-seven new subscribers per week during the first two months.95 Appearing viable to supporters, First World seemed to be gaining traction; the Black intellectual community would continue to have “access to an organ which defended Black interests and promoted the literature, ideas and the arts of Black people.”96 The fast start and growing circulation figures were cause for celebration, but they masked deeper funding and capacity problems that perpetually plagued the magazine’s staff. Fuller remained aware of these problems long before January 1977 and would continue to wrestle with them for the rest of his life; fortunately, he did not have to do it alone.

Fighting the Battle of Attrition Very few Black political periodicals were able to sustain themselves in the late 1970s, and by 1980 chances grew dimmer as the Reagan counterrevolution swept the country. In his brilliant artistic theorization of the period released in 1974, poet and vocalist Gil Scott-Heron referred to the moment as “Winter in America,” using the imagery of a barren wasteland, where all forward motion was frozen and all things good “never had a chance to grow.”97 In reference to the same conservative moment, scholar David Harvey wrote, “Historians may well look upon the years 1978–1980 as a revolutionary turning point in the world’s social and economic history.”98 No matter how we choose to theorize this moment in the mid- to late 1970s, historical hindsight tells us that the dreams of Black economic self-determination and sustainability, on the part of Fuller and company, slowly gave way to the realities of stagflation, retrenchment, and a hardening political order ruled by a reorganized, right-wing conservative dominance over a milquetoast Democratic Party.99 Barely getting by on the shoestring support of Black intellectuals, who faced their own challenges, First World floundered without major corporate subvention or university assistance. As the 1970s faded and the antiquated logic of Jim Crow was replaced by the more insidious logic of neoliberalism, First World found itself fighting the battle of attrition. Unstable already, the first major blow came when Parks was forced to leave the operation in order to obtain a steady income. During the entire year of 1977, she and Fuller had split a mere $14,667 of First World monies,

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plus the small amount in his saving account.100 After picking up necessary part-time work in the printing shop at night, Parks remained exhausted and still unable to make ends meet.101 During the entire time in Atlanta, she was overworked, underpaid, and socially isolated—three conditions that were neither familiar nor ideal for a young, talented editor of her caliber. Though she found it emotionally difficult, Parks had to leave her work at First World and take a full-time job in the Southern Christian Leadership Conference’s (SCLC) Atlanta office before eventually returning to Chicago. Her decision to leave Fuller was difficult for both parties, though they understood the circumstances. They had worked as joint editors for almost a decade, and Fuller knew quite well that Parks had given her all during their time together.102 In an interview years later, Parks noted that she was partly motivated by a desire for personal growth and change, and though he never explicitly stated as much, she believed Fuller understood.103 Fuller’s letters to Abena not only illustrate his empathy but also reveal his innermost fear that Parks’s departure foreshadowed the inevitable death of the magazine.104 After Parks left First World, supportive segments of the Black intellectual community rallied one more time. The exchange between Black political scientists William Strickland and Ronald Walters encapsulates the earnest conversations that ensued: I don’t know how well you know Hoyt Fuller but I recently talked to him and he is holding up First World all by himself; answering letters, answering phones, soliciting manuscripts, editing manuscripts, etc. He is subsisting on his savings. . . . Very soon he [is] going to have to decide whether to get a job himself and let the magazine go while he still has money left or deplete all his resources and see it go under anyway. That it seems to me would be disastrous and a sad commentary on the black intellectual community.105

Though it was not her fault, Parks’s departure had the impact of bifurcating the efforts of supporters. Many members of the Black intellectual community were motivated by the primary goal of extending the lifespan of the journal. With only three issues released before she left, allies found creative means to help Fuller eke out another five volumes. At the same time, a growing number of individuals became concerned with supporting Fuller individually. These two overlapping yet distinct agendas motivated people in different ways. One act of solidarity, however, tied the two issues together and came from one of the most unlikely channels—an Ivy League university. Embodying the praxis of Black intellectual community in the 1970s, James Turner and Robert Harris of the Africana Studies and Research Center at

142  .  chap ter 4 Cornell University devised ways to leverage institutional support for Fuller and First World. Initially they offered to help fund issues of the journal and provide support staff, but then they settled on the idea of extending Fuller an offer as a distinguished writer-in-residence.106 Turner explained in a letter to Fuller, “We have expressed concern to support your role as editor of First World—which is unable to pay an effective salary. . . . We would like to again offer the proposition for a part time teaching position with us for the next academic year.”107 Requiring Fuller to be in Ithaca once a week to teach, the Distinguished Visiting Writer-in-Residence position granted a fourteen-thousand-dollar annual salary plus health care. Fuller accepted the position. The financial support and health care were timely, since he needed to undergo an invasive back surgery that would briefly debilitate him and require his use of a cane for several months.108 But the visiting position had its downside too. The weekly travel from Atlanta to upstate New York was both time-consuming and exhausting. In addition, Ithaca, New York, was bonechillingly cold, overwhelmingly white, and deeply racist.109 So much so that Fuller declined to accept Turner’s subsequent offer of a full-time permanent position with editorial support staff. In addition, even though the Africana Center functioned as a relatively self-determined Black autonomous space on Cornell’s predominantly white campus, Fuller may have understood the arrangement as evidence of the Black intellectual community’s growing dependency on historically white institutions of higher education.110 The locus of the Black intellectual community had shifted, and Fuller’s idea that Black public subscribers would provide the financial base and source of stability for First World now seemed to be a fleeting dream. As First World’s economic prospects seemed to be at their bleakest, Kalamu ya Salaam contacted Fuller with what must have felt like a deus ex machina. The relationship between the two men went back to at least 1972, when Salaam first published in Black World and was awarded the inaugural Richard Wright–Amiri Baraka Award for Literary Criticism. Salaam subsequently became a regular contributor to the magazine and recalls frequently conversing with Fuller about Black editorial practices. As editor of one of the few Southern Black Arts publications, Nkombo, Salaam remained conscious of Fuller’s location in a tradition of Black editors—Alain Locke, A. Philip Randolph and Chandler Owen, W.E.B. Du Bois and Jessie Fauset, Charles Johnson and Carter G. Woodson—who had played a key role in the Black intellectual tradition. He and Fuller forged a relationship around what it meant to be an editor of a Black periodical, frequently bouncing ideas off of each other and supportively keeping track of each other’s work. Salaam also

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worked with Fuller during FESTAC and was among the Black intellectuals who mobilized to save Black World. More importantly, Salaam served as editor of the Black Collegian, and it was his leverage in this role that offered a way forward for both Fuller and First World. In February 1981 Salaam convinced the owner of the Black Collegian, Preston Edwards, to expand his company by investing in First World. Edwards, a former accounting professor at Southern University, had started the Black Collegian in 1970 as a family business and successfully parlayed it into a million-dollar enterprise.111 Using his brother Lawrence’s printing business, Edwards’s magazine homed in on a niche opened up by desegregation: job preparation and career advancement among newly minted Black college graduates and emergent professionals.112 The Black Collegian’s focus on the “job market” was lucrative for Edwards, because it piqued the interests of both public- and private-sector employers seeking minorities to “diversify” their staff.113 Much like Fuller with Negro Digest, the Black Collegian’s editor, Salaam, had altogether different interests from those of the magazine’s owner.114 Salaam was a product of the civil rights, Black Power, and Black Arts struggles and understood his role as a movement editor. Thus, the Black Collegian was filled with contradictory content stemming from the divergent politics of the

Hoyt Fuller poses with First World in hand while working as a faculty member of the Africana Studies and Research Center at Cornell University. (Hoyt William Fuller Collection, box 58, folder 27, Atlanta University Center, Robert W. Woodruff Library)

144  .  chap ter 4 owner and the editor. In a single issue FBI and navy recruitment ads rested right alongside hard-hitting articles on Pan-Africanism, white supremacy, Black women’s activism, and Black nationalism. Nonetheless, Salaam was able to convince Edwards that First World was a good investment. By March, Fuller and Edwards had brokered a gentleman’s agreement. Black Collegian Inc. would manage the business and printing operations of First World, buying in at 50 percent interest. The new agreement also allowed the office and editorial headquarters to remain in Atlanta at Fuller’s home.115 Just like his days at JPC, this arrangement granted Fuller space to be an editor and relieved him of the duties of business manager. The agreement also allowed Fuller to maintain total control over the content, though he agreed to layout changes meant to enhance First World’s visual appeal. This was similar to how things functioned in JPC for a number of years when Johnson acted as the underwriter and paid little attention to Negro Digest’s content. By partnering with Edwards almost exactly five years after being fired by Johnson, Fuller had essentially exchanged one wealthy Black male patron for another. Forgoing the trials and tribulations of cultivating an independent financial base via readership, Fuller traded an old corporate manager for a new one. More important, perhaps, from Fuller’s point of view, Edwards and Black Collegian Inc. provided a means to sustain First World and make it a solvent enterprise. Unexpectedly, an ill twist of fate prevented Fuller and Black Collegiate Inc. from consummating the deal. On May 11, 1981, less than a month before he was to meet with Edwards and sign the memorandum of understanding, Fuller suffered a fatal heart attack in Atlanta.116 His sudden death shocked all sectors of the Black intellectual community and served as a death knell for First World. And though Parks and Brown flirted with the idea of keeping the magazine alive, Fuller’s death made this virtually impossible.117 More importantly, even though Fuller never finalized the deal with the Black Collegian Inc., the looming contract was indicative of larger dynamics restructuring the Black intellectual community at the time. The unfinished deal symbolized an atrophying autonomy on the part of Black intellectuals. If the closure of Black World signified the death of the Black Arts movement five years earlier, First World represented the dream that there was still space for broad ideological dialogue and radical participation in Black extra-academic discourse. A short five years later, that dream had ended. First World’s death signaled the Black intellectual community’s inability to sustain an independent Black journal without having to also solicit support from historically white institutions of higher education or corporate sponsors.

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The growing influence of corporate and academic entities held larger implications for the Black intellectual community as both a formation and a praxis. By the end of the 1970s, Black intellectual praxis was no longer closely associated with political activism and the struggle for liberation.118 On one side, Black intellectual praxis was essentially being whittled down to academic routinization, with a growing focus on the maintenance of institutional space within America’s historically white colleges and universities. In other words, bureaucratization and routinization confronted those Black intellectuals whose economic well-being became dependent on the academy. Academia’s demands altered the terms of Black intellectual praxis so that, as John Bracey writes, “the audience was no longer the broader Black community—both inside and outside the academy—but rather institutional and disciplinary colleagues.” Within this context, Bracey notes, “the dynamic speeches, manifestos, calls to arms, rallies, marches, etc. yielded to memos to deans, provosts or chancellors, to interminable meetings about personnel decisions, outside evaluations, self-studies, fundraising campaigns and the like.”119 In sum, the energy, time, focus, and investment of the Black intellectual community had been reordered and contracted to service the burgeoning multiracial bureaucracy of the academy.120 Finally, even though Fuller anticipated the limitations of academia and its shrinking notion of Black intellectual praxis, he seemed predisposed—perhaps due to a sense of familiarity—to take a chance in a post–Jim Crow corporate world that had already proven to be unkind. Though he ultimately would succumb to it, Fuller underestimated the growing corporate influence and resultant commodification of the sector of the Black counterpublic that had once reared Negro Digest during its second incarnation. Up until the last year of his life, he seemed to believe that the same space would nurture First World. However, the racial and economic terrain under his feet had changed dramatically. Black identity was now closely associated with “soul” products, corporate inclusion, career development, and emergent narratives of “the new Black middle class” and civic and electoral normalcy.121 Corporate hegemony had altered the praxis of Black intellectual community, its range of discussion, venues for dialogue, and its terms of inclusion. Corporate influence situated an indubitable acceptance of conspicuous consumption and pro-capitalist dogma as presuppositions to enter any broad-based dialogue about African American politics or racial inequality. In order to gain entry into the conversation under the new corporate terms of Black intellectual praxis, one had to accept, or at least leave unchallenged, the righteousness of capitalism and, more specifically, private enterprise and its consumerist concomitant. Even if Black intellectuals wanted to raise

146  .  chap ter 4 hard questions about wealth redistribution and political economy to a broad African American reading public in nonacademic periodicals, such as the Black Collegian, Essence, or Ebony, they could rest assured that their writing would be surrounded, and in many cases interrupted, by FBI puff pieces and corporate ads about Cadillacs, Kool cigarettes, and cold cans of Colt 45.

5 Abandoning the Past Effacing History and Confronting Silence We were there in his house, not as historians or scholars, but as friends. —Angela Jackson, September 26, 2009 Since the overlap between history as social process and history as knowledge is fluid, participants in any event may enter into the production of a narrative about that event before the historian as such reaches the scene. . . . Most often, someone else has already entered the scene and set the cycle of silences. —Michel-Rolph Trouillot, Silencing the Past

On Monday, May 11, 1981, police found Hoyt Fuller’s lifeless body on the ground near his car in downtown Atlanta. After emergency medics arrived on the scene, Fuller was officially pronounced dead, with the cause of death determined as a heart attack. Six days later his body was interred at College Park Memorial Park, not far from where he passed away.1 Within days of his death, major newspapers and magazines across the country underscored his centrality to the Black Arts movement. One paper even referred to him as “the guiding light of artistic and literary flowering in the black community since the ’60s.”2 Initially stunned by his death, Fuller’s family held a small private ceremony in College Park, Georgia. Meanwhile, his close friends and colleagues organized a larger public memorial service, attended by James Baldwin, Toni Cade Bambara, and other African American literary luminaries. Across the country Black intellectuals found ways to honor the editor one last time. Some of them dedicated books and poems, as was the case with Houston Baker, Sterling Plumpp, and Haki Madhubuti.3 Jeff

148  .  chap ter 5 Donaldson painted an impressive portrait of Fuller and donated it to the Africana Studies and Research Center at Cornell University, the last institution to employ his recently deceased friend. In addition, several universities across the country hosted commemorative events. For example, Howard University professors Sterling Brown, Ronald Walters, and Eleanor Traylor organized a memorial called “Remembering Hoyt: In His Own Words and Those of Some of His Friends.”4 Still others commissioned institutional space in Fuller’s name.5 On a few occasions, these moments of mourning provided the first opportunity for Fuller’s colleagues and family to meet. In these memorial spaces Fuller’s family members were granted their initial sense of his national stature among Black intellectuals. At the same time, movement comrades found themselves face-to-face with Fuller’s biological family members, who most never knew existed. While these collective moments of mourning helped frame the dominant narratives about Fuller’s place in the Black Arts movement and the larger African American intellectual tradition, they simultaneously illustrated and produced a collective silence surrounding Fuller’s sexual life. Over time, the silence around Fuller’s sexuality has been replicated in the archives and simultaneously replicated throughout the scholarship.6 This chapter pierces the silence around Fuller’s sexuality by exploring how “Black sexual politics”—which Patricia Hill Collins defines as “a set of ideas and social practices shaped by gender, race, and sexuality that frame Black men and women’s treatment of one another, as well as how African Americans are perceived and treated by others”—shaped both the life and the afterlife of Hoyt Fuller.7 Furthermore, the chapter maps the ways that silences around Fuller’s sexuality have been both constructed and deconstructed over time and space. It identifies exactly who helped manufacture these silences, speculates about the factors that led to their production, gestures to the contexts out of which they emerged, and illuminates rare moments when some of these silences were punctured. By mapping the production (and shattering) of silences, the chapter offers insight into how Black Arts movement activists responded to Fuller’s sexuality—not in poems or essays but in real time. Fuller’s intimate life—as a man who had sex with other men (and women)— troubles conventional wisdom about the Black Arts movement and Black nationalism of the 1960s. Instead of being simplistic, dogmatic, or uniform in their thinking, activists and participants in the Black Arts movement thought about sexuality in ways that were far more complex, varied, and inconstant than the existing scholarship suggests.8 Moreover, the limited knowledge

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we can aggregate about Hoyt Fuller’s intimate life serves as a by-product of a complicated relay of several historical actors, each with their own respective shifting agenda, fluid notions of Black sexuality, and varied methods of historical intervention. Needless to say, there remains a desperate need to shift the scholarly conversation concerning sexuality and the Black Arts movement away from a strict focus on literary expressions of heterosexism and instead consider how Black sexual politics shaped everyday decision making while also influencing the history-making process. In order to take up this challenge, the remainder of the chapter moves in a different direction from that of many of the dominant trends in Black Queer Studies. Instead of turning toward ethnography, a priori deduction, or taxonomy, it seeks to attend to the dearth of “historical thinking” in the field.9 Anchored by assumptions in the work of early Black Studies scholars who situated history as a cornerstone of intellectual inquiry, the chapter lobbies for the idea that studies of Black sexuality (and the social construction of gender) necessitate historicization.10 As a result, the chapter also avoids ahistorical use of the notion of “queer” that roots human sexuality in a transhistorical narrative and logic of identity politics, which actually came to fruition in an explicit manner in the United States during the 1960s.11 “Queer” as a contemporary catchall phrase often eschews historical context while also imbibing political meaning and resistance into everyday acts of human sexuality and explicit (and inexplicit) declarations of identity. Instead of using the word “queer,” and running the risk of situating Fuller as a subjugated “queer hero” being rescued and recovered from the past, the phrase “intragender eroticism” is borrowed from Marlon Ross and employed for a variety of reasons.12 First, it captures Fuller’s experiences as a person who was invested in a particularly masculine gender performance and had intimate sexual relationships with other men who were also invested in that same performance. In addition, the phrase leaves room to account for the ways Fuller struggled with his own internalized homophobic ideas, even while maintaining these sexual relationships. And, perhaps most importantly, it is open-ended enough to account for the fact that no evidence exists to suggest that Fuller ever articulated a larger political project or identity based on his sexual life. In other words, although the trend is to read sexuality and gender as “texts” or “performances” that are inherently tied to resistance, the chapter presumes that all texts, interpretive meanings, and even gender performances—like silences—emerge within specific historical contexts and remain contingent upon the ideas accessible to people existing within the particular social and historical circumstances under consideration.13

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Historical Production and Cycles of Silence In his masterful study of history, power, and the Haitian Revolution, anthropologist Michel-Rolph Trouillot argues that all historical narratives are constituted, in part, by a bundle of silences. In his assessment, these silences enter the process of historical production at four points: (1) through the making of primary sources, (2) during the organization and structuring of archives, (3) throughout the writing of historical narratives, and (4) at the moment of retrospective significance. Although discrete, these points layer and build upon one another to disrupt any one-to-one relationship between a historical occurrence and a historical account. Collectively these layers create what Trouillot refers to as “the cycle of silences” set in every production of history.14 Building on the work of Trouillot, we could think of a “cycle of silences” as a series of events or set of actions taken over a finite period of time that are meant to simultaneously produce a desired account and erase particular historical traces of counter or competing narratives. The repetitive or routine aspect of a cycle is reflected in the fact that the same four points of production, or intervention, structure all “cycles of silence.” Nevertheless, the different types of activity at each of these junctures obviously leads to varied implications for the specific historical event that is under consideration. That is, those who hope to produce certain silences in a historical record have a range of methods that can be used to fashion their desired outcome. Furthermore, the specific methods used also have the potential of resulting in a variety of affects on the recounting of the historical event or narrative in question, with some methods producing far greater omissions than others. Yet Trouillot’s four points of production remain constant. Still, it is important to remember that the people who set the cycle of silences are also distinct, each with their own motivations and corresponding levels of awareness in the overall process. Ultimately, the means used to scrutinize and disaggregate any particular cycle of silences requires measures that are specific to the unique set of players and circumstances. As the remainder of this chapter illustrates, the silences penetrating the history of Fuller’s sexuality have been (re)produced thus far at three junctures. Fuller initially set the cycle of silences during the course of his life, often aided or obstructed by those around him. Immediately after his death, three of his closest allies perpetuated the cycle by building on the foundation that he laid. Finally, another intervention occurred during the process of organizing and opening the archive to the public. Though discrete, each attempt to control the historical record built upon previous efforts yet remained

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incomplete. Put another way, though various participants were able to alter the primary source material and thus the historical record, they were not able to completely eradicate the historical traces of Fuller’s sexual life. Although incomplete, the archival traces remain stubbornly extant, surviving several attempts at erasure. Moreover, in the absence of extensive archival materials, oral history, which incorporates the voices of some of Fuller’s key associates, has remained essential in unpacking the cycle of silences permeating the archive.15 These interviews assist in both patching and, more importantly, explaining the creation of lacunae in the accessible records.

Setting the Cycle: Dissemblance and Discretion Before anyone else, Hoyt Fuller set the cycle of silences permeating the historical record about his sexuality. Existing archival material and interviews suggest that he used a variety of methods to project an urbane, upstanding, heteronormative Black masculinity that remained serviceable to multiple social projects spanning the course of his life. These aforementioned sources hint at how Fuller etched out alternative spaces—both in the United States and abroad—that allowed him to cultivate his same-sex sexual desires and

A young, clean-shaven Fuller poses in front of flowers for an unknown photographer. (Hoyt William Fuller Collection, box 58, folder 4, Atlanta University Center, Robert W. Woodruff Library)

152  .  chap ter 5 explore intragender eroticism or, simply put, sex with other cisgender men. Though ultimately unsuccessful, Fuller went through great pangs to ensure that his intragender sexual social circles remained separate or concealed from the majority of the people in his life. His attempts at partitioning these two social spheres can be traced back at least as far as the 1940s. In March 1943 Fuller entered the United States Army. He fought as a heavy machine gunner in the all-Black Ninety-Second Infantry Division—also known as the Buffalo Soldiers—during the Rome-Arno, Northern Apennines, and Po Valley campaigns that took place in the Mediterranean theater of World War II.16 While the US Army offered Fuller a unique homosocial space where intragender eroticism could quietly be explored, World War II marked a shift that saw the military become aggressively homophobic in its denunciation of “homosexuality” as a mental illness, “homosexual proclivities” as disqualifying deviant behavior, and “homosexual” as an unfit personality type. These policies ultimately led to what historian Allan Bérubé referred to as “an expanding administrative apparatus for managing homosexual personnel that relied on diagnosis, hospitalization, surveillance, interrogation, discharge, administrative appeal, and mass indoctrination.”17 It is impossible to determine whether or not Fuller had sexual experiences with men before joining the military or if he had started to identify as someone whose sexuality broke with heterosexual norms, but there is no doubt that he had to navigate this expanding administrative apparatus aimed at policing sexuality in the military. Since Fuller’s military records were destroyed in the July 1973 fire at the National Personnel Records Center, all we can do is speculate about his entry and tenure in the army.18 Like all men who joined the service during the war, Fuller had to undergo a mandatory psychiatric test that screened inductees for any signs of unfit behavior, which included same-sex dalliances. Although the sexual aspect of the exams was often based on ill-informed stereotypes that conflated sexuality and gender, such as “effeminate looks and behaviors,” they included and encouraged close scrutiny of any outward expressions of same-sex desire.19 These concerted efforts to keep men who slept with men out of the military stemmed from army officials’ belief that such men weakened morale, threatened discipline, and ultimately sapped the will of combat troops. Since Fuller enlisted in 1943, actively served, and was honorably discharged in 1945, it is safe to surmise that one of the ways he protected himself from the administrative (and rank-and-file) homophobia within the army was through dissemblance. According to historian Darlene Clark Hine, “dissemblance” refers to the ways Black women—and we can

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extend this to some Black men who sleep with men—project a veneer of transparency and disclosure while actively shielding the reality of their inner lives from potentially dangerous outside forces.20 If Fuller had same-sex erotic relationships before joining the military, his “honorable discharge” status upon leaving strongly indicates that he kept these intimacies under wraps during his mandatory psychiatric screening and two years of service.21 Although Fuller ran the risk of being labeled a “reverse malingerer”—the term for patriotic men who joined the army while masking their erotic desire for men from induction screeners—clear motives existed for concealing one’s sexuality.22 Being stamped as “homosexual” by the draft board could lead to workplace discrimination or termination, since employers were able to request draft records as a result of the Selective Service Act of 1940. In addition, the military’s “homosexual” designation also had detrimental implications for one’s family and respect within one’s community. Quite often entire families were stigmatized, facing social ostracism as a result of the negative classification. Even worse, the designation had the potential of causing rifts within families. Many men who had sex with men found themselves having to explain to parents, siblings, and even wives the military jargon accompanying their 4-F, or “unfit for military service,” status. This proved especially difficult for those men who were forced—in many cases, for the first time—to understand their sexuality and their identity as synonymous entities tied to their sense of self-worth. The stakes were even higher for African American men, who were often burdened by the belief that their successful participation in the war would translate into greater respect and fairer treatment for the entire race and the extension of legal protections within the United States. In the face of these very serious risks and high racial hopes, it is important to understand dissemblance as one of many survival strategies that Fuller would adopt over the course of his life. Closely tied to dissemblance is what Black Queer Studies scholar Jeffrey McCune refers to as “sexual discretion.”23 According to McCune, sexual discretion refers to the effort to privilege privacy, caution, and tactfulness as they relate to sexuality and social constraints. In Fuller’s case, sexual discretion allowed him to refrain from revealing certain information while also granting him relative freedom to shape his own circumstances and (non)public sexual relationships. Though McCune’s notion of sexual discretion is linked to the notion of “passing,” it is important to decouple the ideas here, particularly because “passing” suggests a masking of one’s “real” or “authentic” identity. Yet in Fuller’s case, no evidence exists to support the fact that he identified as “gay,” “bisexual,” or “queer,” nor can we conclude that he believed his sexuality

154  .  chap ter 5 to be part of his identity. In other words, having sex with men did not equate to a queer identity politics for Fuller as it did for so many people in the wake of the Stonewall uprising and gay liberation organizing of the 1970s.24 Keeping this in mind, it is important to avoid thinking of “dissemblance” and “discretion” as heroic forms of cultural politics or political action. Neither is inherently subversive or emancipatory. In fact, in the case of Fuller, dissemblance and discretion are better understood as survival strategies, since neither conjoined with efforts to dismantle social hierarchies built around sexuality. There exists no inherent call to collective action or proposal for social change in dissemblance or discretion. And while both acts provided him greater individual autonomy, his efforts at dissemblance and discretion did not advance an agenda aimed at fundamentally altering power relations along the axis of sexuality. One could even argue that in Fuller’s life, “dissemblance” and “discretion” worked as concessions to the dominant political order, because they naturalized political demobilization for men who slept with men. Nonetheless, his complicated amorous relationships provide some insight into how he used mundane modes of dissemblance and discretion to shape the architecture of his intimate and public lives and set the cycle of silences in the history-making process. Between 1958 and 1959, Fuller wrote several letters to a woman by the name of Nancy Dixon, illustrating his use of dissemblance and discretion. While it is unclear when and under what circumstances their relationship began, the earliest dated letter to Dixon housed in the Hoyt William Fuller Papers is from March 1, 1958, when Fuller lived in Mallorca, Spain.25 Like most of the dated letters written between March 1958 and September 1959, Fuller wrote about his experiences abroad. He covered a wide range of topics, including tasting new foods, purchasing bourgeois accouterments, odd dealings with locals and travelers, and more serious political issues, such as Jim Crow and American racism.26 He also wrote about meeting and knowing Nancy’s family, which indicates a period of public courtship. More importantly, he expressed his desire to see her “sitting nude in the living room,” which suggests that either a sexual relationship between the two existed or Fuller may have wanted one to exist.27 Undated letters to Nancy in the collection seem to support the former.28 Nonetheless, his letters to Nancy suggest that he maintained public romantic relationships with women during certain intervals of his life and projected a cosmopolitan heteronormativity. In several undated letters—which Atlanta University archivists presumed were written around the same time, between 1958 and 1959—Fuller and Nancy exchange amatory notes about marriage. Although Dixon’s letters are not

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included in the collection, it is clear that the two seriously pondered getting married and possibly having children together. Ultimately Fuller decided not to pursue marriage with Dixon, and he expressed tremendous guilt stemming from his hesitancy in making the decision. In a revealing letter he wrote: I know it is very late. Very late indeed. But what can we afford to rush now that we did not rush five years ago? . . . I know it is cruel. And I don’t want to cause you agony. I never have. . . . And rather than do that now, after all this time, I would rather simply step out of your life. That would leave you free again, as free as your feelings would leave you, until there is something more definite to do. . . . Marriage effects no miracles.29

Fuller went on to close the letter by penning, “Love you?—More than anyone else in the world who isn’t tied to me by blood.”30 Such letters to Nancy, when read in isolation, seem unremarkable. They situate Fuller as a heterosexual man suffering from a classic case of matrimonial cold feet. However, the complexities of his sexuality are laid bare when his letters to Dixon are read in relationship to other correspondence. From 1957 to 1972, Fuller remained in close contact with a man named Otto Tesch, whom he wrote to about everything, including his sexual and romantic life. In one of his letters to Otto, Fuller divulged, “Nancy was over last week. . . . I love her as much as I suppose I can love any woman, but it would be cruel to marry her. I know that now. I couldn’t bear hurting her as I am quite sure I would.”31 Fuller’s correspondence with Otto reveal a man who is disinterested in a heteronormative marriage but troubled by his culpability in causing the heartache of someone he loved. Guilt aside, the letters illustrate how Fuller used discretion and dissemblance to navigate the terrain of Black sexual politics. When it came to Nancy Dixon and her family, he projected a heterosexual persona that fit societal norms and shielded any signs of intragender desire. At the same time, Fuller remained quite transparent with Otto Tesch, whom he trusted with some of the most intimate knowledge about his life and sexuality. In this sense, Tesch was granted a different view of Fuller’s relationship with Dixon. It is also possible that Dixon may have (un)knowingly served as Fuller’s “beard,” allowing him to project a heteronormative, public relationship while simultaneously disguising his sexual relationships with men. Fuller’s efforts to conceal certain realities and control particular perceptions rest at the heart of both dissemblance and discretion. Although crucial to Fuller’s own sense of security and well-being, dissemblance and discretion were not always effective within the context of the Black Arts movement.

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A photograph of Fuller, likely taken in Mallorca by Otto Tesch. (Hoyt William Fuller Collection, box 60, folder 38, Atlanta University Center, Robert W. Woodruff Library)

Fuller was not able to completely control the narratives framing his sexuality among Black Arts movement activists and thus encountered a range of responses. Although most people believed he was heterosexual, many insiders were aware of Fuller’s same-sex relationships, with some finding out through coincidental situations. For example, Sterling Plumpp recalled a chance encounter with Fuller at a bookstore that tipped him off to the editor’s sexual relationships with men. Plumpp spoke with Fuller directly about his sexuality after witnessing his OBAC mentor’s stealthy entry into a single-occupancy bathroom with a white male companion at a bookstore in Chicago. Unfazed by the revelation, Plumpp kept the experience to himself for years, never seeing it as a reason to alter his relationship with Fuller. This was also true of Alkalimat, who candidly remembered running into Fuller while walking past a notorious gay nightclub in Chicago. According to Alkalimat, it was not the location alone that piqued his awareness, but instead it was Fuller’s abnormal ensemble at that specific location. Although not explicit in his recounting, Alkalimat made the point that Fuller’s clothing that night, combined with his location, completely disrupted the heteronormative veneer that he worked so hard to project.32 He also noted, “It was like he had two different closets; one for when he was with us, and one for when he was in this other world.”

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This photograph of Otto Tesch was likely taken within moments of the previous photograph. (Hoyt William Fuller Collection, box 60, folder 38, Atlanta University Center, Robert W. Woodruff Library)

Like Plumpp, Alkalimat immediately broached the issue with Fuller, briefly discussing it and putting it aside as unimportant. Alkalimat’s and Plumpp’s responses indicate that some Black Arts movement activists who were aware of Fuller’s private sexual encounters with men saw it as a known matter that was briefly discussed and put aside due to a variety of issues that included age deference, genuine respect, and shared notions of personal privacy. Fuller’s stature at the local and national levels is also critical in understanding this response. Along with Gwendolyn Brooks, Fuller was one of the most powerful gatekeepers on Chicago’s Black Arts scene. In addition, his presence was an entry point to a national audience. For most artists, that reality made Fuller’s sexuality a tolerable, irrelevant, or acceptable nonissue. In addition, Plumpp’s and Alkalimat’s reactions not only suggest an embrace of sexual freedom and personal choice on the part of the two men, but they also speak to the level of respect that Fuller wielded in Chicago (and beyond). For many activists, Fuller existed as one of several embodied exceptions to the dogmatic hypermasculinity and heteronormativity expressed in certain sectors of the larger Black Arts movement. Of course, this did not completely preclude heterosexist and homophobic attacks against Fuller.

158  .  chap ter 5 Most condemnatory discussions of Fuller’s sex life likely took place in more private settings. Such settings would allow individuals to voice their disapproval without going on record or having to publicly defend their position. A perfect example of this was Ronald Fair, who frequently expressed his numerous reasons for disliking Fuller in his letters to Paul Breman. In one exchange Fair penned a poem—never meant for publication—titled “BLACK OVERNIGHT EDITOR—LIKE AS IF BLACKNESS IS ONLY COLOR.” One line in the poem referred to “the editor’s sex problems.”33 The explicit jab at Fuller’s sexuality reveals the kind of homophobia that many believe to be a hallmark of the Black Arts movement. Fuller’s friend and colleague James Turner offered another example of this kind of private homophobia when he remembered first realizing why educational activist Barbara Sizemore often opposed Fuller’s involvement in organizing efforts for the AHSA. He recalls being surprised when a mutual friend informed him that Sizemore claimed not to want to involve Fuller, because he was “gay.”34 When taken together, the two instances illustrate how some artists and activists used private homophobic beliefs as fuel to either inflame already existing disputes with Fuller or create critical distance from him. The private route, while likely more prevalent, was not universally accepted among Black Arts activists; one artist, in particular, preferred a more public approach. In 1976 Amiri Baraka threw a not-so-subtle jab at Fuller in Ishmael Reed’s Yardbird Reader. Describing the editor’s work in Black World as a form of “homo-highbrowism,” Baraka criticized not only Fuller’s editorial practice but his sexuality as well.35 Baraka’s slight is remarkable not because of the obvious homophobia but because it was so public. Although numerous Black Arts poets publicly decried intragender eroticism and probably whispered about Fuller specifically, very few had the audacity to publicly target or criticize him. Baraka seemed to transgress an unspoken social agreement among movement activists that marked Fuller’s sexuality, but not all nonheteronormative sexualities, as a private issue, not up for public discussion or debate. Baraka was unique in this regard because of his towering stature in the movement. His centrality to the movement provided him with both the leverage and gravitas to publicly attack Fuller’s sexuality, particularly because he occupied a position in the movement that was second to none. Even more telling is that the slight came in 1976, subsequent to years of collaboration between the two men, as the movement waned and Fuller garnered some of his most passionate support. Nonetheless, Baraka’s barb illustrates one of the more publicly aggressive homophobic responses to Fuller’s sexuality and exemplifies the ultimate lack of control Fuller maintained when it came to the public narratives about his intimate life.

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If Fuller would have had it his way, his sexuality probably would not have become a topic of public discussion for movement participants. Based on the little knowledge that can be culled from the archives and interviews, it is likely that he understood his sexual life to be part of his private world and therefore not open for discussion. Since he was part of a particular generation who wrestled with heteronormative social constraints well before the “sexual revolution” of the 1960s, privacy, discretion, and dissemblance served as forms of routine self-preservation and everyday modes of survival. Discretion and dissemblance helped men like Fuller navigate a sexually conservative and dangerously homophobic social landscape in the United States. At the same time, one cannot ignore the ramifications that discretion and dissemblance have on the history-making process. Fuller’s constrained choice to remain discreet impacts our ability to retell the stories of his life and account for a more complete picture. Instead we are left with only shards of material evidence and fractured counter-narratives. In this sense, Fuller set the cycle of silences about his sexuality. However, others continued where he left off.

Perpetuating the Cycle: Devotion and Erasure When Fuller suddenly passed away in the spring of 1981, his death caught everyone by surprise. Though many people knew he was under tremendous stress, no one imagined he would suffer a fatal heart attack.36 Fuller had no will or advance directive, nor had he identified someone to take care of his belongings. So when the most influential African American editor of the second half of the twentieth century passed away, some of the most pivotal primary sources of the Black Arts movement lay in jeopardy in his house at 1580 Avon Avenue in southwest Atlanta, Georgia. Fuller’s longtime allies and close associates—Carole Parks, Ann Smith, and Angela Jackson—were some of the first people to enter his home in the wake of his death, taking on the massive effort of cleaning out his place and salvaging his belongings. By undertaking the cleanup effort, Parks, Smith, and Jackson had an integral impact on the history-making process. Before the entrance of any archivist, historian, or scholar, they categorized items, deciding what was to be thrown out, given away, or saved for the archives. They were the first to decide what was to be classified as historically relevant primary source material or discarded as waste. The three women essentially developed the criteria for exclusion and preservation, setting the frame within which all future scholars engaging Fuller’s life would have to work. Once again, the issue of Fuller’s sexuality would help shape the historical record, only this time it would be filtered through the intersecting and intertwined agendas

160  .  chap ter 5 of Parks, Smith, and Jackson, who helped to perpetuate the cycle of silences that Fuller had worked so hard to establish. Parks was the first person in the house to deal with any material after Fuller’s death, and she determined the initial criteria for preservation and exclusion. Quite familiar with parts of Fuller’s home after working there for several years, she organized the other women and decided who could access the vacant house. In an interview almost thirty-five years later, Parks recollected her time in the space, working in conjunction with Smith and later being joined by Jackson. Though not specific, she remembered disposing of what she described as “paraphernalia” and other unspecified items that she felt might compromise or contradict the heteronormative façade that Fuller projected.37 She believed the women “were caught between how he wanted to be seen and how he lived,” noting that the two parts did not neatly correspond.38 When initially asked about her motivations, she replied that she was spurred by her compassion for a longtime comrade and her desire to protect Fuller’s legacy.39 Parks also made explicit that she was not motivated by heterosexism. In fact, she was well aware of Fuller’s sexuality long before his death, though she would later regret never talking openly with him about it.40 She made the point that her reservations about including sexually explicit material in the archive emanated not from shame or disappointment but from her fear and anxiety about what other people might do with the information. She also made it clear that she could not speak to Jackson’s or Smith’s motivations, believing that each of them deserved the chance to articulate their own reasons for assisting in the effort. Ann Smith joined Parks in the house and assisted with the cleanup efforts. Like each of the other women, Smith shared a unique relationship with Fuller. Whereas Parks’s relationship with him was more like a trusted workmate and comrade, the connection between Smith and Fuller entailed some signs of amorous sentiments. Based on Smith’s recollection, the two of them met at least as early as 1966—prior to the formation of OBAC—and grew closer after her divorce from her husband in 1970. Though she never mentioned that they maintained any formal romantic relationship, evidence suggests that Fuller and Smith often accompanied each other to Black Chicago’s swankier public affairs, serving as each other’s dates on more than one occasion.41 Perhaps more important within the context of Fuller’s home after his death was Smith’s relationship with Parks. Smith was very close to Parks, and they remain relatively so even up to the date of this writing. In what was certainly a trying time, Smith was someone whom Parks trusted and could depend on for both emotional support and

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sound advice in the wake of such a tremendous loss. In addition, Smith had a clear understanding of Fuller’s stature within the movement. As someone with significant academic experience, she also had an inkling of the importance of preserving his legacy. However, it is not clear if Smith was aware of Fuller’s sexuality before entering the house and how this influenced her decision to travel to Atlanta after his death. Even more nebulous is Smith’s personal motivation for assisting in the purge of certain “paraphernalia.”42 What were her thoughts about same-gender-loving Black men at the time? Did she see it as an issue of shame or disgrace? Did heterosexist ideas about the incompatibility of Blackness and nonheteronormative sexualities motivate her? Or, like Parks, was she anxious about what others might do with the particulars? The answers to these questions remain unclear. Nonetheless, when it comes to the history-making process, we cannot ignore the implications of Ann Smith’s presence, and the same goes for Parks and Jackson. According to Parks, Angela Jackson was the last to arrive at Fuller’s home after his heart attack, and much of the process of erasure was completed before she got there.43 Jackson recalled that after hearing the news that Fuller had passed, nothing would have kept her from making the trip to Atlanta.44 She was motivated by the fact that she was very close to Fuller, sharing a relationship that others described as resembling that of a father and daughter.45 To this day Jackson remains fiercely protective of Fuller’s legacy. Age deference, mentee genuflection, and other pillars of respect in part shape her passionate advocacy. When asked about why she helped to “clean” the house, she made clear her belief in the value of personal privacy. For her, Fuller’s sex life was “nobody else’s business.”46 She also felt that if Fuller kept his sexuality private, it was their responsibility as his friends to follow his lead. Or to think of it another way, Jackson believed that it was Fuller’s discretion around his sexuality—and discomfort with being on public display—that led the three women to the particular historic juncture. Like Parks, Jackson wanted to honor Fuller’s desire for discretion and use his death as an opportunity to dissolve any discomfort he may have had.47 She also made the point that more than anything else she was motivated by her camaraderie with Fuller. Speaking very candidly, she declared, “We were there in his house not as historians or scholars but as friends.”48 In her characteristically frank manner, Jackson expressed no feelings of regret or homophobic motives. For her, the cleaning was set in motion as a result of devotion, although not everyone who was subsequently made aware of the three women’s actions interpreted it that way. Some of Fuller’s comrades objected to the women’s course of actions and their results. In an interview with Mari Evans in 2008, the multitalented artist

162  .  chap ter 5 despised the fact that Parks, Smith, and Jackson “locked themselves in the house.”49 Since she felt very close to Fuller yet distant from the women, she was unable to comprehend why they had instituted restrictions on who could enter their friend’s home. Over the course of multiple discussions that explored an array of topics concerning Fuller’s life, Evans never intimated any awareness of his intragender erotic life.50 Nor did issues revolving around his sexuality seem to factor into her frustrations with Parks, Smith, and Jackson’s actions. Because she seemed to lack a clear sense of what they were doing, Evans interpreted the three women’s protective wall as cliquish, unwelcoming, and unnecessary. OBAC cofounder Abdul Alkalimat also felt that the three women’s actions were unnecessary. Having a clearer sense of their activity than Evans, Alkalimat expressed his hope that the rumors of the three women burning Fuller’s personal journal, effeminate clothing, and other items were untrue.51 Maintaining his acceptance of Fuller’s sexuality since the 1960s, he expressed little empathy for anyone unwilling to come to terms with the way Fuller lived his life. Thinking both as a friend of Fuller and consummate documentarian, Alkalimat agonized over all that was possibly lost to the annals of history. Of course, he was not the only one who felt history’s persistent nagging. Elucidating the complex nature of the history-making process, it was ultimately Parks and Jackson who undermined their initial efforts at erasure, or—as they would have interpreted it at the time—protection. In follow-up interviews within weeks of one another in 2015, both women talked candidly about their decision to “clean” Fuller’s home.52 They also did their best to recollect their states of mind in the spring of 1981 while remaining conscious of the fallibility of memory.53 The paradox here is that two of the three women who built on Fuller’s efforts and perpetuated the cycle of silences also stepped forward to break the silences and disrupt the cycle. In 1981 they actively sought to conceal Fuller’s sex life, believing they were carrying out his inexplicit wishes. Yet by 2015 they actively worked to reveal their role in the history-making process and disrupt the very silences they had helped to produce. Just as they profoundly affected the history-making process by getting rid of particular materials, they also aided in rendering Fuller’s samesex desire legible through oral history. And though we can only speculate what drove Ann Smith, we have some sense that it was expanding notions of devotion that informed both Parks’s and Jackson’s initial decision to dispose of explicit sexual evidence and their later desire to speak up about what they had done. In the end, though the damage had been done, two of the three women encouraged a frank discussion about Fuller’s sexuality, filling a major lacuna present in commemorative events, previous scholarship, and the unrestricted sections of the archives.

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Completing the Cycle: Preservation and Restriction On Saturday, November 2, 1982, the Special Collections Division of the Robert Woodruff Library held a dedication ceremony for the Hoyt William Fuller Collection.54 The event represented a passing of the torch as custodial duties for Fuller’s papers changed hands from family and friends to Woodruff Library director Virginia Lacy Jones and her staff. Presiding over the event—and ultimately central to the entire transaction—was Richard Long, Fuller’s literary executor, longtime friend, and a scholar in his own right. Fuller’s aunt, Eloise Thomas, represented the family and officially presented the papers to the institution, though she remained marginal in the overall process, as did Abena Brown, who was also on hand as a representative of First World. Though not a big deal to most local residents and students enrolled at the Atlanta University Center, the event marked another turning point in the history-making process as Fuller’s papers were successfully “organized,” “processed,” and made “accessible” to researchers.55 Once processed, the Hoyt William Fuller Collection served as one of the prized possessions of what would eventually become Atlanta University’s Archives Research Center. Comprised of hundreds of correspondences, several draft manuscripts, essays, film slides, photographs, lecture notes, posters, music recordings, and over three thousand books, the collection holds a tremendous amount of primary source material about the Black Arts movement and the African American publishing world during the post–World War II period.56 Neatly divided across close to two thousand folders contained in sixty-one boxes, and accompanied by a well-crafted research guide, the archival material is meticulously organized and professionally maintained. The content in the archives remains easily accessible for researchers—all, that is, except for one box. Unlike the rest of the material, which includes a brief description of the contents, box 4 in the collection is marked simply “restricted.”57 There is no description of its contents, no reference to how many folders the box contains, nor any note as to how it received the conspicuous marking. Since box 4 remains inaccessible, it is safe to surmise that its contents include some of the remaining primary source material about Fuller’s sexuality. Keeping the history-making process front and center, it is important to query the ramifications of the restricted files. What information do the restricted files conceal? Who helped to decide exactly what was to be considered restricted? What were the selection processes and criteria that led to the contents’ exclusive labeling? Why did certain content remain outside the bounds of the “restricted” designation? When were the restrictions first

164  .  chap ter 5 put into place, and in what social context were the directives given? As a researcher, one is inclined to also ask, Why do the restrictions exist in the first place, and when—if ever—are they going to be lifted? And, thinking historically, one is forced to wonder how the restrictions ensure the production of incomplete historical narratives. Of course, the answers to many of these questions fall outside the bounds of the actual Hoyt Fuller Collection and lie instead in the administrative and managerial practices of the archival institution itself. Nonetheless, the restricted files, and the questions the files yield, have deep implications for the history-making process. Indeed one wonders if a truly comprehensive history of Hoyt Fuller’s life can be written while the files remain inaccessible. In the interim, however, it is possible to contextualize the process that established the restricted files and situate that process within the overall cycle of silences. While dozens of individuals, including family members, library administrators, archivists, and perhaps even lawyers, played a part in this aspect of the history-making (or dare we say un-making) process, no figure looms larger than Richard Long. Serving as professor and chair of the Department of Afro-American Studies at Atlanta University at the time of the dedication of the Hoyt William Fuller Collection, Long was the primary interlocutor between the university library, Fuller’s family, and his friends.58 He was the key individual who ensured that the materials were archived at Woodruff Library. In addition, according to members of the archive staff, Long was instrumental in raising the necessary capital to fund the crucial endeavor.59 These circumstances situated him as a central figure in what would ultimately become a loose-knit, and relatively short-lived, coterie bound by the contradictory efforts of preserving Fuller’s legacy and restricting “sensitive materials.” Before Fuller’s death, Long was also part of the small Black intellectual contingency in Atlanta that welcomed the editor and the First World operation. More importantly, he was a close friend of Fuller, their relationship extending back to at least the 1960s. The two men frequently traveled together, traversing the same cosmopolitan Black literary networks that included the likes of their mutual friend James Baldwin, whom Fuller once described as “a lady . . . [who] cannot hide.”60 Long was well aware of the editor’s sexuality and was acquainted with multiple men with whom Fuller maintained intimate relationships, both stateside and abroad.61 Much as with Fuller, Long’s own sexuality remained an open secret among Black intellectuals who knew he also maintained erotic relationships with men. And though no unrestricted archival evidence exists to suggest an intimate relationship between the two

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Richard Long served as Fuller’s literary executive in the wake of his friend’s passing. (Hoyt William Fuller Collection, box 59, folder 37, Atlanta University Center, Robert W. Woodruff Library)

men, Long strongly believed that sexuality was a private matter that had nothing to do with one’s work. In an interview conducted at his home in Atlanta during the summer of 2010, Long reminisced fondly about Fuller and the towering role he played within the Black Arts movement. Long was tremendously helpful, illuminating important historical details about Fuller’s work and highlighting points that were not necessarily captured in the archival materials. However, when asked directly about Fuller’s sexuality and how to make historical sense of it in light of limited (and restricted) archival material, Long replied, “It should be exempted from all the other issues that were going on—race relations, the Black aesthetic, et cetera.”62 He added, “Hoyt probably felt very strongly that a person’s individual sexuality should not be an issue in what they were doing and whatever your program was that you did. Sexuality was really a private—extremely private—thing. Consequently, he never raised it in his work.”63 When queried further on the issue, Long pivoted to alternative topics in his characteristically polymathic and aristocratic demeanor. His responses made it virtually impossible to delineate his own views on privacy and sexuality from those of Fuller. At the same time, they affirmed that Fuller’s sexuality

166  .  chap ter 5 was more complicated than the heteronormative projections that had been put forth. In addition, Long’s responses made clear that it was, in part, his beliefs about the “extremely private” nature of sexuality that had informed the decision to classify some of Fuller’s papers as restricted. Still, Long’s assertion that Fuller never raised sexuality in his work was incorrect. Although it is true that sexuality did not emerge as a core component of Fuller’s intellectual agenda in Black World, the editor did raise the issue of sexuality on at least two occasions in the magazine. In October 1963 and March 1964, he wrote brief reviews on two studies that explored the topic. In October 1963 he reviewed The Wolfenden Report, written by the United Kingdom’s Departmental Committee on Homosexual Offenses and Prostitution. In the review Fuller made note of antiquated laws in the United Kingdom and the United States. He agreed with the recommendations of the report, which posited that consensual intragender sex between two adults should not be policed as a crime. He also seemed to agree with the troubling conclusion that “the evidence seems to be that homosexuals are more in need of psychiatric treatment than police harassment,” a point that hints to his own psychological struggles around the issues at that particular juncture in his life.64 Subsequently, in a review of Inge Hegeler’s An ABZ of Love, illustrated by Eller Krag, Fuller wrote, “In the course of the 288 pages of their book, they manage to debunk a great many ideas about what is ‘normal’ and ‘abnormal’ while shedding considerable light on what is practiced (as against what is preached). An ABZ of Love does The Kinsey Report considerably better.”65 Together, these two reviews illustrated an international awareness and transnational literacy as it related to the policing of sexuality. The editor’s familiarity with the international social discourse around sexuality seemed to exhibit the same breadth as his global understanding of the Black struggle. More importantly, the reviews refute Long’s contention that Fuller never raised questions of sexuality in his work. Nevertheless, in thinking about history (and the history-making process), it is always important to consider the context that informed Long’s decision. Long took on the responsibility as literary executor of Fuller’s papers around the same time that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released its first newsletter discussing an “unusual pneumonia in patients” and the New York Times published an article titled “Rare Cancer Seen in 41 Homosexuals.”66 Of course, the illness would later be referred to as “acquired immune deficiency syndrome,” or, simply, AIDS. Long accepted the responsibility to steward the Hoyt Fuller Papers just as the stakes around intragender eroticism had been raised to new, unprecedented heights for men. The AIDS epidemic would lay bare the United States’ rampant

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institutional heterosexism and neglect while spurring a lethal mix of social hysteria, ignorance, violence, and homophobia within Black (and non-Black) communities.67 With LGBTQ communities literally fighting to survive what would eventually become a pandemic, restricting controversial content in Fuller’s papers may have seemed like the commonsense thing to do. However, the sheer quantity of the archival documents made it almost inevitable that some material relics evincing Fuller’s same-sex desires would slip through the cracks, and indeed they did. One revealing letter that got past Long and the archivists was written to a man named Robertino. In the letter, Fuller never directly references his own sexuality. However, he does address the genuine fear that many samegender-loving men held about being blackmailed as a result of their sexuality. Fuller asks Robertino, “Would YOU have been so easily frightened by similar blackmailers? I mean to the extent of leaving town?” He goes on to highlight solutions to a blackmail situation, noting, “It seems to me that the greater danger was in having his employers KNOW . . . [and] the change to make was in jobs as well as cities. That is, to feel really secure.”68 Although written in coded language, the larger context of Fuller’s conversation becomes evident when he remarks, “I thought of your friend again while reading ‘A Way of Life’ by Peter Wildeblood. Perhaps you’re familiar with his other book ‘Against the Law’ . . . [which] describes the London demi-monde, and bribery and blackmail seem to be rather standard practices.” Wildeblood’s books explored different aspects of the lives of men who slept with men in the UK. While Against the Law recounted how British courts criminalized “buggery,” the British legal term to describe anal intercourse, A Way of Life explored the lives of various people who maintained what were then seen as transgressive sexual lifestyles. Fuller’s references to the two internationally published books reveal a man who is closely monitoring the legal restrictions on intragender sexual intercourse while actively thinking through the social challenges that confronted men who slept with men. Fuller’s correspondence with Detroit poet Margaret Danner provides a more pointed example of how his sexuality remained legible even after Long, and the larger supportive casts, demarcated certain files as restricted. The frequency of Fuller and Danner’s correspondence made for a sizeable quantity of material. This no doubt contributed to the fact that Long, and the respective archivists, had overlooked some of it. Multiple letters from as early as 1957 capture Danner and Fuller’s candid discussions of the latter’s intimate life and his views on same-sex desire. Danner’s correspondences reference an instance when she happened to encounter Fuller out with “O. J. Tesch,” likely the same Otto Tesch who Fuller wrote to about Dixon, noting that

168  .  chap ter 5 although she did not know Fuller at the time, the two men “look[ed] into each other’s eyes,” and she immediately knew they were, in her words, “homosexuals.”69 Though not intentional, Fuller’s hesitancy to engage Danner’s attempt to pry into his intimate life, more so than her claim, offer insight into the limitations of the heteronormative narrative projected by those who initially worked to construct the archive. They also offer insight into Fuller’s views on nonheteronormative sexuality in the 1950s. Fuller was reluctant to talk about his sexuality with Danner, but their notes illustrate his complex and at times conflicting views on intragender eroticism.70 At one point in the correspondence, he reminds Danner that “homosexuality is not new in the world, it is not rare, it is not strange. . . . It is a common experience.”71 Yet at another point he declares, “MONSTERS. Yes, there is something of the monster in all homosexuals. That is why I cannot blame Society for its attitude toward them.”72 Perhaps more importantly, in that same letter Fuller expresses the belief—which Long made evident years later—that sexuality is superfluous to one’s work. In an effort to emphasize the point, Fuller wrote in all capital letters, “BUT WHAT HAS THAT TO DO WITH THEIR VALUES AS FUNCTIONING HUMAN BEINGS, AS HUSBANDS OR FATHERS?”73 The question raised by Fuller supports Long’s observations that the editor separated sexuality from one’s work. In addition, Fuller’s use of “their” and “them” reveal the editor’s reluctance to pigeonhole himself into the socially transgressive category. The letters show that during the 1950s Fuller did not embrace any semblance of a “queer identity politics.” Within the sexually conservative context of the 1950s, it is not surprising that Fuller held complex and contradictory ideas about men who slept with men, nor is it surprising that he would avoid using the term “homosexual”—replete with negative psychological, pseudoscientific, and socially unacceptable connotations—to refer to himself. With regard to the overall cycle of silences, the letters Fuller exchanged with Danner and Robertino reveal several critical points about this particular juncture in the history-making process. First, archivists working at the Woodruff Library in 1982 likely missed the correspondence when they were preparing the files for preservation and research consumption. This became more evident when two respective former heads of the Woodruff Archives— Andrea Jackson and Karen Jefferson—pointed out that archivists do not read all the material they are organizing.74 Instead, they explained, archivists read only enough of the material to organize it. Thus the Woodruff Library’s first priority to preserve the collection ultimately outweighed efforts to keep contents about Fuller’s sexuality concealed. To put it another way, the deluge of

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correspondence between Fuller and Danner highlights how the process to establish restricted files remained inconsistent and uneven. At the same time, the information divulged within the correspondence serves to draw more attention to the restricted files. The correspondence reinforces this author’s belief that the restricted files likely contain more information about Fuller’s sexuality. The “restricted” designation forces researchers to wonder what details are being concealed about Fuller’s life; it also forces one to ask why the files were restricted in the first place. Was it simply, as this chapter posits, because Long and those around him saw sexuality as a private (and vexing) issue? And if so, how would the history-making process (and the subsequent historical record) be different had the archival material arrived decades later, after the sexual turn in African American Studies or the government’s sanctioning of marriage equality in the United States?75 Would the context of the papers’ arrival at the Atlanta University Center matter, or would Long’s views still dictate the accessibility (and silences) of Fuller’s past? Finally, since the files continue to exist in the archive—though demarcated as restricted—what is the possibility of their being opened up or “unrestricted?” Though we may never know the answers to these questions, it is important to think about them within the context of a much larger cycle of silences. As long as the files remain restricted, they will serve as a metaphor for that aspect of Fuller’s life that remains inaccessible and irretrievable to scholars. Within the context of a complex, multilayered history-making process, it is difficult to draw definitive conclusions about how sexuality influenced Hoyt Fuller during specific instances of the Black Arts movement. In fact, the disjointed cycle of silences explored in this chapter reveals more about the history-making process than it does about the history of Fuller’s erotic and intimate life. The narrow glimpse we have into his sexuality stems from a complicated relay made up of multiple people with shifting motives. This relay began with Fuller, who remained discreet about his own sexuality from at least as early as the 1940s and certainly as the Black Arts movement took center stage in his life during the 1960s. But discretion and dissemblance were not enough to completely conceal Fuller’s same-sex sexual relationships from activists in the movement, who responded to the knowledge of his sexuality in a variety of ways—good, bad, or indifferent. On multiple occasions, Fuller’s outward projections of heteronormativity were disrupted and discerned as a façade, covering a much more complex sexual life. Nevertheless, in the wake of his death, three women, who essentially took responsibility for Fuller’s legacy, honored Fuller’s heteronormative projections. In their best efforts as surviving friends of Fuller’s, these three women—Carole Parks, Ann

170  .  chap ter 5 Smith, and Angela Jackson—inherited the complicated responsibilities that came with being caretakers of his legacy. They walked the thin line between devotion and erasure and played a critical role in perpetuating, and later disrupting, the cycle of silences first set by Fuller. Finally, at the point where the historian traditionally enters—the archive—Richard Long and a host of library employees attempted to complete the cycle of silences. Using Long’s belief in the private nature of sexuality as their guide, archivists demarcated files as restricted, yet unbeknownst to them at the time, they simultaneously allowed some remnants of Fuller’s erotic life to sneak past. When brought together as distinct junctures in a singular cycle of silences, these layers in the history-making process are more than just attempts to control the historical narrative. These acts of dissemblance, erasure, and restriction are also part of a process of creation. They help to produce competing fictions and recast the material fibers and primary matter that are essential to the history-making process. Fortunately, in this case the acts of dissemblance, erasure, and discretion remained incomplete. And as a result, the cycle of silences also revealed a chain of actors that preceded the historian. Yet the voids produced by the cycle of silences can never be completely filled or totally corrected, only accounted for or worked around. Unless the restricted files are one day opened up and their contents reveal the voids prevalent in the publicly accessible archives, we may never gain a more comprehensive story of Fuller’s erotic and intimate lives. Nevertheless, Fuller’s life and afterlife make evident the fact that participants in the Black Arts movement were thinking about sexuality in far more complex and elaborate ways than the scholarship suggests. Not only was the sexuality of movement participants more diverse and complex than has often been imagined, but the ways participants treated issues of sexuality, privacy, and history were just as complicated. Moreover, Fuller’s position as a central player forces us to trouble, and perhaps even rethink, any simplified narrative of the Black Arts movement as dogmatically homophobic. Even as issues of homophobia and heterosexism remained formative—and, some might even say, foundational—features of the Black Arts movement, narratives of nonheteronormative sexuality no doubt rest right alongside these conventional assessments. Ultimately, the final say on the Black sexual politics of the Black Arts movement relies heavily on the willingness of scholars to go beyond the surface, raise more challenging questions, generate new and productive sites of inquiry, and, perhaps most importantly, maintain a willingness to both think through and challenge literary and historical narratives that have remained intact through several waves of scholarship.

coda Maintenance, Reconstruction, and Demolition Contests for Black Creative Control

If the deterioration of pivotal institutions like Black World, OBAC, and First World represent the institutional decay that plagued the Black Arts Movement in the 1970s, such examples represent only part of a larger story. Indeed, there were a number of other factors that also led to the movement’s eventual decline, including the ideological schisms and divergent class interests that the previous chapters have illustrated. It is also important to add the issues of repression and institutional incorporation, both factors that have been underappreciated in the scholarship on the Black Arts movement thus far. While much has been said about state repression as it relates to Black Power activists, only recently have such accounts been expanded to consider how local police and federal agents used the same mechanisms to influence the work of writers, artists, and, yes, even editors.1 Needless to say, repression has generally been understood to have a negative impact on the life of a social movement. Meanwhile, institutional incorporation is often understood as a victory or sign of progress. As preexisting institutions incorporate portions of social movement agendas, those within the movement (and scholars who study movements) often point to this incorporation as an example of how the liberal establishment is forced to come to grips with social movement critiques and make room for new voices and ideas.2 Of course, this divergence in meaning is not the only way to interpret the processes of repression and incorporation. Within the context of radical social movements, repression and institutional incorporation—while vastly different phenomena—can have quite similar effects. For example, both repression and incorporation result in the

172  . coda demobilization of activists. While demobilization via state repression often comes in the form of assassinations, legal trials, jail time, or other restrictions on mobility, institutional incorporation often results in the manufacturing of distance between activists and their target constituency, the introduction of bureaucratic constraints on an activist’s time, and the reorganization of one’s daily activities. In this regard, institutional incorporation, while far more subtle and drawn out than outright repression, can result in the same outcomes: deceleration of organizing activity and, eventually, demobilization of movement participants. In the end, both repression and incorporation can create a drain on movement energy, a weeding out of radical elements, and the buttressing of establishment power. Institutional incorporation is not a one-way process. As facets of social movements such as the Black Arts movement are incorporated into established institutions, they also lead to a number of internal alterations for those same absorbent structures. This proved to be the case with the desegregation of higher education in the 1960s, which resulted in larger Black collegiate student populations, heightened student protests, and the establishment of Black Studies programs across the country.3 Simply put, if the Black Arts movement declined as a community-oriented expression of Black nationalist cultural politics, it found institutional footing, relative stability, and longevity in fledgling departments and programs dedicated to the study of Black arts and letters. In this way the Black Arts movement left a lasting impression on African American, US, and global intellectual practice by making the study of people of African descent a normalized phenomenon occurring in educational institutions across the world. The following vignettes—while directly connected to Fuller’s life and broader work—speak to the ways repression and institutional incorporation affected the movement. Occurring only a few years apart from one another, these stories add further nuance to the larger tale about the overall life, death, and afterlife of the Black Arts movement.

Maintenance: Black Arts, Black Studies, and Howard University’s Institute for the Arts and Humanities The Institute for the Arts and Humanities faces a tremendous challenge in developing means whereby faculty, students, and members of the community as well as distinguished and budding artists can join together to create, celebrate, and perpetuate our contribution toward a new humanity. —Andrew Billinsgley, “Institute for the Arts and Humanities”

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In the spring of 1972, Hoyt Fuller declined an invitation from Howard University to join its faculty as the director of a new and innovate experiment on campus called the Institute for the Arts and Humanities (IAH).4 The institute was loosely conceptualized by Andrew Billingsley, who was Howard’s newly appointed vice president for academic affairs, and John Oliver Killens, a nationally recognized novelist, conference organizer, and former member of the Harlem Writers Guild.5 For Billingsley, the IAH was one part of a larger, more ambitious plan to remake Howard into a state-of-the-art African American university. For Killens, who was serving as a writer-in-residence at Howard at the time, IAH presented an opportunity to reinstitute his national writers conferences from the 1960s.6 Organized at Alabama A&M College, Killen’s conferences were influential in spreading the gospel of Black Arts. IAH fulfilled both men’s desires and emerged as one of the most innovative attempts to institutionalize the Black Arts movement in American higher education. The impetus for the IAH grew out of Black student protests that had rocked Howard University just a few years earlier. Student demands to transform “the capstone of Negro education” into a genuine “Black university,” would draw significant attention, energize national student protests for Black Studies, and eventually result in the toppling of Howard’s president, James Nabrit Jr.7 Serving as the new head of Howard’s administrative regime change, President James E. Cheek not only reversed university plans to focus on attracting white students but also oversaw the successful recruitment of Billingsley from the University of California, Berkeley.8 Instead of resisting the infectious spread of the new Black consciousness, Billingsley embraced it by hiring movement artists and activists, including them in university planning efforts at the faculty level and establishing new university formations such as IAH.9 Conceived as one of several new institutes, IAH served as the interdisciplinary tissue connecting the skeletal frames (and filling the epistemological lacunae) of the traditional disciplines that were contained in the existing academic departments. Moreover, IAH initially sought an outward-facing posture, connecting faculty and students of Howard University with African Americans living in the surrounding neighborhoods of Washington, DC. By 1972 IAH would be brought to fruition by a committee that included OBAC members Jeff Donaldson and Haki Madhubuti; Black Arts literary critic Stephen Henderson; the trailblazing African American literary scholar Arthur P. Davis; and the first lady of Howard University’s Founders Library, Dorothy Porter.10 Between 1972 and the early 1980s, IAH emerged as an important center for major national conferences on Black literature, arts, and creative production.11 In addition, IAH developed an extensive archival and documentation program, a workshop program for aspiring and professional

174  . coda artists, research and fellowship programs for scholars interested in studying Black culture, and an intensive publishing agenda.12 From its inception to the execution of programming, IAH was an institutionalized Black Arts project, underwritten by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.13 Although Fuller passed on the opportunity to run the new formation, IAH represented a concerted effort to make Black cultural politics an essential feature of American higher education. Moreover, with Stephen Henderson serving as the director in Fuller’s stead, IAH was an explicit attempt to institutionalize Black aesthetic criticism and therefore find an academic home that could maintain the intellectual and cultural ferment of the Black Arts movement. More than any other college or university, Howard provided a unique opportunity to fulfill this agenda, due both to its position as a landmark institution in African American history and the Pan-African nature of its student body and faculty. To this day, Howard remains the premier historically Black university in a predominantly Black cosmopolitan city. The recognition of Howard’s singularity helped to cohere an amazing assemblage of intellectuals on IAH’s staff and advisory board, which aside from its founders included Black literary stalwart Sterling Brown, then up-and-coming poet E. Ethelbert Miller, politician and poet of the Negritude movement Leon Damas, writer and historian Paula Giddings, renowned visual artist Lois Mailou-Jones, and SNCC singer-activist Bernice Johnson Reagon, among others.14 The tremendous ensemble of Black intellectuals, artists, and activists anchoring IAH only helped to attract more luminaries to the table. By the outset of the 1980s, everyone from Maya Angelou, June Jordan, Toni Cade Bambara, Sonia Sanchez, Lucille Clifton, Paule Marshall, Ntozake Shange, and Audre Lorde to Amiri Baraka, Ossie Davis, C.L.R. James, Ishmael Reed, and Quincy Troupe had passed through, participating in various programs, conferences, workshops, and writing projects.15 However, like all academic-based projects, the IAH was subject to the same challenges brought on by national economic instability, fleeting foundation support, administrative regime changes, campus containment, and routine academic squabbles. By the middle of the 1980s, IAH would cease to exist altogether. Even worse, the very history and cultural politics of the movement that brought IAH into existence would fall under intense scrutiny. Nevertheless, if there was an institutional formation that best represented Fuller and the broader Black aesthetic project, it was the vibrant yet relatively shortlived IAH. It is by no means coincidental that Billingsley and IAH faculty courted Fuller for several months, begging him to lead the new project. Still, the general absence of IAH in African American literary history is telling.

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The tendency to exclude IAH from broader histories of the development of African American literary history, criticism, and arts discourse are connected with, and perhaps rooted in, broader efforts to rethink the very meaning and mission of the Black Arts movement. Such efforts were led by a subsequent group of literary theorists who set out to reconstruct African American literary studies and scale the highest peaks of the ivory tower.

Reconstruction: Professional Criticism and the Rise of New Architects Some influential recent black critics have been openly hostile to the Black Arts Movement, . . . [However,] the real struggle is between one ideology that rejects the institutional status quo and another that embraces it. —David Lionel Smith, “The Black Arts Movement and Its Critics”

If Fuller and the broader cadre of individuals involved with Howard’s IAH wanted to maintain a dialectic of cultural politics that was connected to an accessible and broad Black reading public, the Reconstructionists were motivated by their collective effort to sever the ties between culture and (certain kinds of) politics. More explicitly, they wanted to exorcise Black cultural nationalist and Marxist politics from the study of African American cultural production and carve out a new, technocratic niche for an emergent cadre of professional cultural critics whose reading public was primarily academic. In the late 1970s this group would begin vying for space in the larger national conversation. However, by the end of the 1990s, they would emerge as the most visible, and arguably the most dominant, architects of Black cultural criticism, redefining the African American literary tradition, and displacing the Black Arts generation as the new architects in town. The initial convening of the Reconstructionists took place in June 1977 at Yale University. The convening was an outgrowth of the Modern Language Association’s (MLA) Commission on Minority Literature, which had only recently formed in 1973 in the wake of the Black Arts movement—and, coincidentally, one year after Howard’s IAH. Financed by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), the convening was organized in the form of a two-week seminar focused on “Afro-American Literature: From Critical Approach to Course Design.” Altogether twenty-five college professors spent two weeks working through a series of seminars and discussions led by a five-person seminar staff that included Dexter Fisher, a former professor at Hostos Community College of CUNY and the MLA’s leading expert (read,

176  . coda white) on “minority literatures”; Robert O’Meally, a Harvard PhD and assistant professor of English at Howard, who was just about to relocate and join the faculty at Wesleyan University; Sherley Anne Williams, a professor of English at the University of California at San Diego, who would shortly thereafter emerge as a decorated poet and novelist in her own right; Robert Stepto, a Stanford University graduate and recently hired Yale University English professor; and Henry Louis Gates Jr., who at the time was a lecturer at Yale in the process of completing his doctorate in English language and literature in the UK. While the convening ran smoothly, with minimal hitches and even less public hoopla or fanfare, the gravitas of the event—as a seminal shift in Black arts, letters, and cultural criticism—would not be felt until the following year, with the publication of Fisher and Stepto’s Afro-American Literature: The Reconstruction of Instruction.16 The Reconstructionists—the operative term used to loosely refer to the handful of seminar leaders and contributors to Fisher and Stepto’s post-seminar edited volume—would set out on an ambitious plan to “rescue” African American literature from the Black Arts movement crowd. In the assessment (and professional posturing) of the Reconstructionists, Black aestheticians failed to study Black writing on its own terms and instead subsumed the study of African American literature and cultural studies to the arenas of politics and social theory. Furthermore, the Black Arts dialectic of cultural politics (and the incursion of Black cultural nationalists and Marxists) prevented a deeper, more critical, more professional excavation of the African American literary tradition. According to the Reconstructionists, texts were “linguistic events,” and literature was a “system” with intricate “intertextual” meaning. Furthermore, it was only the well trained (and, dare we say, pedigreed) literary critic who could skillfully make sense of these linguistic events, unpacking and exploring the system of signs and meaning hidden within the text; thus the need for the rescue mission, which they called “the Reconstruction of Instruction.” Over time, the commitment to this rescue mission varied throughout the individual careers of the Reconstructionists. However, it would not take long for Henry Louis Gates Jr. to emerge as the most passionate, outspoken, and committed crusader of the new project. A few months after the Reconstructionists’ manifesto went on sale at the MLA’s annual convention, Gates found himself in a meaningful (and revealing) private epistolary exchange with Larry Neal, another important architect of the Black Arts movement. The exchange between Neal and Gates came as a result of the latter’s New York Times book review of Zora Neale Hurston: A Literary Biography by Robert E. Hemenway.17 Neal was less bothered

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by Gates’s commentary on the specific text than he was by the unnecessary swipes the young scholar took at the Black Arts movement in the review. According to Gates, “[Hurston was] curiously ignored or disparaged by the Black Arts movement in the 60’s,” which he described as “an otherwise noisy and intense spell of instant black-macho image and mythmaking that rescued so many black writers from remaindered oblivion.”18 The offhand dismissal annoyed Neal, motivating him to send a long-form response to the newspaper’s editor. Instead of publishing the response, the editor passed it along to Gates, who then wrote to Neal personally. Expressing his general disdain for the movement, Gates expressed his belief that the Black Arts movement was patently sexist and racist. He then went on to identify Karenga and Baraka as the sole evidence he needed to make the claim.19 Although he assured Neal in the letter that he would never say these things publicly, over the next decade Gates would go on to repeat the crux of these and similar glib remarks both publicly and frequently in print.20 Gates’s one-dimensional characterization of the movement as “blatantly and vulgarly sexist” was at best limited and at worst shallow and oversimplified. It overlooked the fact that many of the decade’s leading Black women writers had honed their voices in Black Arts institutions and continued to seek refuge in the movement’s lasting institutional vestiges. His comments omitted spaces like OBAC, First World, and the IAH, which coincidentally hosted a major conference in honor of Black women writers less than a year later, in 1979.21 Even worse, his more damning point about sexism in the movement hinged on two individuals who, although important, did not represent the dynamic period in its totality. Ultimately Gates’s sweeping, monolithic characterization of an entire movement only helped to cast an emaciated understanding of the period, bereft of regional contexts, historical nuance, and organizational diversity. Although Gates’s response to Neal mentioned what he described as Neal’s “declaration of independence of major sort from Hoyt [Fuller], Amiri [Baraka], et al.,” his general appraisal of the Black Arts movement completely ignored Hoyt Fuller’s multiple decades’ worth of work.22 Such a broad and sweeping dismissal could not account for the fact that Fuller maintained solid and productive working relationships with a broad cross-section of Black women writers from multiple generations for more than two decades. Moreover, it overlooked the fact that Fuller regularly advocated for Black women writers, included their work in all of his journals, and continued to collaborate with some of the period’s most polarizing Black feminist writers. For example, when some Black nationalists took exception to Ntozake Shange’s For Colored Girls, Fuller collaborated with her at First World fund-raisers. Subsequently,

178  . coda just months after Neal and Gates’s private exchange, which Fuller was unaware of, the Black Arts editor would go on to defend the decade’s most polarizing Black feminist text, Black Macho and the Myth of the Superwoman, by Michelle Wallace, in print.23 Indeed, Fuller’s experiences proved Gates’s assessment to be far too sweeping and simplistic. At the more focused level of African American literary studies, his noted area of expertise, Gates’s assessment about Hurston also came up short. As Neal noted in his unpublished letter to the editor, “Throughout the Sixties Negro Digest/Black World, under the editorship of Hoyt Fuller, published several articles on Zora Neale Hurston. As a matter of fact, it was in Black World that we read the poignant account of Zora’s death in obscurity and poverty.”24 Neal was right; not only was Hurston the central subject of several long-form articles in Fuller’s magazine, but she was also featured on the cover of the August 1974 volume, just one year before Gates saw his first piece published in the same periodical. Unfortunately, historical facts and supportive evidence mattered far less than repetition and legitimacy emanating from academic stature. For subsequent generations of students in African American literary history and criticism, Gates’s grand narrative of the Black Arts movement would be transmitted and learned by rote. And, not coincidentally, it would end up being the robust editorial work and broader activist life of Fuller that would be “curiously ignored” by the Reconstructionists, who would shrink the totality of his work to the singular essay “Towards a Black Aesthetic.”25 Over the course of the 1980s, the contest between the waxing Reconstructionists and the waning Black Arts cadre and their sympathizers would play out in a number of academic journals, such as the Black American Literature Forum, and signal significant changes on the horizon. These changes are too often, and perhaps erroneously, interpreted as shifts in power along gendered lines. However, gender shifts—and, more specifically, Black feminist critiques—had started to unfold among Black Arts writers as early as 1970, if not earlier.26 Instead, the venues and players in these debates provided more telling evidence of the larger changes taking place. First, although Fuller and other Black Arts thinkers operated under the idea that “literature, after all, is not separate from life, although many white critics seem to want to separate Black literature from the realities of Black life,” they never imagined it would be an emergent cadre of Black intellectuals pushing “for the idea of literature as a system,” or “a linguistic event,” separate from larger social issues.27 Second, in the two previous decades, such debates would have played out in Negro Digest, a far less technocratic publishing outlet that was edited with a mass/popular African American reading public in mind. However, by

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the 1980s these ideological skirmishes remained overwhelmingly contained in academic journals (and MLA publications) that remained inaccessible to the general public. In this regard, the bind of Black Power (and early 1970s articulations of Black feminism) that once tied “culture” to “politics” and tethered intellectual work to mass interests had finally been severed. The terrain of culture was remade into a field of isolated scholarly analysis, texts, and cultural texts, and (black nationalist and Marxist) politics were replaced by literary one-upmanship and deft excursions in academic theory, which all worked together to mask an embrace of academic entrepreneurship, centrist liberalism, and “racial management elitism.”28 Even worse, explicit efforts to connect arts discourse with the social world of uneven power relations (along the axes of race and class) were abandoned for the more preferable world of “intertextual” arts and letters. The days for Black nationalists and Marxists of Negro descent were numbered in the dynamic world of Black arts and letters. Although far from hegemonic, the new architects had emerged as the most visible and well positioned to undertake the challenge of erecting a more exclusive school of professional African American literary criticism.

Demolition: Federal Surveillance, State Repression, and the Politics of Culture Further guesswork on the game of cops and writers is irresistible: given the service of the Black Arts to Black Power, it is hard to imagine any highprofile author of the movement failing to provoke COINTELPRO-related spying. —William Maxwell, F.B. Eyes

As history would have it, these contests for creative control of Black art took place against the backdrop of a national right-wing resurgence in politics that culminated in the election of President Ronald Reagan and the rise of conservatism in American governance. Absent from the Reconstructionists’ assessment of the Black Arts movement and its advocates was the role of the state. However, Black Arts activists never had the luxury of ignoring the state. Ever aware of the state’s presence, and curious to know his standing with “the powers that be,” Hoyt Fuller sent a letter to the FBI on March 10, 1981, requesting copies of any files the bureau may have kept on his life and activism under the Counter Intelligence Program.29 A few days later he sent a similar request to the CIA. Fuller could not help but wonder just how much the federal government knew about his life and past activities. How

180  . coda closely had they monitored him? Had his activism led to inquiries about his private sexual life? Was the federal government somehow involved with his swift and untimely termination from Johnson Publishing Company? And, finally, would his FBI file provide insight into how the promise of the two previous decades resulted in such peril? The following month Fuller received a reply from James K. Hall, the chief of the FBI’s Freedom of Information–Privacy Acts Records Management Division. Due to the Public Information Act of 1966, Hall and his staff were required to disclose previously unreleased federal documents to American citizens who put forth a proper request. Since several of Fuller’s comrades from the movement had successfully gained access to their files, he was astonished when Hall informed him that “a search of the indices to our central records system at FBI Headquarters revealed no information to indicate that . . . [Fuller had] been the subject of an investigation by the FBI.”30 Although Hall had no immediate records to share with Fuller, the chief of the FBI’s Records Management Division acknowledged that he had not conducted a comprehensive search. Meanwhile, Fuller never received word from the CIA. Baffled by the response, or the lack thereof, Fuller wondered why no files existed. Had he and those around him overestimated the skill set of the US intelligence community? Or had he misjudged the importance of his own work? Indeed, as the previous chapters have shown, Fuller’s life and political activism granted him reason to believe that he was under surveillance by the federal government. From his vantage point, there simply was no way the CIA or FBI—with their extensive surveillance tools—could have overlooked all of the activities he had taken part in. And he was right. Just as he suspected, the FBI had officially opened a file on Fuller as early as 1953, recognizing his association with the Detroit Contemporary Arts Group, which the FBI believed was a “communist front” organization. Long after he left the Motor City and relocated to Chicago to work for JPC, the bureau kept records on the magazines he was responsible for editing and several of the activities he participated in. They watched him at national conferences, made notes on articles he featured in the journal, and kept files on many of his closest associates. However, the FBI was not the only agency that monitored Fuller’s activity. The Chicago Police Department’s Red Squad also maintained records of Fuller’s local activity, which they willingly shared with other members of the intelligence community. The Red Squad knew where Fuller lived and worked; what institutions he frequented in the city; the license plate number, make, and model of his car; his phone number and those of several Chicago Black Arts activists; and even the bank account info of some of his most trusted

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allies.31 Recognizing Fuller’s involvement in a number of activities that they regarded as “subversive,” the state had spun a multilayered web of surveillance around his activist work, marking him as a potential threat to America’s established order. Unfortunately, Fuller would die before ever gaining access to his files or attaining concrete evidence of their existence. And although he assumed the existence of an FBI file, the possibility of a Red Squad file likely never occurred to him. The actual existence of Fuller’s surveillance files throws into sharp relief the glaring differences between the work of Black Arts activists and the Reconstructionists that eventually emerged in the wake of the movement. Ironically, the existence of the surveillance files situates the Reconstructionists and Hoover’s FBI agents as strange bedfellows in their distinct efforts to undermine and distort the major goals—be they sociopolitical, ideological, or literary—of Black Arts movement activists. And while the surveillance state and the Reconstructionists were further connected by their access to significant sources of public funding, Black Arts activists’ critiques and awareness of the surveillance state was more likely to lead them to appeal to private foundations (and smaller, more localized public subsidies) to fund their under-resourced projects and, in turn, lose the autonomy normally sought within Black nationalist projects. This trade-off occurred even as they conceptualized projects with a broad Black reading public in mind. In the end, the unintended merger of Reconstructionist and FBI agendas made it difficult for Black Arts advocates to participate in critical debate that was not somehow informed by a hermeneutic of suspicion. Indeed, Baraka may have missed the connections when he told Larry Neal, “We are trying to get to our reality, trying to deal with our history . . . trying to build an ideology based on the history of the world. . . . I often wonder what you all are doing up there fighting the battle of the Harvards and the Yales.”32 Perhaps these fights were indeed connected, at least on the ideological front. For Fuller, Baraka, Neal, and other activists under state surveillance, questions of power and politics were not “extra-literary” at all; they were matters of life and, potentially, death. Although no one was able to see how these questions played out across the various institutions in the lives of Black Arts activists, there can be no doubt that the history of surveillance and repression conditioned those same activists’ understanding of the period, as well as those scholars who would later study (or comment upon and criticize) the movement. The state’s surveillance of Fuller’s life, and numerous other people’s lives, highlights larger observations about the Black Arts movement and cultural politics in the 1960s and 1970s. Foremost among these is the fact that the state never lost sight of the political threat posed by Fuller and the larger cadre of

182  . coda Black Arts activists. On this point, the FBI and the Chicago Police Department remained clear. They used paid informants, bureau agents, local law enforcement, and other tools of surveillance to keep an eye on activists like Fuller, who used the guise of cultural production to fan the flames of antiestablishment sentiments and revolutionary ideologies. To agents of the state, the threat of cultural politics was real; certain advocates of Black cultural nationalism either needed to be contained, closely monitored, or, if necessary, eliminated. Of course, this was not because of some inherent power of cultural politics or the ideological strength of Black cultural nationalism per se. It was because of the social movement context that nurtured these ideas, a context that Fuller and others insisted on being embedded within. As a result, the state remained anxious about the power of the sociopolitical networks that Fuller and other Black Arts activists forged both locally and transnationally. In the state’s view, as long as the networks existed, so too did the potential to win more people over to the opposing side. Ultimately, the state understood “cultural politics” as an extension of politics—a contest between competing entities to control the mechanisms of governance, the flow of information, and the distribution of rights and resources. And in an era of global political upheaval—Black Power, anticolonialism, student rebellions, armed resistance, communist expansion, Third World solidarity—cultural politics accentuated politics proper and therefore posed a genuine threat to establishment power. In the end, regardless of whether one was committed to a project of maintenance, reconstruction, or demolition as it relates to the Black Arts movement, the period’s activists and intellectuals would leave an indelible mark on American culture and transform the larger world of Black arts and letters. Not only would African Americans become fixed as a viable consumer base for major (read, overwhelmingly white-owned) publishing companies interested in selling the latest in Black writing, but museums, institutions of higher education, motion picture companies, and record executives would all take part in trafficking the latest in Black cultural production. Indeed it is safe to say that after the movement of the 1960s and 1970s, the world of Black arts and letters became marked by its prominence and permanence in American society and centrality to the global entertainment industry. Within this new reality a paradox has emerged whereby ever expanding notions of cultural politics as the central arena of struggle have continued to wax, and genuine connections to transnational power struggles over the mechanisms of governance and the distribution of rights and resources have waned on the part of African Americans.

Notes

Introduction 1. “Black Artists Picket Ebony,” Chicago Defender, December 31, 1969, 3. 2. Ibid. 3. Christopher Phelps, “A Socialist Magazine in the American Century,” Monthly Review 55, no. 1 (1999): 11; Mike Ivey, “Rebel with a Cause: The Progressive Magazine Celebrates 100 Years,” Cap Times, April 27, 2009, https://madison.com/news/rebel-with -a-cause-the-progressive-magazine-celebrates-years/article_58a655b8-563e-51ab-a238 -070e1477467b.html. 4. Benjamin Wright, “A Brief History of The New Republic: From Lippmann to Peretz to Hughes,” Highbrow Magazine, August 23, 2013, https://www.highbrowmagazine .com/2737-brief-history-new-republic-lippmann-peretz-hughes. 5. James Smethurst, The Black Arts Movement: Literary Nationalism in the 1960s and 1970s (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2005); Howard Rambsy II, The Black Arts Enterprise and the Production of African American Poetry (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2013); Cheryl Clarke, After Mecca: Women Poets and the Black Arts Movement (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2005); Lisa Gail Collins and Margo Natalie Crawford, New Thoughts on the Black Arts Movement (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2006); William L. Van DeBurg, New Day in Babylon: The Black Power Movement and American Culture, 1965–1975 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1992). 6. Smethurst, Black Arts Movement, 208. 7. Amiri Baraka, The Autobiography of LeRoi Jones (New York: Freundlich Books, 1984); Jerry Watts, Amiri Baraka: The Politics and Art of a Black Intellectual (New York: New York University Press, 2001); Komozi Woodard, A Nation within a Nation: Amiri Baraka and Black Power Politics (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina

184  .  notes to introduc tion Press, 1999); Henry Louis Gates, Nellie Y. McKay, et al., eds., The Norton Anthology of African American Literature, 1st ed. (New York: W. W. Norton, 1997). 8. James Davison Hunter, Culture Wars: The Struggle to Define America (New York: Basic Books, 1991). 9. Andrew Hartman, A War for the Soul of America: A History of the Culture Wars (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2015), 5–6. 10. Hoyt Fuller, “Perspectives: Some Other Hue and Cry,” Negro Digest, October 1969, 49–50, 88. 11. John Bracey, August Meier, and Elliott Rudwick, eds., Black Nationalism in America (Indianapolis: Bobbs Merrill, 1970). 12. E. Frances White, “Africa on My Mind: Gender, Counter Discourse, and African-American Nationalism,” Journal of Women’s History 2, no. 1 (1990): 73–97; Patricia Hill Collins, From Black Power to Hip Hop: Racism, Nationalism, and Feminism (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2006); Van DeBurg, New Day in Babylon; John Hutchinson and Anthony Smith, Nationalism (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996); Melba Joyce Boyd, “Afrocentrics, Afro-elitists, and Afro-eccentrics: The Polarization of Black Studies since the Student Struggles of the Sixties,” in Manning Marable, Dispatches from the Ebony Tower: Intellectuals Confront the African American Experience (New York: Columbia University Press, 2000), 204–209; Barbara Ransby, “Afrocentricsm, Cultural Nationalism, and the Real Problem with Essentialist Definitions of Race, Gender, and Sexuality,” in Marable, Dispatches from the Ebony Tower, 204–209, 216–23. 13. Hartman, War for the Soul of America; Van DeBurg, New Day in Babylon; Jeffrey Ogbar, Black Power: Radical Politics and African American Identity (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2005); Cedric Johnson, Revolutionaries to Race Leaders: Black Power and the Making of African American Politics (Minneapolis: University of Minnessota Press, 2007); Algernon Austin, Achieving Blackness: Race, Black Nationalism, and Afrocentrism in the Twentieth Century (New York: New York University Press, 2006); Keith Mays, Kwanzaa: Black Power and the Making of the African-American Holiday Tradition (New York: Routledge, 2009); Molefi Asante, Afrocentricity: The Theory of Social Change, rev. and expanded ed. (Chicago: African American Images, 2003); Todd Gitlin, The Sixties: Years of Hope, Days of Rage (New York: Bantam, 1987); Scot Ngozi-Brown, Fighting for US: Maulana Karenga, the US Organization, and Black Cultural Nationalism (New York: New York University Press, 2003). 14. Ngozi-Brown, Fighting for US, 6. 15. Woodard, Nation within a Nation, xiii. 16. Two exemplary studies that acknowledge the internal diversity of Black cultural nationalism are Bracey, Meier, and Rudwick, Black Nationalism in America; and Rod Bush, We Are Not What We Seem: Black Nationalism and Class Struggle in the American Century (New York: New York University Press, 1999). 17. Ben Davis, 9.5 Thesis on Art and Class (Chicago: Haymarket Books, 2013).

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18. In Ella Baker and the Black Freedom Movement, author Barbara Ransby defines the Black Freedom movement in the United States as “the collective efforts of African Americans to attain full human rights, from the nadir of segregation at the turn of the twentieth century through the peak of the civil rights movement in the 1960s and beyond” (3). Breaking it into three historic phases within the South, Clayborne Carson describes the “Black Freedom movement” as “the series of black protests that began with the Montgomery bus boycott of 1955–56 [which] became during the following decade the most significant southern social movement of the 20th century.” Clayborne Carson, “Black Freedom Movement,” in Encyclopedia of Southern Culture, ed. Charles Reagan and William Ferris (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1989); Barbara Ransby, Ella Baker and the Black Freedom Movement: A Radical Democratic Vision (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2005); Yohuru Williams, Rethinking the Black Freedom Movement (New York: Routledge, 2016); Peniel E. Joseph, Dark Days, Bright Nights: From Black Power to Barack Obama (New York: BasicCivitas Books, 2010); Francis Shor, “Utopian Aspirations in the Black Freedom Movement: SNCC and the Struggle for Civil Rights, 1960–1965,” Utopian Studies 15, no. 2 (2004): 173–89. 19. Bush, We Are Not What We Seem. 20. Jeanne Theoharis and Komozi Woodard, Freedom North: Black Freedom Struggles Outside the South, 1940–1980 (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003); Jeanne Theoharis, Komozi Woodard, and Charles Payne, Groundwork: Local Black Freedom Movements in America (New York: New York University Press, 2005); Dayo Gore, Jeanne Theoharis, and Komozi Woodard, eds., Want to Start a Revolution? Radical Black Women in the Black Freedom Struggle (New York: New York University Press, 2009). 21. Adam Green, Selling the Race: Culture, Community, and Black Chicago, 1940– 1955 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2007). 22. Christian Davenport, How Social Movements Die: Repression and Demobilization of the Republic of New Africa (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2015).

Chapter 1. Designing the Future: Black in a Negro Company 1. John Johnson with Lerone Bennett Jr. Succeeding against the Odds: The Autobiography of a Great American Businessman (New York: Warner Books, 1989), 117. 2. “Confidential: War Department,” September 17, 1943, FBI file on Negro Digest, copy in author’s possession. (Unless otherwise specified, copies of all FBI files cited are in author’s possession.) 3. “Negro Digest Dear Friend Subscription Letter,” March 4, 1948, FBI file on Negro Digest. 4. Benjamin Burns, Nitty Gritty: A White Editor in Black Journalism (Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1996), 33. 5. “Office Memorandum from M. A. Jones to Mr. Nichols,” August 14, 1944, FBI file on Negro Digest.

186  .  notes to chap ter 1 6. “John H. Johnson,” August 30, 1963, FBI file on John Johnson; Report of the Senate Fact-Finding Committee on Un-American Activities, 1948: Communist Front Organizations, California Legislature, Fourth Report of Senate Fact-Finding Committee on Un-American Activities, 1948, https://archive.org/stream/reportofsenate fa00calirich/reportofsenatefa00calirich_djvu.txt, September 22, 2016; “Watson to Gentlemen,” December 8, 1953, Hoyt Fuller Papers (box 21, folder 19), Robert W. Woodruff Library, Atlanta University Center, Atlanta (hereafter cited as HFP). 7. “Office Memorandum from M. A. Jones to Mr. Nichols,” August 14, 1944, FBI file on Negro Digest. 8. “Negro Digest,” December 5, 1945, FBI file on Negro Digest. 9. Ibid. 10. “Johnson to Hoover,” April 30, 1944, FBI file on Negro Digest; “Johnson to Hoover,” April 18, 1944, FBI file on Negro Digest; “Hoover to Johnson,” September 9, 1944, FBI file on Negro Digest; “Hoover to Johnson,” April 6, 1945, FBI file on Negro Digest. 11. “My Dear Mr. Hoover,” February 5, 1948, FBI file on Negro Digest; “FBI Agents in Action: Negro G-men Help ‘Gang Busters’ Crack Toughest Cases,” Ebony, October 1947, 9–13. 12. Negro Digest, October 1948; “Hoover to Pressley,” March 8, 1948, FBI file on Negro Digest; Simeon Booker, “J. Edgar Hoover—The Negro in the FBI,” Ebony, September 1962, 29–30, 32–34; “A Black Woman in the FBI,” Ebony, August 1982, 48, 50; “Wayne Davis: FBI Special Agent in Charge,” Ebony, December 1982, 72, 76; “The FBI’s Top-Ranking Black,” Ebony, April 1983, 108, 110, 112; “Faces of Black MiddleClass America,” Ebony, August 1987, 146, 148; FBI ad, Ebony, September 1990, 2; FBI ad, Ebony, December 2003, 65. 13. “SAC, Chicago to Director of FBI,” March 22, 1969, FBI file on Negro Digest; “Johnson to Hoover,” February 27, 1956, FBI file on John Johnson. 14. Burns, Nitty Gritty, 32. 15. Ibid; Johnson with Bennett, Succeeding against the Odds; “‘Failure Is a Word I Don’t Accept’: An Interview with John H. Johnson,” Harvard Business Review, March– April 1976, 79–88; A. James Reichley, “How Johnson Made It,” Fortune, January 1968, 152–53, 178, 180. 16. Ebony 1, no. 1, November 1945. 17. Ibid.; Burns, Nitty Gritty, 89. 18. Burns, Nitty Gritty, 90, 92. 19. Ibid., 30–31; Benjamin Burns Collection (box 2, folders 4–5), Chicago Public Library, Carter G. Woodson Regional Library, Vivian G. Harsh Collection of AfroAmerican History and Literature. 20. Johnson and Bennett, Succeeding against the Odds, 166. 21. Ibid., 189–91. 22. Jet, May 13, 1954, 66. 23. Johnson and Bennett, Succeeding against the Odds, 214.

notes to chap ter 1  ·  187

24. Roland Wolseley, The Black Press, U.S.A., 2nd ed. (Ames: Iowa State University Press, 1990). 25. Johnson and Bennett, Succeeding against the Odds, 198–200. 26. FBI file on John H. Johnson. 27. Johnson and Bennett, Succeeding against the Odds, 126, 231. 28. Ibid., 230. The Secret of Selling the Negro is also the title of a JPC-produced documentary filmed in 1954 and designed to encourage companies to advertise in JPC magazines. 29. Ebony 1, no. 1, November 1945; “20 Years of Ebony,” November 1965, 79; Johnson and Bennett, Succeeding against the Odds, 231. 30. Johnson and Bennett, Succeeding against the Odds, 126. 31. E. Franklin Frazier, The Black Bourgeoisie (New York: Free Press, 1997), 178–79. 32. “Incomplete Autobiography,” no date, HFP (box 14, folder 31). 33. Ibid. 34. Ibid. 35. Ibid.; Fuller to Aunt May, May 5, 1957, HFP (box 2, folder 41). 36. Fuller to Johnson, February 12, 1957, HFP (box 15, folder 20). 37. Adam Green, Selling the Race: Culture, Community, and Black Chicago, 1940–1955 (Chicago: Chicago University Press, 2007); Michael O. West, “Little Rock as America: Hoyt Fuller, Europe, and the Little Rock Racial Crisis of 1957,” Journal of Southern History 78, no. 4 (2012): 913–42. 38. Fuller to Johnson, no date, HFP (box 15, folder 20). 39. Fuller to Otto, no date, HFP (box 2, folder 28). 40. Ibid.; Fuller to Danner, March 24, 1961, HFP (box 3, folder 1). 41. Fuller to Hank, August 28, 1965, HFP (box 2, folder 1). 42. Fuller to Danner, February 20 (no year), HFP (box 3, folder 1). 43. Fuller to Johnson, no date, HFP (box 15, folder 20). 44. Fuller résumé, no date, HFP (box 6, folder 1) 45. Hoyt Fuller, Journey to Africa (Chicago: Third World Press, 1970); Hoyt Fuller, “New Republic in Race against Ruin,” Chicago Defender, July 15, 1959; Hoyt Fuller, “Lack of Trained Persons Is Guinea’s Top Handicap,” Chicago Defender, July 16, 1959; Hoyt Fuller, “Classes Crammed in Most Guinea Schools,” Chicago Defender, July 21, 1959; Hoyt Fuller, “Guineans Range in Skin Shades Like U.S. Negros,” Chicago Defender, July 23, 1959. 46. Fuller, Journey to Africa; Fuller, “New Republic in Race against Ruin”; Fuller, “Lack of Trained Persons”; Fuller, “Classes Crammed”; Fuller, “Guineans Range in Skin Shades.” 47. “A Roundup: What Negroes Are Thinking,” Chicago Defender, February 11, 1967, 1. 48. Malcolm X, “Not Just an American Problem, but a World Problem,” in Malcolm X: The Last Speeches, ed. Bruce Perry (New York: Pathfinder Press, 1989), 151–81.

188  .  notes to chap ter 1 49. John Henrik Clarke, “The New Afro-American Nationalism,” Freedomways 1, no. 3 (1961): 285–95. 50. John Johnson, “Negro Digest Fans Are a Persistent Breed,” Negro Digest, June 1961, 3. 51. “‘Failure Is a Word I Don’t Accept,’” 81. 52. Fuller to Danner, March 24, 1961, HFP (box 3, folder 1). 53. “Prominent Chicagoans Are Listed in Who’s Who of American Women,” Chicago Defender, December 27, 1958, 15; Green, Selling the Race, 167–68. 54. “Introducing Mrs. Saunders,” Chicago Daily Defender, September 26, 1966, 3. 55. Fuller to Dixon, June 14, 1959, HFP (box 1, folder 17); JPC office notes, February 6, 1976, HFP (box 22, folder 10); Burns, Nitty Gritty, 176. 56. Fuller to Johnson, June 18, 1962, HFP (box 5, folder 16); Fuller to Johnson, June 23, 1961, HFP (box 22, folder 23). 57. Fuller to Johnson, June 18, 1962, HFP (box 5, folder 16). 58. Ibid.; Fuller to Johnson, June 23, 1961, HFP (box 22, folder 23). 59. Johnson and Bennett, Succeeding against the Odds, 176. 60. Fuller to Johnson, June 18, 1962, HFP (box 5, folder 16); Fuller to Johnson, May 26, 1965, HFP (box 22, folder 23); Fuller to Johnson, July 16, 1968, HFP (box 15, folder 20); Fuller to Johnson, August 6, 1968, HFP (box 15, folder 20); Johnson to Fuller, December 24, 1968, HFP (box 28, folder 17); Parks to Johnson, January 1, 1971, HFP (box 21, folder 19); Fuller to Johnson, July 9, 1971, HFP (box 15, folder 22); Fuller to Johnson, August 2, 1971, HFP (box 15, folder 22); Fuller to Johnson, April 14, 1972, HFP (box 15, folder 22); Parks to Johnson, November 11, 1972, HFP (box 23, folder 5); Parks to Fuller, March 6, 1974, HFP (box 21, folder 19); Fuller to Johnson, March 6, 1974, HFP (box 21, folder 19). 61. Fuller to Johnson, June 18, 1962, HFP (box 5, folder 16); Fuller to Johnson, May 26, 1965, HFP (box 22, folder 23); Fuller to Johnson, July 16, 1968, HFP (box 15, folder 20); Fuller to Johnson, August 6, 1968, HFP (box 15, folder 20); Johnson to Fuller, December 24, 1968, HFP (box 28, folder 17); Parks to Johnson, January 1, 1971, HFP (box 21, folder 19); Fuller to Johnson, July 9, 1971, HFP (box 15, folder 22); Fuller to Johnson, August 2, 1971, HFP (box 15, folder 22); Fuller to Johnson, April 14, 1972, HFP (box 15, folder 22); Parks to Johnson, November 11, 1972, HFP (box 23, folder 5); Parks to Fuller, March 6, 1974, HFP (box 21, folder 19); Fuller to Johnson, March 6, 1974, HFP (box 21, folder 19); Johnson and Bennett, Succeeding against the Odds; “‘Failure Is a Word I Don’t Accept,’” 79–88. 62. Fuller to Johnson, July 9, 1971, HFP (box 15, folder 22). 63. Fuller to Dixon, June 14, 1959, HFP (box 1, folder 17). 64. Burns, Nitty Gritty, 176. 65. Fuller to Johnson, September 15, 1972, HFP (box 22, folder 23); Fuller to Johnson, October 21, 1975, HFP (box 19, folder 16); Fuller to Johnson, March 17, 1972, HFP (box 21, folder 19); Fuller to Johnson, March 17, 1972, HFP (box 21, folder 19).

notes to chap ter 1  ·  189

66. Fuller to Johnson, October 21, 1975, HFP (box 19, folder 16). 67. Fuller to Johnson, July 9, 1971, HFP (box 15, folder 22); Fuller to Johnson, December 2, 1974, HFP (box 19, folder 16); Fuller to Johnson, August 7, 1975, HFP (box 19, folder 16). 68. “Statement of Ownership, Management, and Circulation,” Negro Digest, January 1964, 7; “Statement of Ownership, Management, and Circulation,” HFP (box 22, folder 23). 69. “Statement of Ownership, Management, and Circulation,” Black World, January 1972, 77. 70. Fuller to Johnson, May 26, 1965, HFP (box 22, folder 23). 71. “Incomplete Autobiography,” no date, HFP (box 14, folder 31). 72. Fuller to Hank, August 28, 1965, HFP (box 2, folder 17) 73. Fuller to Johnson, January 5, 1961, HFP (box 22, folder 23). 74. “Special Issue: Africa . . . Continent of the Future,” Ebony, August 1976. 75. Fuller to Johnson, September 23, 1973, HFP (box 21, folder 18). 76. J. Clarke, “New Afro-American Nationalism,” 285–95; Jasmin A. Young, “Detroit’s Red: Black Radical Detroit and the Political Development of Malcolm X,” Souls: A Critical Journal of Black Politics, Culture, and Society 12, no. 1 (2010): 14–31; Donna Jean Murch, Living for the City: Migration, Education, and the Rise of the Black Panther Party in Oakland, California (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2010); Muhammad Ahmad, We Will Return in the Whirlwind: Black Radical Organizations, 1960–1975 (Chicago: Charles H. Kerr, 2007); John Hall Fish, Black Power/ White Control: The Struggle of the Woodlawn Organization in Chicago (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1973). 77. Eugene Walton, “Is Integration a Threat to Negro Culture?” Negro Digest, October 1962, 3–9. 78. Negro Digest, July 1963. 79. Richard Thorne, “Integration or Black Nationalism,” Negro Digest, August 1963, 36–47. 80. Negro Digest, June 1963; Negro Digest, November 1963; Christopher Tinson, Radical Intellect: Liberator Magazine and Black Activism in the 1960s (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2017). 81. Ernest Allen, “Black Nationalism on the Right: An Expose of ‘Cullud’ Opportunism in the Los Angeles and San Francisco Areas,” Soulbook 1, no. 1 (1964): 12; “What the Black Muslims Believe,” 3–6; Julian Mayfield, “Uncle Tom Abroad,” Negro Digest, June 1963, 37–39. 82. Gerald Horne, Fire This Time: The Watts Uprising and the 1960s (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 1995), 15–16. 83. Lerone Bennett Jr., “The White Problem in America,” Ebony, August 1965, 29–30, 32, 34, 36. 84. W.E.B. Du Bois, The Souls of Black Folk (Chicago: A. C. McClurg, 1903).

190  .  notes to chap ter 1 85. Fuller to Johnson, May 26, 1965, HFP (box 22, folder 23). 86. Cleveland Sellers, The River of No Return: The Autobiography of a Black Militant and the Life and Death of SNCC (Jackson: University of Mississippi, 1990), 205; Faith Holsaert, Martha Noonan, Judy Richardson, et al., Hands on the Freedom Plow: Personal Accounts by Women in SNCC (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2012), 589. 87. Henderson to Fuller, October 27, 1969, HFP (box 8, folder 34). 88. “Incomplete Autobiography,” no date, HFP (box 14, folder 31). 89. Hoyt Fuller, “Towards a Black Aesthetic,” The Critic 26, no. 5 (1968): 70, 72–73. 90. Hoyt Fuller, “Perspectives: Up in Harlem: New Hope,” Negro Digest, October 1965, 49–50, 83. 91. Hoyt Fuller, “An Informal Survey of Black Theater in America,” Negro Digest, April 1968, 83–93; Peter Bailey, Sam Greenlee, Tom C. Dent, and Hoyt Fuller, “Special Report: Black Theater in America,” Negro Digest, April 1969, 20–26, 69–72; “Annual Theater Issue: Reports on Black Theater across the Nation,” Negro Digest, April 1970; “Annual Theater Roundup,” Black World, April 1972; “Annual Theater Issue: Reports on Black Theater U.S.A.,” Black World, April 1973; “Annual Theater Issue: Reports on Black Theater around the World,” Black World, April 1974; “Annual Theater Issue: Reports on Black Theater,” Black World, April 1975; “Annual Theater Issue: Reports on Black Theater in America,” Black World, April 1975. 92. For discussions of Negro Digest/Black World’s narrowness, see correspondence between Ronald Fair and Paul Breman in the Heritage Press Archives, Vivian G. Harsh Research Collection of Afro-American History and Literature, Carter G. Woodson Regional Library, Chicago. 93. James Smethurst, The Black Arts Movement: Literary Nationalism in the 1960s and 1970s (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2005). 94. Author interview with James Turner, April 18, 2010, Ithaca, New York. 95. Ishmael Reed, “You Can’t Be a Literary Magazine and Hate Writers,” in Yardbird Reader, vol. 5 (Berkeley, CA: Yardbird Publishing, 1976), 18–20; “Ron Fair to Paul Breman,” no date, Heritage Press Archives (box 5, folder 6), Vivian Harsh Collection, Chicago Public Library; “Fair to Paul & Jill,” December 28, 1970, Heritage Press Archives (box 5, folder 6); “Fair to Paul,” June 3, 1972, Heritage Press Archives (box 5, folder 6); “Fair to Paul, My Friend,” August 12, 1974, Heritage Press Archives (box 5, folder 6). 96. Hoyt W. Fuller, “A Warning to Black Poets,” Black World, September 1970, 49. 97. Amiri Baraka, “How Black Is Black World?” in Yardbird Reader, vol. 5 (Berkeley, CA: Yardbird Publishing, 1976), 13–17. 98. Author conversation with William Strickland, May 2011, Amherst, Massachusetts. 99. Kalamu ya Salaam, “Making the Most of the Middle Passage,” in Nommo: A Literary Legacy of Black Chicago (1967–1987): An OBAC Anthology, ed. Carole Parks (Chicago: OBAHouse, 1987), 308.

notes to chap ter 1  ·  191

100. David Levering Lewis, When Harlem Was in Vogue (New York: Penguin Books, 1997). 101. Fuller to Johnson, September 5, 1968, HFP (box 22, folder 23). 102. “Black Artists Picket Ebony,” Chicago Defender, December 31, 1969, 3. 103. Author interview with Haki Madhubuti, September 25, 2009, Chicago; author interview with Abena Joan Brown, September 22, 2009, Chicago. 104. Evelyn Rodgers, “Is Ebony Killing Black Women?” Liberator, March 1966, 12–13; Eddie Ellis, “Is Ebony a Negro Magazine?” Liberator, October 1965, 4–5; Eddie Ellis, “Is Ebony a Negro Magazine? Part 2,” Liberator, November 1965, 18–19. 105. “Black Artists Picket Ebony,” Chicago Defender, December 31, 1969, 3. 106. “Statement of Ownership, Management, and Circulation,” Negro Digest, December 1966, 36; “Statement of Ownership, Management, and Circulation,” Negro Digest, December 1967, 98. 107. “Statement of Ownership, Management, and Circulation,” Negro Digest, December 1969. 108. “Statement of Ownership, Management, and Circulation,” Ebony, November 1969, 22. 109. “Statement of Ownership, Management, and Circulation,” Black World, January 1972, 77. 110. Ibid.; “Statement of Ownership, Management, and Circulation,” Negro Digest, January 1964, 7. 111. Malcolm X on Afro-American History (New York: Pathfinder Press, 1967; Richard B. Moore, The Name “Negro,” Its Origin and Evil Use (Baltimore: Black Classic Press, 1992). 112. Lerone Bennett Jr., “What’s in a Name?: Negro vs. Afro-American vs. Black,” Ebony, November 1967, 46–48, 50–52, 54. 113. A. Peter Bailey, Witnessing Brother Malcolm X, the Master Teacher: A Memoir (Washington, DC: A. Peter Bailey, 2013). 114. “Fuller to Johnson: Negro Digest Name Change,” December 30, 1969, HFP (box 22, folder 23). 115. Hoyt Fuller, “Fred Hart Williams: A Man with a Sense of History,” Negro History Bulletin 26, no. 1 (1962): 45–49. 116. Earl Ofari, The Myth of Black Capitalism (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1970), 83. 117. Fuller to Johnson, February 18, 1975, HFP (box 21, folder 19). 118. “Noted Black Writer, 34, Killed in Auto Mishap,” Jet, December 13, 1973, 15; “Backstage,” Ebony, February 1974, 32. 119. Fuller to Johnson, February 18, 1975, HFP (box 21, folder 19); Parks to Johnson, January 1, 1971, HFP (box 21, folder 19); Fuller to Johnson, July 9, 1971, HFP (box 15, folder 22); Fuller to Johnson, August 2, 1971, HFP (box 15, folder 22); Fuller to Johnson, April 14, 1972, HFP (box 15, folder 22); Parks to Johnson, November 11,

192  .  notes to chap ters 1 and 2 1972, HFP (box 23, folder 5); Parks to Fuller, March 6, 1974, HFP (box 21, folder 19); Fuller to Johnson, March 6, 1974, HFP (box 21, folder 19). 120. Fuller to Johnson, March 6, 1974, HFP (box 21, folder 19). 121. Black World, July 1975, 3. 122. Fuller to Johnson, February 18, 1975, HFP (box 21, folder 19). 123. “Read Black World,” advertisement, Ebony, October 1970, 65. 124. “Black Is Beautiful,” Ebony, January 1970, 14. 125. Joseph Turner, “Blackness Becomes ‘Hot’ Market Commodity,” Chicago Defender, September 21, 1968, 12. 126. Author interview with Carole Parks, September 23, 2009, Chicago. 127. Hoyt Fuller, “Sorry to Discomfort You,” Negro Digest, August 1964, back cover.

Chapter 2. A Local Construction Site: OBAC, Chicago, and the Black Aesthetic 1. “Imamu Amiri Baraka,” Chicago Defender, April 1, 1972, 19; Tony Anthony, “Social Circles: Poet Amiri Baraka Fascinates Guests at OBAC Benefit,” Chicago Defender, April 8, 1972, 13; surveillance notes, Chicago Police Department, Red Squad Collection (box 297). 2. “Militant Poet Leroi Jones Scheduled to Appear Here,” Chicago Daily Defender, April 4, 1968, 4; photographs, Chicago Defender, April 27, 1968, 12; Earl Calloway, “Theatre Wing,” Chicago Daily Defender, May 2, 1968, 17. 3. Surveillance notes, Chicago Police Department, Red Squad Collection (box 297). 4. Ibid. 5. Anthony, “Poet Amiri Baraka Fascinates Guests,” 13. 6. Houston A. Baker Jr., “Generational Shifts and the Recent Criticism of AfroAmerican Literature,” Black American Literature Forum 15, no. 1 (1981): 3–21. 7. Ibid., 3. 8. Lawrence P. Jackson, The Indignant Generation: A Narrative History of African American Writers and Critics, 1934–1960 (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2011), 11. 9. Baker, “Generational Shifts,” 3. 10. Ibid., 3; Houston A. Baker Jr., Blues, Ideology, and Afro-American Literature: A Vernacular Theory (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1984), 67. 11. David Llorens, “Seeking a New Image: Writers Converge at Fisk,” Negro Digest, June 1966, 54–68. 12. Hoyt Fuller, “Perspectives: Some Other Hue and Cry,” Negro Digest, October 1969, 49–50, 88. 13. James Smethurst, The Black Arts Movement: Literary Nationalism in the 1960s and 1970s (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2005), 23–56. 14. Hoyt Fuller, “Unpublished Autobiography,” HFP (box 14, folder 31).

notes to chap ter 2  ·  193

15. Hoyt Fuller, “Fred Hart Williams: A Man with a Sense of History,” Negro History Bulletin 26, no. 1 (1962): 45–49. 16. Ibid.; “A City’s Pride: Detroit’s ‘Bright Young Men’ in Washington,” Negro Digest, May 1965, 20–34. 17. FBI file on Hoyt Fuller. 18. Ibid. 19. Ibid. 20. Ibid. 21. Ibid.; “CAG Events,” Contemporary Arts Graphic 1, no. 4 (1953): 3. 22. Gary Murrell, The Most Dangerous Communist in the United States: A Biography of Herbert Aptheker (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 2015). 23. Contemporary Arts Graphic, Rare Books and Special Collections, Northern Illinois University. 24. Author interview with Abdul Alkalimat, March 18, 2010, New Orleans; author interview with Haki Madhubuti, September 25, 2009, Chicago; “The Black Arts Movement in the Broader Legacy of the Civil Rights Movement: Question and Answer Portion of Symposium,” posted by Northwestern University, August 22, 2008, https:// www.youtube.com/watch?v=rVrRRE245zc. 25. “Youthful Militant Poet Dies,” Chicago Daily Defender, March 25, 1968, 1, 3, 9. 26. Ibid. 27. Negro Digest, December 1962, 49; Conrad Kent Rivers, These Black Bodies and This Sunburnt Face (Cleveland: Free Lance Press, 1962). 28. “Books Noted,” Negro Digest, September 1963, 97; Heritage Press Archives (box 11, folders 3–5). 29. “Youthful Militant Poet Dies,” 1, 3, 9. 30. Alkalimat interview. 31. “Rights Group Prepare March for Chicago,” Chicago Defender, September 11, 1963, A16; “They Beat Me,” Chicago Defender, July 7, 1964, 3; “Practicing What He Preaches,” Chicago Defender, July 6, 1964, 26; “Human Relations Meet Set for Area Students,” Chicago Defender, November 10, 1966, 4. 32. Hoyt Fuller, “OBAC—A Year Later,” Negro Digest, July 1968, 92. 33. Ibid. 34. Hoyt Fuller, foreword to Nommo: The Journal of the OBAC Writers’ Workshop 2, no. 2 (1972): 2. Hereafter this journal will be cited as Nommo. 35. “Arts Committee Schedules Introductory Program,” Timuel Black Papers (box 24), Vivian Harsh Collection, Chicago Public Library, Chicago, Illinois; “Arts Committee Schedules Introductory Program,” HFP (box 33, folder 4). 36. St. Clair Drake and Horace Cayton, Black Metropolis: A Study of Negro Life in a Northern City, rev. and enlarged ed. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1993). 37. David Levering Lewis, When Harlem Was in Vogue (New York: Penguin Books, 1997). 38. Hoyt Fuller, foreword to Nommo 1, no. 3 (1972): 1–2, 24.

194  .  notes to chap ter 2 39. Bill V. Mullen, Popular Fronts: Chicago and African-American Cultural Politics, 1935–1946 (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1999). 40. Alkalimat interview. 41. Will Hodgkinson, “Interview with Terry Callier,” The Guardian, October 15, 2004, https://www.theguardian.com/music/2004/oct/15/folk.jazz. 42. Ibid. 43. Nommo 1, no. 1 (1969): 1; Fuller to Rodgers, July 12, 1971, HFP (box 23, folder 16). 44. Harold Cruse, The Crisis of the Negro Intellectual: A Historical Analysis of the Failure of Black Leadership (New York: New York Review of Books, 1967). 45. Alkalimat interview. 46. Fuller, foreword to Nommo 1, no. 3 (1972): 1–2, 24; Fuller, “OBAC—A Year Later,” 92–94; Doris E. Saunders, “Confetti,” Chicago Daily Defender, May 22, 1967, 12; Donald Franklin Joyce, Black Book Publishers in the United States: A Historical Dictionary of the Presses, 1817–1990 (New York: Greenwood Press, 1991), 181–85; Donald Franklin Joyce, Gatekeepers of Black Culture: Black-Owned Book Publishing in the United States, 1817–1981 (New York: Greenwood Press, 1983), 87–88; Path Press Papers, Vivian Harsh Research Collection, Chicago Public Library. 47. Jeff Donaldson, ed., “The Art of Political Struggle and Cultural Revolution,” International Review of African American Art 15, no. 1 (1998); Jeff Donaldson and Geneva Smitherman, “Upside the Wall: An Artist‘s Retrospective Look at the Original Wall of Respect,” in The People’s Art: Black Murals, 1967–1978 (Philadelphia: African American Historical and Cultural Museum, 1986), 2–9; Barbara Jones-Hogu, “The History, Philosophy, and Aesthetics of AFRI-COBRA,” in AFRI-COBRA III (Amherst: University Art Gallery at University of Massachusetts, 1973); “Africobra 1 (African Commune of Bad Relevant Artists) 10 in Search of a Nation,” Black World, October 1970, 80–89; Abdul Alkalmiat, Rebecca Zorach, and Romi Crawford, eds., The Wall of Respect: Public Art and Black Liberation in 1960s Chicago (Chicago: Northwestern University Press, 2017). 48. Author interview with Ann Smith, September 28, 2009, Chicago. 49. David Lionel Smith, “Chicago Poets, OBAC, and the Black Arts Movement,” in Werner Sollors and Maria Diedrich, eds., The Black Columbiad: Defining Moments in African American Literature and Culture (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1994), 255; Fuller, foreword to Nommo 1, no. 3 (1972): 1–2, 24. 50. Hoyt Fuller, “Happenings: Culture Consciousness in Chicago,” Negro Digest, August 1967, 85–87; Alkalimat, Zorach, and Crawford, Wall of Respect. 51. Fuller, “Happenings: Culture Consciousness,” 85–87. 52. Alkalimat interview. 53. Ibid. 54. Fuller, foreword to Nommo 1, no. 3 (1972): 1–2, 24; Fuller, “OBAC—A Year Later,” 92–94; surveillance notes, Chicago Police Department, Red Squad Collection (box 304).

notes to chap ter 2  ·  195

55. Scot Ngozi-Brown, Fighting for US: Maulana Karenga, the US Organization, and Black Cultural Nationalism (New York: New York University Press, 2003); Amiri Baraka, The Autobiography of LeRoi Jones (Chicago: Lawrence Hill Books, 1997); Komozi Woodard, A Nation within a Nation: Amiri Baraka (LeRoi Jones) and Black Power Politics (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1999). 56. Patrick Hughes, Behind the Wall of Respect: Community Experiments in Heroin Addiction Control (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1977); David Llorens, “Junior Wells Is Boss,” Ebony, June 1968, 133–34, 136, 138, 140. 57. Betty Washington, “The ‘Wall’ Community Plans for Progress,” Chicago Defender, November 16, 1967, 5; Donaldson, “Art of Political Struggle”; Donaldson and Smitherman, “Upside the Wall,” 2–9. 58. Author interview with Robert Sengstacke, September 27, 2009, Chicago; “Big Day at the ‘Wall’: Black Pride Theme for Dedication Festivities,” Chicago Defender, September 30, 1967, 3; David Potter, “Crowds Gather as Wall Is Formally Dedicated,” Chicago Defender, October 2, 1967, 3; “Southside Citizens Eulogize Black Beauties,” Chicago Defender, October 3, 1967, 1, 14–15; “Blacks Held Rally to Save Chicago’s Wall of Truth,” Jet, September 4, 1969, 20, 35; “Community Events Calendar,” Chicago Defender, August 16, 1969, 9; photos, Chicago Defender, August 23, 1969, 36; “C.C. of C. Unit Joins Drive to Save Wall,” Chicago Daily Defender, August 29, 1969, 2; “Save the Wall Drive Gains Steam,” Chicago Defender, August 26, 1969, 1; “Orchid for Today,” Chicago Defender, August 27, 1969, 5; “Applaud 43rd St. Wall Razing Delay,” Chicago Daily Defender August 28, 1969, 4; “Soon to Be Destroyed,” Chicago Daily Defender, June 8, 1970, 3; “‘Wall of Respect’ Tumbles Down,” Chicago Daily Defender, March 29, 1972, 2; “No Respect for Wall of Respect,” Chicago Daily Defender, March 29 1972, 1. 59. Surveillance notes, Chicago Police Department, Red Squad Collection (boxes 297, 304, 306, 219, 230); Potter, “Crowds Gather,” 3; Jeff Huebner, “The Man behind the Wall,” Reader: Chicago’s Free Weekly, August 29, 1997; Hoyt Fuller, “Black Consciousness and the Political Police,” Black World, May 1970, 49–50, 83; Sengstacke interview; Lerone Bennett Jr., introduction to Tradition and Conflict: Images of a Turbulent Decade, 1963–1973, by Mary Schmidt Campbell (New York: Studio Museum of Harlem, 1985), 9–10. 60. “The Wall,” Negro Digest, November 1967, 82; “Wall of Respect,” Jet, September 7, 1967, 36; “Wall of Respect,” Jet, October 19, 1967, 9. 61. Donaldson, “Art of Political Struggle.” 62. Author interview with Ann Smith, September 28, 2009, Chicago; Hoyt Fuller to Amiri Baraka, November 17, 1969, Amiri Baraka Papers, Moorland-Spingarn Research Center (box 3, unprocessed). 63. Fuller, “Happenings: Culture Consciousness,” 85–87. 64. “Affro-American Culture Writers Hold Festival of Art at Dunbar,” Chicago Daily Defender, November 6, 1968, 15; Theresa Fambro Hooks, “Social Whirl: Chicago’s UNCF Femmes Launch 1969 Program,” Chicago Defender, March 29, 1969, 19.

196  .  notes to chap ter 2 65. Fuller, “Perspectives: Some Other Hue and Cry,” 49–50, 89–95; Errol G. Hill and James Hatch, A History of African American Theatre (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2003), 479; Barbara Lewis, “Ritual Reformulations: Barbara Ann Teer and the National Theatre of Harlem,” in A Sourcebook of African-American Performance: Plays, People, Movements, ed. Annemarie Bean (New York: Routledge, 1999), 68–82; Smith interview. 66. Smith interview; author interview with Abena Joan Brown, September 22, 2009, Chicago; author interview with Haki Madhubuti, September 25, 2009, Chicago; “ETA Purpose and Program” (organization literature), in author’s possession; “Ebony Talent to Tour,” Chicago Defender, January 20, 1973, 21; program for Kuumba’s Black Liberation Awards, HFP (box 36, folder 1); “Nab 5 Whites after Attack on Negro Home,” Chicago Daily Defender, April 29, 1968, 1; Kuumba News 1, no. 1 (1972), HFP (box 36, folder 2); “Val Gray, Dramatist, to Appear at NAACP Luncheon,” Chicago Defender, April 18, 1964, 12; “Reception Honors the Francis Wards,” Chicago Defender, May 7, 1966, 20; “Nab 5 Whites,” 1; Thelma Hunt Shirley, “Confetti,” Chicago Defender, August 2, 1966, 12; program for Kuumba’s Black Liberation Awards,” HFP (box 36, folder 1); “Kuumba Workshop Liberation Awards,” Chicago Defender, June 23, 1973, 26; “To Be Honored,” Chicago Courier, June 17, 1972, 1, sec. 2, 2; Charles Watts Jr., “Bennett, Fuller Honored,” Muhammad Speaks, July 7, 1972, 29–30; letter from Fuller to Val Gray Ward and Members of the Kuumba Workshop, HFP (box 36, folder 1); “The Kuumba Workshop: In a Living Tribute to Living Black Heroes,” HFP (box 36, folder 1); Kuumba Awards program booklet, HFP (box 36, folder 1); letter from Kuumba to Fuller (circa 1972), HFP (box 36, folder 1). 67. Angela Jackson and Sandra Jackson would later play leadership roles in the writer’s workshop. 68. Fuller, “Perspectives: Some Other Hue and Cry,” 49–50, 89–95; “Imamu Amiri Baraka,” Chicago Defender, April 1, 1972, 19; Anthony, “Social Circles: Poet Amiri Baraka Fascinates Guests, 13; surveillance notes, Chicago Police Department, Red Squad Collection (box 297). 69. Surveillance notes, Chicago Police Department, Red Squad Collection (boxes 219, 230, 296, 279, 297, 304, 362). 70. Ibid. 71. “Youthful Militant Poet Dies,” 1, 3, 9; Hoyt Fuller, “A Word Must Be Said,” Nommo 1, no. 3 (1975): 2. 72. Angela Jackson, “The Blackbird Flies: Remembering Carolyn M. Rodgers,” Callaloo 33, no. 4 (2010): 919–25. 73. “Ebon (Leo Thomas Hale/Ebon Dooley),” in Afro-American Poets since 1955, ed. Trudier Harris and Thadious M. Davis (Detroit: Gale Research, 1985), 99–103. 74. Author interview with James Turner, April 18, 2010, Ithaca, New York. 75. Program for OBAC Writers’ Workshop, HFP (box 30, folder 2). 76. David Lionel Smith, “Chicago Poets,” 253–64.

notes to chap ter 2  ·  197

77. Carol Easton to Joan Waricha, February 7, 1973, Amiri Baraka Papers MoorlandSpingarn Research Center (box 3, unprocessed); Nommo 1, no. 2 (1969). 78. Carolyn Rodgers, Songs of a Black Bird (Chicago: Third World Press, 1968); Johari Amini, Images in Black (Chicago: Third World Press, 1967); Sterling Plumpp, Portable Soul (Chicago: Third World Press, 1969). 79. Jerry Ward, “Sterling D. Plumpp: A Son of the Blues,” in John Zheng, ed., Conversations with Sterling Plumpp (Jackson: University of Mississippi Press, 2016), 11–35. 80. David Llorens, “Black Don Lee,” Ebony, March 1969, 72–78, 80. 81. Hoyt Fuller, “Books Noted,” Black World, March 1976, 83; Nommo 1, no. 2 (1969); Nommo (Winter 1969); Nommo (Winter 1972); Nommo 1, no. 3 (1972); Nommo (Winter 1975). I am indebted to Mari Evans for graciously welcoming me into her home and allowing me to peruse her library, which held several issues of Nommo, among a multitude of other historical treasures. I’m also indebted to Angela Jackson, who gave me a copy of the Winter 1975 issue. 82. Hoyt Fuller, “On Pressure and Awards,” Negro Digest, July 1968, 91; Hoyt Fuller, “The Black-White War for Control of Image’—Continued,” Black World, May 1972, 90–91. 83. Cumbaya: The Newsletter of the OBAC Writers Workshop 1, no. 4 (1976), HFP (box 37, folder 3). Hereafter this newsletter will be cited as Cumbaya. Cumbaya 2, no. 2 (1981). 84. “Calendar of Events,” Chicago Defender, March 15, 1969, 11; Theresa Fambro Hooks, “Social Whirl: Two California Femmes Guest at Gala Reunion,” Chicago Daily Defender, September 14, 1970, 19; “Calendar of Events,” Chicago Defender, February 20, 1971, 2; “Black Cultural Festival Clicks at Farragut Hi,” Chicago Daily Defender, April 12, 1971, 14; Hoyt Fuller, “A ‘Soul-In’ at Fisk,” Negro Digest, July 1968, 80; Chicago Daily Defender, March 27, 1968, 16; “TV Listings,” Chicago Defender, February 20, 1971, 43; “At NU Group Sponsor Festival,” Chicago Daily Defender, April 25,1972, 13. 85. Hoyt Fuller, “Random Notes,” Negro Digest, April 1969, 49–50, 73–74; C. N. Ellis to Brother LeRoi Jones, March 26, 1968, Amiri Baraka Papers, Moorland-Spingarn Research Center (box 3, unprocessed); “Val Gray Is Set for Affro Arts Theatre,” Chicago Defender, May 24, 1969, 18; “Affro Arts Theatre Presents Two Revolutionary Black Plays,” Chicago Defender, March 27, 1969, 18; “Chicago‘s Only Continuous Black Experience: Affro Arts Theatre,” Chicago Defender, October 26, 1968, 13; “Black Cinema This Weekend’s Feature: Nothing but a Man,” Chicago Defender, August 3, 1968, 13; “Don’t Miss A-Beta Speaks,” Chicago Defender, January 20, 1968, 6; Theresa Fambro Hooks, “Social Whirl: Big Fun Weekend for Grambling, Prairie View Alumni Folks,” Chicago Defender, October 3,1970, 19; “The Affro Arts Theatre Presents Evolution of the Black Man,” Chicago Defender, August 1, 1970, 16; “Group Plans Memorial for Fred Hampton,” Chicago Defender, December 31, 1969, 14; “College Grad Joins Affro Staff,” Chicago Defender, August 31, 1968, 27; Bob Hunter, “Affro Arts Theatre Rally Set,” Chicago Daily Defender, April 4, 1968, 1; John Blanton, “Famed Blind Musician”

198  .  notes to chap ter 2 (photo), Chicago Defender, August 24, 1968, 15; “Affro-Arts Theatre Sets Black Cinema,” Chicago Defender, August 5, 1968, 11; Gwendolyn Brooks, Report from Part One (Detroit: Broadside Press, 1972), 150; “Affro Arts Stage Brown’s Blacktastic,” Chicago Daily Defender October 24, 1968, 17; Earl Calloway, “Theater Wing: Sammy Davis Appearance Is Planned for Affro Arts Theatre Benefit,” Chicago Defender, October 28, 1968, 11; “Sammy Davis, Jr. Is Affro Arts Patron,” Chicago Daily Defender, November 14, 1968, 16; “The Impressions Sing Hit Tunes on Affro-Arts Theatre Revue,” Chicago Daily Defender, May 7, 1970, 16; Blanton, “Famed Blind Musician.” 86. Surveillance notes, Chicago Police Department, Red Squad Collection (box 219); Fuller, “‘Soul-In’ at Fisk,” 80. 87. “Name Library for Editor,” Chicago Daily Defender, September 16, 1969, 5. 88. Madhubuti interview; author interview with Angela Jackson, September 26, 2009, Chicago; Fuller to Rodgers, April 23, 1970, HFP (box 23, folder 16); Fuller to Rodgers, July 12, 1971, HFP (box 23, folder 16). 89. “Name Library for Editor,” 5; Fuller to Otto, September 12, 1969, HFP (box 2, folder 32). 90. “Author Toni Morrison to be Honored at Book Party,” Chicago Defender, April 13, 1974, 13. 91. Alkalimat interview; Madhubuti interview; Jackson interview; Fuller, foreword to Nommo 1, no. 3 (1972): 1–2, 24; Fuller, “OBAC—A Year Later,” 92–94; Nommo 1, no. 3; Theresa Fambro Hooks, “Teesee’s Town,” Chicago Daily Defender, October 28, 1975, 12; “Afro-American Writers Celebrate with OBAC,” Chicago Daily Defender, November 6, 1975, 12; Hoyt Fuller, “OBAC Celebration: 8 Years Ancient,” Black World, February 1976, 88–91; “Recent Visitors to OBAC Rap Sessions,” Nommo (Winter 1972); “On Jan. 15 Mari Evans Will Open OBAC’s Lecture Series,” Chicago Daily Defender, January 4, 1973, 10; Hoyt Fuller, “Black Spirits,” Black World, November 1972, 76–79; “OBAC Brings Host of Top Black Writers to Chicago,” Jet, November 27, 1975, 8. 92. Henderson to Fuller, October 27, 1969, HFP (box 8, folder 34). 93. Hoyt Fuller, “Towards a Black Aesthetic,” The Critic 26, no. 5 (1968): 70–73. 94. Hoyt Fuller, “A Survey: Black Writers Views on Literary Lions and Values,” Negro Digest, January 1968, 10–48, 81–89. 95. Ibid., 10–48. 96. Fuller, “Towards a Black Aesthetic,” 70–73. 97. “Today’s Events,” Chicago Daily Defender, July 30, 1969, 2; “Today’s Events,” Chicago Daily Defender, July 9, 1969, 2; “Today’s Events,” Chicago Daily Defender, July 16, 1969, 2; “Today’s Events,” Chicago Daily Defender, July 23, 1969, 2. 98. Fuller, “Happenings: Culture Consciousness,” 85–87. 99. Sengstacke interview; Smethurst, Black Arts Movement, 211. 100. Alkalimat interview. 101. Ward, “Sterling D. Plumpp,” 26. 102. Amus Mor, “Individuality Helps: Black Artists Shape ‘Black National Mind,’” Chicago Defender, April 8, 1972, 27.

notes to chap ter 2  ·  199

103. Ward, “Sterling D. Plumpp,” 26. 104. James Cunningham, “Critique . . . Ron Karenga and Black Cultural Nationalism,” Negro Digest, January 1968, 4, 76–80. 105. Ward, “Sterling D. Plumpp,” 26. 106. Ibid. 107. Jackson interview; “The Black Arts Movement in the Broader Legacy of the Civil Rights Movement: Sterling Plumpp Talk,” posted by Northwestern University, August 22, 2008, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XGbnalh-fGs. 108. Fuller to Greenlee, October 1, 1970, HFP (box 8, folder 22). 109. Fuller, “OBAC Celebration,” 88–91. 110. Ron Fair to Paul Breman, no date, Heritage Press Archives (box 5, folders 6), Vivian Harsh Collection, Chicago Public Library, Chicago, Illinois; “Fair to Paul & Jill,” December 28, 1970, Heritage Press Archives (box 5, folders 6); “Fair to Paul,” June 3, 1972, Heritage Press Archives (box 5, folders 6); “Fair to Paul, My Friend,” August 12, 1974, Heritage Press Archives (box 5, folders 6). 111. “Black Arts Movement in the Broader Legacy: Sterling Plumpp Talk,” https:// www.youtube.com/watch?v=XGbnalh-fGs; Curtis Austin, Up against the Wall: Violence in the Making and Unmaking of the Black Panther Party (Little Rock: University of Arkansas Press, 2008); Ngozi-Brown, Fighting for US. 112. “Black Arts Movement: Sterling Plumpp Talk.” 113. Cheryl Aldave, “Sam Greenlee’s Debut Novel, The Spook Who Sat by the Door, Drew Up the Blueprint for Black Nationalization,” WaxPoetics (2011), http://www.wax poetics.com/blog/features/articles/the-revolution. 114. Scot Ngozi-Brown, “The US Organization, Maulana Karenga, and the Conflict with the Black Panther Party: A Critique of Sectarian Influences on Historical Discourses,” Journal of Black Studies 28, no. 2 (1997): 157–70; Austin, Up against the Wall. 115. Alkalimat interview. 116. “The Black Arts Movement in the Broader Legacy of the Civil Rights Movement: Carolyn Rodgers Talk,” posted by Northwestern University, August 22, 2008, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-nNPAUysWpw. 117. Ibid. 118. Ibid.; Jackson interview; “Black Arts Movement: Sterling Plumpp Talk.” 119. Fuller, foreword to Nommo 1, no. 3 (1972): 1–2, 24. 120. Fuller, “Towards a Black Aesthetic,” 70. 121. Dave Potter, “2 Turn Down Positions,” Chicago Daily Defender, August 15, 1967, 3. 122. Ibid. 123. Russell Rickford, We Are an African People: Independent Education, Black Power, and the Radical Imagination (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016), 216. 124. “Sociologist Speaks on ‘Black Forum’ Series,” Chicago Daily Defender, February 24, 1970, 5.

200  .  notes to chap ter 2 125. Ibid.; “Poet to Speak at OBAC Black Forum Series,” Chicago Daily Defender, June 26, 1970, 11. 126. “Poinsett to Talk on Political Power,” Chicago Daily Defender, March 31, 1971, 2; “Rev. Vivian Addresses Black Writers Seminar,” Chicago Daily Defender, July 19, 1971, 12; “Author to Speak at OBAC Forum,” Chicago Defender, October 2, 1971, 4; “Lu Palmer in OBAC Talk,” Chicago Daily Defender, October 27, 1971, 5; “Duckett Set for OBAC Rap Session, March 5,” Chicago Daily Defender, February 27, 1973, 5. 127. Donald F. Joyce, “Project OBAC: To Tell a Black Child a Story,” HFP (box 9, folder 16). 128. Sterling D. Plumpp, “OBAC and Black Children,” Nommo (Winter 1972): 3–4; “Rev. Vivian Addresses Black Writers Seminar,” 12. 129. Michael Simanga, Amiri Baraka and the Congress of African People: History and Memory (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016); Kwasi Konadu, View from the East: Black Cultural Nationalism and Education in New York City, 2nd ed. (Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 2009). 130. Brooks, Report from Part One, 168–69, 193–95; Gwendolyn Brooks, Jump Bad: A New Chicago Anthology Presented by Gwendolyn Brooks (Detroit: Broadside Press, 1971). 131. Diane Brady, Fraternity (New York: Spiegel and Grau, 2012). 132. “Affro-American Culture Writers Hold Festival of Art at Dunbar,” Chicago Daily Defender November 6, 1968, 15; Madhubuti interview. 133. Madhubuti interview; David Llorens, “Black Don Lee,” Ebony, March 1969, 72–78, 80; Donald Alexander Downs, Cornell ’69: Liberalism and the Crisis of the American University (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press 1999), 104, 129. 134. Harry Edwards, The Revolt of the Black Athlete (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2017). 135. Madhubuti interview. 136. James Turner, “Black Studies: A Concept and a Plan,” Cornell Chronicle 1, no. 2 (1969): 1–8. 137. Fuller to Johnson (May 17, 1972) HFP (box 15, folder 21); Billingsley to Fuller, May 4, 1972, HFP (box 15, folder 21); Madhubuti interview. 138. Fuller to Rodgers, April 23, 1970, HFP (box 23, folder 16); Rodgers to Breman, October 4, 1971, Heritage Press Papers (box 11, folders 6). 139. Hoyt Fuller, “Perspectives,” Negro Digest, July 1968, 49. 140. Peters to Johnson, January 21, 1971, HFP (box 23, folder 16); Fuller to Rodgers, January 26, 1971, HFP (box 23, folder 16). 141. Fuller to Otto, September 12, 1969, HFP (box 2, folder 32); Jackson interview. 142. Ward, “Son of the Blues,” 25–26; “Black Arts Movement: Sterling Plumpp Talk.” 143. Mor, “ Individuality Helps,” 27. 144. Roderick A. Ferguson, The Reorder of Things: The University and Its Pedagogies of Minority Difference (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2012). 145. Addison Gayle, ed., The Black Aesthetic (New York: Doubleday, 1971).

notes to chap ters 2 and 3  ·  201

146. “Gayle to Fuller,” HFP (box 21, folder 3). 147. Fuller, “Survey: Black Writers Views,” 32. 148. Nathaniel Norment, ed. The Addison Gayle Reader (Urbana: University of Illinois Press 2009), xii, xxxviii; Nathaniel Norment, “Addison Gayle: The Consummate Black Critic,” College Language Association Journal 48, no. 4 (2005): 353–86. 149. Dexter Fisher, ed., Minority Language and Literature: Retrospective and Perspective (New York: Modern Language Association of America, 1977), 9. 150. David Dorsey, “Minority Literature in the Service of Cultural Pluralism,” in Minority Language and Literature: Retrospective and Perspective, ed. Dexter Fisher (New York: Modern Language Association of America, 1977), 16–19. 151. Ward, “Sterling D. Plumpp,” 26. 152. “Calendar of Events,” Chicago Defender, August 3, 1974, 2; “Calendar of Events,” Chicago Defender, December 5, 1974, 2; Hooks, “Teesee’s Town,” 12; “Writers Workshop Stages a House Rent Party,” Chicago Defender, July 19, 1975, A5. 153. Ward, “Sterling D. Plumpp,” 26–27. 154. “Fire Destroys Black Writers Center; Seek New Quarters,” Chicago Daily Defender, December 16, 1975, 5; Fuller, “OBAC Celebration,” 88–91. 155. Jackson interview. 156. GerShun Avilez, Radical Aesthetics and Modern Black Nationalism (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2016). 157. J. Lee Greene, “Black Literature and the American Literary Mainstream,” in Minority Language and Literature: Retrospective and Perspective (New York: Modern Language Association of America, 1977), 20–28. 158. Fuller, “Towards a Black Aesthetic,” 73.

Chapter 3. Expansion Plans: Asymmetries of Pan-African Power 1. “Facilities at National Theatre,” Festival News 1, no. 1 (1974): 2; “Second World Festival of Arts and Culture, Lagos, Nigeria, 1974,” Vincent Harding Papers, Emory University Manuscript, Archives and Rare Books Library, Atlanta University (box 15, folder 8); Alma Robinson, “Afro-American Odyssey to FESTAC ’77,” Pageants of the African World (Lagos: Nigeria Magazine, Department of Culture, Federal Ministry of Social Development, Youth, Sports, and Culture, 1980); John Darnton, “African Woodstock Overshadows Festival,” New York Times, January 19, 1977, 6; John Darnton, “Nigeria Is Preparing for Arts Festival,” New York Times, October 31, 1976, 17; Felix Odiari, “24 Hours to FESTAC ’77, All Set,” Nigerian Daily Times, January 14, 1977, 1; Alex Poinsett, “FESTAC ’77,” Ebony, May 1977, 33–36, 38, 40, 44–46. 2. “Black Americans Storm FESTAC!,” Nigerian Daily Times, February 8, 1977, 10. 3. Author interview with Richard Long, June 5, 2010, Atlanta University; author interview with Maulana Karenga, June 11, 2010, Atlanta, Georgia. 4. Anthony Ratcliff, “Liberation at the End of a Pen: Writing Pan-African Politics of Cultural Struggle” (PhD diss.), University of Massachusetts, 2009; Alexis De Veaux, Warrior Poet: A Biography of Audre Lorde (New York: W. W. Norton, 1997); Melba

202  .  notes to chap ter 3 Joyce Boyd, Wrestling with the Muse: Dudley Randall and the Broadside Press (New York: Columbia University Press, 2003). 5. George Padmore, Pan-Africanism or Communism?: The Coming Struggle for Africa (London: Dobson, 1956), 152. 6. Ibid. 7. C.L.R. James, The Black Jacobins: Toussaint L’Ouverture and the San Domingo Revolution (New York: Vintage Books, 1963), 397. 8. George Shepperson, “Pan-Africanism and ‘Pan-Africanism’: Some Historical Notes, Phylon 23, no. 4 (1962): 346–58. 9. St. Clair Drake, “The Black Diaspora in Pan-African Perspective,” Black Scholar 7, no. 1 (1975): 2–14; St. Clair Drake, “Diaspora Studies and Pan-Africanism,” in Global Dimensions of the African Diaspora, ed. Joseph Harris (Washington, DC: Howard University Press, 1982), 341–402. 10. Drake, “Diaspora Studies and Pan-Africanism.” 11. Hakim Adi and Marika Sherwood, Pan-African History: Political Figures from Africa and the Diaspora since 1787 (New York: Routledge, 2003). 12. Hoyt Fuller, Journey to Africa (Chicago: Third World Press, 1970). 13. Ibid., 21. 14. Donn Kurtz, “Political Integration in Africa: The Mali Federation,” Journal of Modern African Studies 8, no. 3 (1970): 405–424; William J. Foltz, “An Early Failure of Pan-Africanism: The Mali Federation, 1959–60,” in Politics in Africa: 7 Cases, ed. Gwendolyn M. Carter (New York: Harcourt, Brace, and World, 966), 33–66. 15. Fuller, Journey to Africa, 35. 16. Ibid., 71. 17. “List of U.S. Committee Members as of June 22, 1965. First World Festival of Negro Arts U.S. Committee Papers (box 1, folder 6), Schomburg Center for Research [hereafter referred to as FESMAN Papers]. 18. Hoyt Fuller, “Perspectives,” Negro Digest, March 1965, 49–50. 19. Elizabeth Harney, In Senghor’s Shadow: Art Politics and the Avant-Garde in Senegal, 1960–1995 (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2004); Gary Wilder, Freedom Time: Negritude, Decolonization, and the Future of the World (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2015). 20. Jean Baptiste Popeau, Dialogues of Negritude: An Analysis of the Cultural Context of Black Writing (Durham, NC: Carolina Academic Press, 2003); Pal Ahluwalia, Politics and Post-Colonial Theory: African Inflections (New York: Routledge, 2001); Emmanuel E. Egar, The Crisis of Negritude: A Study of the Black Movement against Intellectual Oppression in the Early 20th Century (Boca Raton, FL: Brown Walker Press, 2008); Vincent Bakpetu Thompson, Africa and Unity: The Evolution of PanAfricanism (New York: Humanities Press, 1969); Colin Legum, Pan-Africanism: A Short Political Guide (New York: Praeger, 1962). 21. Leopold Sedar Senghor, “The Function and Meaning of the First World Festival of Negro Arts,” African Forum 1, no. 4 (1966): 5–10.

notes to chap ter 3  ·  203

22. Asli Berktay, “Negritude and African Socialism: Rhetorical Devices for Overcoming Social Divides,” Third Text 24, no. 2 (2010): 205–214; Denis Ekpo, “Speak Negritude but Think and Act French: The Foundations of Senghor’s Political Philosophy,” Third Text 24, no. 2 (2010): 227–39; Abiola Irele, “Negritude or Black Cultural Nationalism,” Journal of Modern African Studies 3, no. 3 (1965): 321–48; Wilder, Freedom Time. 23. Berktay, “Negritude and African Socialism,” 205–214; Walter Skurnik, “Leopold Sedar Senghor and African Socialism,” Journal of Modern African Studies 3, no. 3 (1965): 349–69; Clive Wake, “Senghor and Socialism,” New African (November 1962): 2–3. 24. Berktay, “Negritude and African Socialism,” 205–214. 25. Harney, In Senghor’s Shadow, 7. 26. “Release,” FESMAN Papers (box 1, folder 2). 27. Ibid. 28. Frederick Cooper, “Possibility and Constraint: African Independence in Historical Perspective,” Journal of African History 49 (2008): 167–96; Wilder, Freedom Time; L. S. Senghor, “West Africa in Evolution,” Foreign Affairs 2 (January 1961): 240. 29. Mary Dudziak, Cold War Civil Rights: Race and the Image of American Democracy (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2011); Penny Von Eschen, Race against Empire: Black Americans and Anticolonialism, 1937–1957 (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1997), 177–81; Lisa Davenport, “Jazz and the Cold War: Black Culture as an Instrument of American Foreign Policy,” in Crossing Boundaries: Comparative History of Black People in Diaspora, ed. Darlene Clark Hine and Jacqueline McLeod (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1999), 282–318; Penny Von Eschen, Satchmo Blows Up the World: Jazz Ambassadors Play the Cold War (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2006). 30. “The Origin and Nature of the American Society of African Culture,” HFP (box 32, folder 10); John Davis, “An Editorial Statement,” African Forum 1, no. 1 (1965): 3; Hoyt Fuller “Perspectives: What Is AMSAC?” Negro Digest, May 1963, 49–50; American Society of African Culture, Pan Africanism Reconsidered (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1962); James K. Baker, “The American Society of African Culture,” Journal of Modern African Studies 4, no. 3 (1966): 367–69. 31. Erik McDuffie, “Black and Red: Black Liberation, the Cold War, and the Horne Thesis,” Journal of African American History 96, no. 2 (2011): 236–47. 32. Mary Helen Washington, “Desegregating the 1950s: The Case of Frank London Brown,” Japanese Journal of American Studies 10 (1999): 15–32. 33. Fuller to Otto, March 1, 1965, HFP (box 2, folder 29). 34. Hoyt Fuller, “The African Scene,” Negro Digest, October 1966, 38. 35. Lloyd Garrison, “Real Bursts through the Unreal Dakar,” New York Times, April 26, 1966; K. William Kgositsile, “I Have Had Enough: Report on Dakar Festival of Negro Arts,” Liberator 6, no. 7 (1966): 10–11; Donald Louchheim, “U.S. Artists Impressive at Dakar, but Organizational Effort Is Rapped,” Washington Post, April 8,

204  .  notes to chap ter 3 1966, A17; Charles Sanders, “Africans Disappointed in U.S. Negro Festival Showing,” Jet, May 5, 1966, 15–20. 36. “Innes-Brown to Robert Dowling,” FESMAN Papers (box 1, folder 4); “InnesBrown to Stephan Benedict,” FESMAN Papers (box 1, folder 5); “A Brief Documentary Report on United States Participation in the First World Festival of Negro Arts,” FESMAN Papers (box 1, folder 6); “Mrs. Johnson Heads U.S. Negro Arts Unit,” New York Times, March 2, 1966, 83; “The U.S. Committee for the First World Festival, List of Committee Members as of June 22, 1965,” FESMAN Papers (box 1, folder 6); “Innes-Brown to David Guyer,” FESMAN Papers (box 1, folder 4); “Mrs. Lyndon B. Johnson to Inness-Brown,” FESMAN Papers (box 1, folder 2); “Press Release March 1,” FESMAN Papers (box 1, folder 2); “Statement by Ambassador Adlai E. Stevenson,” FESMAN Papers (box 1, folder 1); “Krawitz to Carpenter,” FESMAN Papers (box 1, folder 2); “Rockefeller Fund Assists U.S. Negro Arts Fete Unit,” New York Times, February 22, 1966, 14; “U.S. to Send Noted Negroes to Arts Parley,” Chicago Tribune, February 11, 1966, C16; Richard Shepard, “10 Painters Quit Negro Festival in Dispute with U.S. Committee,” New York Times, March 10, 1966, 29; Richard Shepard, “105 U.S. Negro Artists Prepare for Senegal Arts Fete in April,” New York Times, February 11, 1966, 36; Louchheim, “U.S. Artists Impressive at Dakar,” A17; Clive Barnes, “Dance: Negro Troupe Is Still Hoping,” New York Times, March 24, 1966, 48; Clive Barnes, “Dance: Hoping for a $130,000 Miracle,” New York Times, March 17, 1966, 34; Hoyt Fuller, “Assessment and Questions: Festival Postscripts,” Negro Digest, June 1966, 82–87. 37. Hoyt Fuller, “World Festival of Negro Arts: Senegal Fete Illustrates Philosophy of Negritude,” Ebony, July 1966, 96–102, 104, 106. 38. Ibid. 39. Fuller to Marcel, August 23, 1972, HFP (box 2, folder 10) 40. Fuller, “Assessment and Questions,”82–87; Hoyt Fuller, “Perspectives: Mrs. Inness-Brown and the Festival,” Negro Digest, June 1966, 49–50; Hoyt Fuller, “An Editorial: We Find This Deeply Disturbing,” Negro Digest, June 1966, 97–98. 41. Mary Dudziak, “Desegregation as a Cold War Imperative,” Stanford Law Review 41, no. 1 (1988): 61–120; Dudziak, Cold War Civil Rights. 42. Richard Hardwood, “8 More Groups Linked to CIA’s Fund Activities,” Washington Post, February 21, 1967: A6; Hugh Wilford, The Mighty Wurlitzer: How the CIA Played America (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2009); Hugh Wilford, “The American Society of African Culture: The CIA and Transnational Networks of African Diaspora Intellectuals in the Cold War,” in Transnational Anti-Communism and the Cold War, ed. Luc Van Dongen, et al. (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014), 23–35; Ellen Ray and William Schaap, Dirty Work 2: The CIA in Africa (London: Zed Press, 1980); Lawrence Jackson, The Indignant Generation: A Narrative History of African American Writers and Critics, 1934–1960 (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2013).

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43. Davis to Fuller, June 9, 1966, HFP (box 32, folder 10); Davis to Fuller, March 1, 1967, HFP (box 32, folder 10); Fuller to Davis, March 6, 1967, HFP (box 32, folder 10); Fuller to Davis, June 29, 1970, HFP (box 32, folder 10). 44. Jeffrey James Byrne, Mecca of the Revolution: Algeria, Decolonization, and the Third World Order (Cambridge, UK: Oxford University Press, 2016). 45. Wizārat al-Akhbār wa-al-Thaqāfah, The First Pan-African Cultural Festival (Algiers: Ministry of Information and Culture, 1970), 36–38. 46. Ibid. 47. Thompson, Africa and Unity, 156–77; Imanuel Geiss, The Pan-African Movement: A History of Pan-Africanism in America, Europe, and Africa (New York: African Publishing Company, 1968), 419–23; P. Olisanwuche Esedebe, Pan-Africanism: The Idea and the Movement, 1776–1991 (Washington, DC: Howard University Press, 1994), 178–85. 48. Mahmoud Tlemsani to Fuller, June 9, 1969, HFP (box 35, folder 26). 49. “Programme of Events,” HFP (box 35, folder 26); Algiers write-up, HFP (box 35, folder 26); Marc Albert-Levin, “La Nouvelle chose, une musique en révolution,” Front: Journal Mensuel Paraissant Le Premier Mardi Du Mois (Special Issue for Pan African Cultural Festival), July 1969, 22–23; “New Music and the Paths of Revolt,” 1st Pan African Cultural Festival News Bulletin 3, May 1969, 22–26; “Jazz: Return to the Native Country,” 1st Pan African Cultural Festival News Bulletin 3, May 1969, 27–29. 50. Byrne, Mecca of the Revolution, 291. 51. Ibid., 113–72. 52. Ibid., 266. 53. Ibid., 271–80. 54. Unpublished Algiers Journal, HFP (box 35, folder 25). 55. Frances Covington, “Are the Revolutionary Techniques Employed in The Battle of Algiers Applicable to Harlem?” in The Black Woman, ed. Toni Cade (New York: Penguin, 1970), 244–52. 56. “Mecca for Blackness: Chicago’s Affro Arts Theatre Celebrates African Culture,” Ebony, May 1970, 96–98, 100; “Affro Arts Theatre Sets Black Cinema,” Chicago Daily Defender, August 5, 1968, 11; Van Gosse, “Home Rules: An Interview with Amiri Baraka,” Radical History Review: Transnational Black Studies 87 (Fall 2003): 109–126; Samir Meghelli, “From Harlem to Algeria: Transnational Solidarities between the African American Freedom Movement and Algeria, 1962–1978,” in Black Routes to Islam, ed. Manning Marable and Hishaam D. Aidi (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009), 99–119. 57. Frantz Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth (New York: Grove Press, 1963). 58. Kenn Freeman, “The Man from F.L.N.: Brother Frantz Fanon,” Soulbook 1, no. 3 (1965): 164–77. 59. Jean-Paul Sartre, “‘The Wretched of the Earth’: Jean-Paul Sartre’s Moving Preface to a Profoundly Significant Book,” Negro Digest, July 1965, 80–96.

206  .  notes to chap ter 3 60. Gosse, “Home Rules,”109–126. For an example of how African American activists talked about Algeria and the FLN, see Huey P. Newton, The Genius of Huey P. Newton (San Francisco: Minister of Information, Black Panther Party, 1970), 24. 61. Hoyt Fuller, “Pan African Cultural Festival,” HFP (box 35, folder 26); AlbertLevin, “La Nouvelle chose,” 22–23; “New Music and the Paths of Revolt,” 1st Pan African Cultural Festival New Bulletin 3, May 1969, 22–26; “Jazz: Return to the Native Country,” 1st Pan African Cultural Festival New Bulletin 3, May 1969, 27–29. 62. Hoyt Fuller, “Algiers Journal,” Negro Digest, October 1969, 80; unpublished Algiers Journal, HFP (box 35, folder 25). 63. Fuller to Otto, September 12, 1969, HFP (box 2, folder 32). 64. Ibid.; H. E. Houari Boumediéne, “Inaugural Speech,” in African Culture: Algiers Symposium, July 21–August 1, 1969 (Algiers: Société Nationale d’Edition et de Diffusion, 1969), 13–19; Stanislas Adotevi, “The Strategy of Culture,” Black Scholar 1, no. 1 (1969): 27–35. 65. Hoyt Fuller, “Algiers Journal,” Negro Digest, October 1969, 80; Fuller, Journey to Africa, 95. 66. Byrne, Mecca of the Revolution, 176. 67. Ibid., 267–68. 68. Adotevi, “Strategy of Culture,” 27–35. 69. Fuller to Long, April 19, 1971, HFP (box 2, folder 7). 70. Toyin Falola, The History of Nigeria (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1999), 95–151; Toyin Falola and Matthew Heaton, A History of Nigeria (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2008), 158–209. 71. Sylvia Moore, The Afro-Black Connection (Report for the Dutch Ministry of Culture, Recreation, and Social Work) (Amsterdam: Royal Tropical Institute, 1977). 72. Onuora Nzekwu, “Nigeria, Negritude, and the World Festival of Negro Arts,” Nigeria Magazine 89, June 1966, 80–94. 73. Falola, History of Nigeria, 95–151; Falola and Heaton, History of Nigeria, 158–209. 74. Andrew Apter, The Pan-African Nation: Oil and the Spectacle of Culture in Nigeria (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2005). 75. Hoyt Fuller, “My Involvement with the Festival: HWF,” Black World, January 1975, 81–82. 76. Ibid. 77. Ibid.; Hoyt Fuller, “A Report: The Second World Black and African Festival of Arts and Culture,” Black World, January 1975, 78–83; Fuller to Margaret Danner, July 25, 1972, HFP (box 3, folder 17); Fuller to Donaldson, February 6, 1972, HFP (box 8, folder 8). 78. “Ossie Davis Gets Post in Festival,” New York Times, June 25, 1972, 49. 79. “Official Statement of the USA/FESTAC Committee,” April 8,1977, HFP (box 37, folder 10); “FESTAC Aides Being Sought,” Oakland Post, July 30, 1975, 1. 80. “FESTAC Names Board Members,” Sun Times Reporter, July 19, 1975, 32; “Board of Directors, United States Committee 2nd World Black and African Festival of Arts

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and Culture,” HFP (box 37, folder 10); “Notes on FESTAC US Letterhead,” HFP (box 24, folder 20); Madhubuti interview. 81. Interview with Jeff Donaldson, April 23, 2001, History Makers Digital History Video Archive. 82. Earl Ofari, “Marxism-Leninism: The Key to Black Liberation” Black Scholar 4, no. 1 (1972): 35–46; Carlos Moore, Were Marx and Engels White Racists? The ProletAryan Outlook of Marx and Engels (Chicago: Institute for Positive Education, 1972); Tony Thomas, “Black Nationalism and Confused Marxists,” Black Scholar 4, no. 1 (1972): 47–52; Amiri Baraka, “Toward Ideological Clarity,” Black World, November 1974, 24–33, 84–95; Owasu Sadaukai, Oba T’Shaka, and Amiri Baraka, Two Line Struggle: Revolutionary Pan-Afrikanism vs. Dogmatic Marxism (n.p.: Patrice Lumumba Publishers, 1974); “ALSC . . . Toward Ideological Clarity,” Unity and Struggle, July 1974, 5–6, 3; “Haki Madhubuti and Jitu Weusi . . . Individualism Brings Two CAP Resignations,” Unity and Struggle, July 1974, 5, 11; Haki Madhubuti, “The Latest Purge: The Attack on Black Nationalism and Pan-Afrikanism by the New Left, the Sons and Daughters of the Old Left,” Black Scholar, September 1974, 43–56; Haki Madhubuti, “Enemy: From the White Left, White Right and In-Between,” Black World, October 1974, 36–47; Haki Madhubuti, “Sixth Pan-Afrikan Congress: What Is Being Done to Save the Black Race,” Black Books Bulletin 2 (Fall 1974): 44–51; “Amiri Baraka Interview,” Black Books Bulletin 2, no. 2 (1974): 33–37, 40–43; Maulana Karenga, “Which Road: Nationalism, Pan-Africanism, Socialism?” Black Scholar, October 1974, 21–31; Imamu Amiri Baraka, “Some Questions about the Sixth Pan-African Congress,” Black Scholar, October 1974, 42–46; Ronald Walters, “A Response to Haki Madhubuti,” Black Scholar, October 1974, 47–49; S. E. Anderson, “A Response to Haki Madhubuti,” Black Scholar, October 1974, 50–53; Kalamu ya Salaam, “A Response to Haki Madhubuti,” Black Scholar, January–February 1975, 40–43; Mark Smith, “A Response to Haki Madhubuti,” Black Scholar, January–February 1975, 43–53; Gwendolyn Patton, “Open Letter to Marxists,” Black Scholar, April 1975, 50–52; Gaga Mark S. Johnson, “Open Letter to Nationalists,” Black Scholar, April 1975, 52–53; Black World, March 1976; Manning Marable, Blackwater: Historical Studies in Race, Class Consciousness, and Revolution (Dayton: Black Praxis Press, 1981); Amiri Baraka, The Autobiography of Leroi Jones (Chicago: Lawrence Hill Books, 1997), 416–20, 426–27, 433–42; Ronald Walters, Pan-Africanism in the African Diaspora: An Analysis of Modern Afrocentric Political Movements (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1997); Modibo M. Kadalie, Internationalism, Pan-Africanism, and the Struggle of Social Classes (Savannah: One Quest Press, 2000), 237–43; Kwasi Konadu, A View from the East: Black Cultural Nationalism and Education in New York City, 2nd ed. (Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 2009), 38–47; Cedric Johnson, Revolutionaries to Race Leaders: Black Power and the Making of African American Politics (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2007), 147–170; Howard Fuller, No Struggle No Progress: A Warrior’s Life from Black Power to Education Reform (Milwaukee: Marquette University Press, 2014), 154–59.

208  .  notes to chap ter 3 83. Hoyt Fuller, “Notes from a Sixth Pan-African Journal,” Black World, October 1974, 70–81; Hoyt Fuller, “The Angola Crisis and Afro-Americans,” Black World, March 1976, 24. 84. Fuller, Journey to Africa; Hoyt Fuller, “New Republic in Race against Ruin,” Chicago Defender, July 15, 1959; Hoyt Fuller, “Lack of Trained Persons Is Guinea’s Top Handicap,” Chicago Defender, July 16, 1959; Hoyt Fuller, “Classes Crammed in Most Guinea Schools,” Chicago Defender, July 21, 1959; Hoyt Fuller, “Guineans Range in Skin Shades Like U.S. Negros,” Chicago Defender, July 23, 1959. 85. FESTAC ’75: Festival News 1, no. 1 (1975): 1, 6; National Festival for of the Arts: Festival News 1, no. 1 (1974). 86. Author interview with Abena Joan Brown, September 22, 2009, Chicago. 87. Ibid. 88. Andrew Apter, “Beyond Negritude: Black Cultural Citizenship and the Arab Question in FESTAC ’77,” Journal of African Cultural Studies 28, no. 3 (2016): 313–26; “An Interview with Jean-Paul Sartre (early 1970)”; “An Interview with Leopold Sedar Senghor, Dakar, Tuesday, July 8, 1969, 4–5pm”; “An Interview with Aimé Césaire, Presence Africaine in Paris, January 20, 1970”; “An Interview with Leon-Gontran Damas, January 18, 1970,” all in Matt Schaffer Papers (box 2, folders 10–13, 23), Emory University Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Books Library, Atlanta, Georgia. 89. John Darnton, “Nigeria Is Preparing for Arts Festival,” New York Times, October 31, 1976, 17; Bayo Rotibi, “Spotlight on FESTAC: The First Five Days,” Nigerian Daily Times, January 20, 1977, 17; Abdulkadir N. Said, “More Than Song and Dance,” New Directions: The Howard University Magazine, April 1977, 10; Walters, Pan Africanism in the African Diaspora, 81–82; John Darnton, “Islam Stirs Controversy in West Africa,” New York Times, May 30, 1976, 3; Apter, Pan-African Nation, 70. 90. Author interview with Richard Long, June 5, 2010, Atlanta University. 91. Ibid.; S. Moore, Afro-Black, 7; “Facilities at National Theatre,” Festival News 1, no. 1 (1974): 2; “Second World Festival of Arts and Culture, Lagos, Nigeria, 1974,” Vincent Harding Papers, Emory University Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Books Library, Atlanta University (box 15, folder 8); Robinson “Afro-American Odyssey”; John Darnton, “African Woodstock Overshadows Festival,” New York Times, January 19, 1977, 6; John Darnton, “Nigeria Is Preparing for Arts Festival,” New York Times, October 31, 1976, 17; Felix Odiari, “24 Hours to FESTAC ’77, All Set,” Nigerian Daily Times, January 14, 1977, 1; Alex Poinsett, “FESTAC ’77” Ebony, May 1977, 33–36, 38, 40, 44–46; “The Face of Lagos,” Nigerian Daily Times, January 8, 1977, 26; Oje Oriere, “Free Flow of Traffic,” Nigerian Daily Times, January 6, 1977, 12; “Govt Out to Curb People’s Dirty Habits: Making Lagos Clean,” Nigerian Daily Times, January 7, 1977, 1; “Ad: FESTAC 77 the Great Festival,” Nigerian Daily Times, January 5, 1977, 18; “Ad: FESTAC 77 the Great Festival,” Nigerian Daily Times, January 14, 1977, 8; Apter, PanAfrican Nation, 91. 92. “Facilities at National Theatre,” Festival News 1, no. 1 (1974): 2; “Second World Festival of Arts and Culture, Lagos, Nigeria, 1974,” Vincent Harding Papers, Emory

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University Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Books Library, Atlanta University (box 15, folder 8); Robinson, “Afro-American Odyssey”; John Darnton, “African Woodstock Overshadows Festival,” New York Times, January 19, 1977, 6; John Darnton, “Nigeria Is Preparing for Arts Festival,” New York Times, October 31, 1976, 17; Felix Odiari, “24 Hours to FESTAC ’77, All Set,” Nigerian Daily Times, January 14, 1977, 1; Alex Poinsett, “FESTAC ’77,” Ebony, May 1977, 33–36, 38, 40, 44–46. 93. Fuller to Margaret Danner, July 25, 1972, HFP (box 3, folder 17); “New Chairman to Direct Arts Festival Planning,” Jet, May 1975, 55; Hoyt Fuller, “Second World Festival Notes,” Black World, July 1975, 68–70; Brown interview; “Official Statement of the USA/FESTAC Committee,” April 8, 1977, HFP (box 37, folder 10); “FESTAC Aides Being Sought,” Oakland Post, July 30, 1975, 1. 94. Donaldson interview; Robinson, “Afro-American Odyssey.” 95. “Official Statement of the USA/FESTAC Committee,” April 8, 1977, HFP (box 37, folder 11); “Official Statement of the USA/FESTAC Committee,” Black Books Bulletin (Summer 1977): 50–55. 96. Hoyt Fuller, “An Editorial,” Negro Digest, June 1966, 98. 97. Robert C. Smith, We Have No Leaders: African Americans in the Post–Civil Rights Era (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1996); Manning Marable, Race, Reform, and Rebellion: The Second Reconstruction in Black America, 1945–1990, 2nd ed. (Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1991); C. Johnson, Revolutionaries to Race Leaders. 98. “Official Statement of the USA/FESTAC Committee,” April 8, 1977, HFP (box 37, folder 11); Roy Betts, “President Carter Woos Africa with Symbols, Substance during Visit,” Jet, April 20, 1978, 8–9, 14–17. 99. “fm amembassy lagos to secstate washdc,” July 2, 1974, State Cable; Donaldson interview; “Andrew Young Sworn in as U.N. Delegate,” New York Times, January 31, 1977, 4; Kathleen Teltsch, “Young, Taking Over U.N. Duties, Prepares to Leave for Africa Today,” New York Times, February 1, 1977, 2; J. L. “Blacks & Young,” New York Times, February 6, 1977, SM19. 100. Teltsch, “Young, Taking Over.” 101. Ibid.; “fm amembassy lagos to secstate washdc”; Hanes Walton Jr., Robert Louis Stevenson, and James Bernard Rosser Sr., eds., The African Foreign Policy of Secretary of State Henry Kissinger: A Documentary Analysis (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2010); Robinson, “Afro-American Odyssey”; “Official Statement of the USA/ FESTAC Committee,” April 8, 1977, HFP (box 37, folder 11); C. Munhamu Botsio Utete, “Détente in Southern Africa,” Black World, May 1975, 30–36; Hoyt Fuller, “The Africa Scene,” Black World, April 1975, 89. 102. Ronald Walters, “The FESTAC Colloquium: A Black Perspective,” New Directions: The Howard University Magazine, April 1977, 14–15; Walters, Pan Africanism in the African Diaspora, 81–82; Maulana Karenga, “Afro-American Nationalism: Social Strategy and Struggle for Community,” in The Arts and Civilization of Black Peoples, ed. Joseph Okpaku, Alfred Opubor, and Benjamin Oloruntimehin, 5:153–69 (Lagos:

210  .  notes to chap ters 3 and 4 Centre for Black and African Arts and Civilization, 1986); Karenga interview; Molefi Asante, Maulana Karenga: An Intellectual Portrait (Malden, MA: Polity Books, 2009), x–xi. 103. “New U.S. Chief at U.N. Off to Africa Tuesday,” New York Times, January 30, 1977, 3. 104. John Darton, “Young Will Confer with Nigerians on Strain in Ties,” New York Times, February 8, 1977, 5; John Darton, “Young Attends a Vast Pageant in North Nigeria,” New York Times, February 9, 1977, 13; John Darton, “Different Style Pays Off for Young in Africa,” New York Times, February 10, 1977, 3; John Darton, “Nigerian Sees Young, Urges U.S. Africa Role: Talks Seen as Signaling Accord after Period of Distrust,” New York Times, February 11, 1977, A1; Kathleen Teltsch, “Young, Off on His African Tour, May Seek Closer Nigerian Ties,” New York Times, May 10, 1977, 3; “Rediscovering Andrew Young,” New York Times, August 28,1977, 159. 105. S. Moore, Afro-Black Connection. 106. Long interview. 107. “FESTAC ’77 Opening Ceremony Is Free,” Nigerian Daily Times, January 13, 1977, 1; “Make Colloquium Free for All,” Nigerian Daily Times, January 7, 1977, 18; Alex Poinsett, “FESTAC ’77,” Ebony, May 1977, 38, 40, 44–46; Charlie Cobb, All Things Considered, news report, National Public Radio, February 7, 1977. 108. Frederick Cooper, “Possibility and Constraint: African Independence in Historical Perspective,” Journal of African History 49 (2008): 167–96. 109. Fuller, Journey to Africa, 71. 110. Fuller to John Henrik Clarke, August 19, 1980, John Henrik Clarke Papers, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, New York (box 5, folder 42).

Chapter 4. Scaling Back: Closure, Crisis, and Counterrevolutionary Times 1. Hoyt Fuller, “Black Interest and Conservative America,” Black World, March 1976, 78–79. 2. Foster to Fuller, March 12, 1976, HFP (box 22, folder 10). 3. James Smethurst, The Black Arts Movement: Literary Nationalism in the 19602 and 1970s (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2005), 338–39; Howard Rambsy II, The Black Arts Enterprise and the Production of African American Poetry (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2011), 154–55; Kalamu ya Salaam, The Magic of Juju: An Appreciation of the Black Arts Movement (Chicago: Third World Press, 2016), 47. 4. Adolph Reed Jr., Kenneth W. Warren, et al., Renewing Black Intellectual History: The Ideological and Material Foundations of African American Thought (Boulder, CO: Paradigm Publishers, 2010), viii, 51, 215; Zachary Williams, In Search of the Talented Tenth: Howard University Public Intellectuals and the Dilemmas of Race, 1926–1970 (Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 2009), 80. 5. Reed and Warren, Renewing Black Intellectual History, 51, 215.

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6. Houston Baker, Black Studies, Rap, and the Academy (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1993), 12. 7. Ibram Rogers, The Black Campus Movement: Black Students and the Racial Reconstitution of Higher Education, 1965–1972 (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012). 8. Reed and Warren, Renewing Black Intellectual History, 51. 9. Michael Dawson, Behind the Mule: Race and Class in African-American Politics (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1994), 77. 10. Farah Griffin, “Conflict and Chorus: Reconsidering Toni Cade’s The Black Woman: An Anthology,” in Is It Nation Time?: Contemporary Essays on Black Power and Black Nationalism, ed. Eddie Glaude Jr. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2002), 122. 11. Adolph Reed, Stirrings in the Jug: Black Politics in the Post-Segregation Era (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1999), 31; Hazel Carby, Race Men (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2000), 4; Russell Rickford, We Are an African People: Independent Education, Black Power, and the Radical Imagination (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016). 12. Fuller to Johnson, February 13, 1976, HFP (box 22, folder 10); “Statement from the Library Journal in Reference to the Demise of Black World Magazine, April 1976,” John Henrik Clarke Papers (box 5, folder 43); author interview with Carole Parks, September 23, 2009, Chicago; author interview with Haki Madhubuti, September 25, 2009, Chicago. 13. Parks interview. 14. “JPC-iana,” May 2, 1973, HFP (box 19, folder 19); Fuller to Johnson, October 21, 1975, HFP (box 19, folder 19); Fuller to Johnson, August 7, 1975, HFP (box 5, folder 16); Fuller to Johnson, July 9, 1971, HFP (box 15, folder 22). 15. Fuller to Johnson, February 13, 1976, HFP (box 22, folder 10). 16. Parks interview; Madhubuti interview. 17. “Johnson Publishing Co. Announces New Magazine; To Discontinue Black World,” Jet, March 25, 1976, 54, 56. 18. Ibid. 19. Ellis Cose, “Another Voice Silenced,” Chicago Sun-Times, March 29, 1976. 20. Ibid.; Johnson to Harris, June 7, 1976, in author’s possession; “Ebony Interview with John H. Johnson,” Ebony, November 1985, 56. 21. One document in Fuller’s archive estimated the costs for eighty thousand copies of one monthly issue at $9,300 from H. R. Arris Company Inc. With each issue selling on newsstands at .50 a piece, Black World essentially cost .11 to print and returned a profit of .39, minus the costs of distribution. Subscription rates in 1970—the time of this document—were priced at $5.00, which means Johnson made close to $3.68 on every subscription, minus the cost of shipping. The total cost to fill fifteen thousand yearly subscriptions (minus shipping) was $19,800; meanwhile the total profit was $55,200 (minus shipping). Of course, the numbers do not account for the cost of employees’ salaries and benefits, maintenance of printing machinery, and other

212  .  notes to chap ter 4 overhead expenses that JPC would have had to absorb. And while some might argue that a clear profit is discernible, it is difficult to pinpoint the final numbers without also having access to JPC’s financial books. See H. R. Arris and Company to Johnson Publishing Company, July 13, 1970, HFP (box 19, folder 15). 22. “Statement of Ownership, Management, and Circulation,” Black World, November 1974, 96. Also see “Backstage,” Ebony, July 1976, 22. 23. Ibid.; “Statement of Ownership, Management, and Circulation,” Negro Digest, November 1969, 78. 24. “Ebony Interview with John H. Johnson,” 56. 25. “Johnson Publishing Co. Announces New Magazine,” 54, 56. 26. Eunice Johnson’s traveling Fashion Fair show was started in 1958 and subsequently expanded as a result of its success. The accompanying Fashion Fair Cosmetics was started in 1973 mainly to support the show’s models, who had difficulties finding makeup that complemented the hues of Black women. The cosmetic line was eventually carried in major retail stores across the country. Earmarked as Mrs. Eunice Johnson’s pet project, Fashion Fair LLC handsomely added to the revenues of the Johnson empire. See Ebony, June 1976, 97. 27. Phone conversation with Carole Parks, June 4, 2014. 28. John Johnson with Lerone Bennett Jr., Succeeding against the Odds: The Autobiography of a Great American Businessman (New York: Amistad Press, 1992), 311; Zondra Hughes, Living the Ebony Life: Emails from the Plantation (n.p.: M.O.O.D. Lounge Press, 2010), 18. 29. Robert Weems Jr., Desegregating the Dollar: African American Consumerism in the Twentieth Century (New York: New York University Press, 1998), 93; Hughes, Living the Ebony Life, 78–79. 30. Cose, “Another Voice Silenced.” 31. Ibid. 32. Ibid. 33. Hoyt Fuller, “Black ‘Leadership’ and the Black-Jewish Debacle,” First World 2, no. 3 (1979): 1, 63–64; Baxter Smith, “The Death of a Good Magazine,” The Militant, April 9, 1976, 12. 34. Parks interview. 35. Haki Madhubuti, Claiming Earth: Race, Rage, Rape, Redemption (Chicago: Third World Press, 1995), 68. 36. “An Appeal by Black Americans for United States Support to Israel,” New York Times, June 28, 1970, 133. 37. Ibid.; John D’Emilio, Lost Prophet: The Life and Times of Bayard Rustin (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2003), 397. 38. “An Appeal by Black Americans against United States Support of the Zionist Government of Israel,” New York Times, November 1, 1970, 172; “Left-Wing Blacks Score Zionism, Israel; Identify with Terrorists, Matzpen,” Jewish Telegraph Agency Daily News Bulletin, November 2, 1970, 3; Howard Fuller, “Speech,” in African Con-

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gress: A Documentary of the First Modern Pan-African Congress, ed. Imamu Amiri Baraka (New York: Morrow Paperback Editions, 1972), 59; Robert Weisbord and Richard Kazarian Jr., Israel in the Black American Perspective (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1985), 34–35, 41–42. 39. Weisbord and Kazarian, Israel in the Black American Perspective, 100. 40. Ibid., 100–101. 41. Hoyt Fuller, “Perspectives: The Alien Message of the Wind,” Black World, October 1970, 49–50, 78–79; Jomo Logan, “A Resolution Condemning the Appeal by So-Called Black Leaders Calling for United States Support to Israel,” Black World, October 1970, 39–42. 42. Logan, “Resolution Condemning the Appeal.” 43. Fuller to Johnson, January 28, 1971, HFP (box 22, folder 23). 44. Hoyt Fuller, “Oil, Pressure, and Black Loves and Loyalties,” Black World, February 1975, 79. 45. Author interview with Abena Joan Brown, September 22, 2009, Chicago, Parks interview; Madhubuti interview. 46. Adam Green, Selling the Race: Culture, Community, and Black Chicago, 1940– 1955 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2007), 142; Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism (London: Verso, 1991); Brown interview; Parks interview; Madhubuti interview. 47. Brown and Ward to Friends of Black World Magazine, April 1, 1976, in author’s possession; Brown interview. 48. Hasina to Brown, April 23, 1976, in author’s possession. 49. “Black Artists Picket Ebony” Daily Defender, December 31, 1969, 3–4; Madhubuti interview; Brown interview; “Ebony, Jet Hit: Negro Publisher Picket by Blacks,” Chicago Daily News, December 30, 1969. 50. Brown interview. 51. Author interview with James Turner, April 18, 2010, Ithaca, New York; author interview with Mari Evans, October 2008, Indianapolis; Madhubuti interview. 52. “Minutes from New Black World Magazine—Organizing Committee,” May 8, 1976, in author’s possession. 53. Author interview with Robert Harris, August 1, 2009, Ithaca, New York; Turner interview. 54. Harris to All, April 1, 1976, in author’s possession. 55. In “Black Studies in Liberal Arts Education,” author Johnnetta B. Cole describes Black Studies as “the intellectual arm of the Black Power Movement.” Johnnetta B. Cole, “Black Studies in Liberal Arts Education,” in Jacqueline Bobo, Cynthia Hudley, and Claudine Michel, The Black Studies Reader (New York: Routledge, 2004), 26. 56. Harris to Huel D. Perkins, April 17, 1976, in author’s possession. 57. A sample of the Black intellectuals who either signed petitions or personally wrote to Johnson about Black World includes Yale’s John Blassingame and Phillip White; Black psychologist William Cross; University of Pennsylvania historian Nell

214  .  notes to chap ter 4 Painter; Johnella Butler, Andrea Rushing, John Bracey, and William Strickland from Massachusetts Five College Area Black Studies programs; Sam Anderson of Old Westbury College; Bill Thompson of Pennsylvania’s Che-Lumumba-Jackson Collective; Rosa Guy from the Harlem Writers’ Guild; literary theorist and Howard University professor Stephen Henderson; Nancy Arnez from Chicago’s Inner City Studies Program at Northeastern University; famed writer and professor Sterling Brown; educational activist Barbara Sizemore; historian Bettye Collier Thomas; Fisk librarian Ann Allen Shockley; Black Florida inmate Charles Flewellyn; Southern University’s dean of the College of Arts and Science, Huel Perkins; North Carolina Central University historian Earl Thorpe; University of Iowa professor Darwin Turner; Dudley Randall of Broadside Press; Northwestern University’s Robert Hill and Dennis Brutus; Caribbean writer Sylvia Wynter; and Robert Chrisman and Robert Allen of the Black Scholar. Many more members of the Black intellectual community reached out, but this brief list illustrates the range of people in support of Fuller and Black World. While only a representative microcosm of the larger group of supporters, this lists includes people both young and old, academic and nonacademic, ideologically diverse, well-known, and lesser-known. All of these people wrote letters to Johnson on Fuller’s behalf or signed petitions, which Robert Harris collected as secretary of the national committee. 58. Bracey to Johnson, April 5, 1976, in author’s possession. 59. The rift between Black nationalists and Marxists was often referred to as “the two-line struggle.” See Earl Ofari, “Marxism-Leninism: The Key to Black Liberation,” Black Scholar 4, no. 1 (1972): 35–46; Carlos Moore, Were Marx and Engels White Racists? The Prolet-Aryan Outlook of Marx and Engels (Chicago: Institute for Positive Education, 1972); Tony Thomas, “Black Nationalism and Confused Marxists,” Black Scholar 4, no. 1 (1972): 47–52; Amiri Baraka, “Toward Ideological Clarity,” Black World, November 1974, 24–33, 84–95; Owasu Sadaukai, Oba T’Shaka, and Amiri Baraka, Two-Line Struggle: Revolutionary Pan-Afrikanism vs. Dogmatic Marxism (n.p.: Patrice Lumumba Publishers, 1974); “ALSC . . . Toward Ideological Clarity,” Unity and Struggle, July 1974, 5–6, 3; “Haki Madhubuti and Jitu Weusi . . . Individualism Brings Two CAP Resignations,” Unity and Struggle, July 1974, 5, 11; Haki Madhubuti, “The Latest Purge: The Attack on Black Nationalism and Pan-Afrikanism by the New Left, the Sons and Daughters of the Old Left,” Black Scholar, September 1974, 43–56; Haki Madhubuti, “Enemy: From the White Left, White Right and In-Between,” Black World, October 1974, 36–47; Haki Madhubuti, “Sixth Pan-Afrikan Congress: What Is Being Done to Save the Black Race,” Black Books Bulletin 2(Fall 1974): 44–51; “Amiri Baraka Interview,” Black Books Bulletin 2, no. 2 (1974): 33–37, 40–43; Maulana Karenga. “Which Road: Nationalism, Pan-Africanism, Socialism?” Black Scholar, October 1974, 21–31; Imamu Amiri Baraka, “Some Questions about the Sixth Pan-African Congress,” Black Scholar, October 1974, 42–46; Ronald Walters, “A Response to Haki Madhubuti,” Black Scholar, October 1974, 47–49; S. E. Anderson, “A Response to Haki Madhubuti,” Black Scholar, October 1974, 50–53; Kalamu ya Salaam, “A Response to Haki Madhubuti,” Black Scholar, January–February 1975, 40–43; Mark Smith, “A

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Response to Haki Madhubuti,” Black Scholar, January–February 1975, 43–53; Gwendolyn Patton, “Open Letter to Marxists,” Black Scholar, April 1975, 50–52; Gaga Mark S. Johnson, “Open Letter to Nationalists,” Black Scholar, April 1975, 52–53; Manning Marable, Blackwater: Historical Studies in Race, Class Consciousness, and Revolution (Dayton, OH: Black Praxis Press, 1981); Amiri Baraka, The Autobiography of Leroi Jones (Chicago: Lawrence Hill Books, 1997), 416–20, 426–27, 433–42; Ronald Walters, Pan-Africanism in the African Diaspora: An Analysis of Modern Afrocentric Political Movements (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1997); Modibo M. Kadalie, Internationalism, Pan-Africanism, and the Struggle of Social Classes (Savannah: One Quest Press, 2000), 237–43; Kwasi Konadu, A View from the East: Black Cultural Nationalism and Education in New York City, 2nd ed. (Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 2009), 38–47; Cedric Johnson, Revolutionaries to Race Leaders: Black Power and the Making of African American Politics (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2007), 147–70; Howard Fuller, No Struggle, No Progress: A Warrior’s Life from Black Power to Education Reform (Milwaukee: Marquette University Press, 2014), 154–59. 60. Amiri Baraka, “How Black Is Black World?” in Yardbird Reader, vol. 5 (Berkeley, CA: Yardbird Publishing, 1976), 13–17; Scot Brown, Fighting for US: Maulana Karenga, the US Organization, and Black Cultural Nationalism (New York: New York University Press, 2003); Konadu, View from the East; Baraka, Autobiography of Leroi Jones. 61. Ismael Reed, “You Can’t Be a Literary Magazine and Hate Writers,” in Yardbird Reader, vol. 5 (Berkeley, CA: Yardbird Publishing, 1976), 18–20; Charles Rowell, “An Interview with Larry Neal [in March 1974],” Callaloo 23 (Winter 1985): 23, 25–26, 31–32. 62. Larry Neal to John Leonard, December 27, 1971, Larry Neal Papers, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture (box 2, folder 9). 63. Fuller to Neal, June 28, 1976, Larry Neal Papers (box 2, folder 1); Neal to Fuller, August 31, 1976, Larry Neal Papers (box 2, folder 9). 64. Johnson to Harris, June 7, 1976, in author’s possession. 65. “Incorporating Black World” first appeared in the June 1976 edition of Ebony. 66. Weems, Desegregating the Dollar. 67. Abena Brown’s Minutes—Excerpted from Tapes, May 8, 1976, in author’s possession. 68. Ibid.; Harris to Harding, June 1, 1976, in author’s possession. 69. Hoyt Fuller, “A Serious Black Journal” (unpublished), in author’s possession. 70. Ibid.; Cedric Robinson, Black Marxism: The Making of the Black Radical Tradition. (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2000), 2. 71. Fuller, “Serious Black Journal.” 72. Ibid. 73. Ibid. 74. Robert Allen, Black Awakening in Capitalist America, 3rd ed. (Trenton, NJ: Africa World Press, 1992), 70–77; Noliwe Rooks, White Money/Black Power: The Surprising History of African American Studies and the Crisis of Race in Higher Education (Boston: Beacon Press, 2006), 1–31; Devin Fergus, Liberalism, Black Power,

216  .  notes to chap ter 4 and the Making of African American Politics (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2009), 5, 245, 248–51; Karen Ferguson, Top Down: The Ford Foundation, Black Power, and the Reinvention of Racial Liberalism (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2013); James A. Smith, The Idea Brokers: Think Tanks and the Rise of the New Policy Elite (New York: Free Press, 1991); Richard Harwood, “8 More Groups Linked to CIA’s Fund Activities,” Washington Post, February 21, 1967, A6. 75. The Black Scholar Foundation served as the financial base for the publication of the Black Scholar: Journal of Black Studies and Research and several offspring projects like the Black Scholar’s speakers’ bureau and multiple book publications. Amazingly, the Black Scholar remained an independently financed journal for forty-five years, until Routledge picked it up in 2014. Unlike most of the Black journals and magazines started during the 1960s, the Black Scholar has had an exceptionally long life and remained on the critical edge of radical Black discourse in the United States. It is in many ways an anomaly of the period. 76. Brown to Organizing Committee (no date), in author’s possession; Houghton to Brown, November 5, 1976, in author’s possession; “Committee for a New Black World Escrow Account” April 15–June 8, in author’s possession. 77. Ibid.; Houghton to Harris, November 9, 1976, in author’s possession. 78. Fuller to Besserer, May 27, 1976, HFP; Besserer to Fuller, June 1, 1976, HFP. 79. Abena Brown, “Update of Activities Post September 18, 1976,” in author’s possession; author interview with Richard Long, June 5, 2010, Atlanta; Agenda and Minutes for First World Meeting, September 18, 1976, in author’s possession. 80. For scholarship that has illustrated the work of Black women who blur the lines between Black nationalism and Black feminism, see Ula Taylor, The Veiled Garvey: The Life and Times of Amy Jacques Garvey (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2002); Kate Dossett, Bridging Race Divides: Black Nationalism, Feminism, and Integration in the United States, 1896–1935 (Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2008); Gerald Horne, Race Woman: The Lives of Shirley Graham Du Bois (New York: New York University Press, 2000); Lois West, ed., Feminist Nationalism (New York: Routledge, 1997); Ashley Farmer, Remaking Black Power: How Black Women Transformed an Era (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2017); Keisha Blain, Set the World on Fire: Black Nationalist Women and the Global Struggle for Freedom (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2018). 81. Fuller to Brown, July 23, 1977, in author’s possession; First World Board Meeting Minutes in Atlanta, February 11, 1978; Parks interview. 82. Parks interview. 83. Ibid.; also see, for example, Black World’s issue on “Black Women Image Makers” (August 1974). 84. Brown to Organizing Committee (no date), in author’s possession; Houghton to Brown, November 5, 1976, in author’s possession. 85. Ibid; Brown to “Dear Colleague,” July 13, 1976, in author’s possession; Abena Brown, “Update of Activities Post September 18, 1976,” in author’s possession; Brown to Lewis, November 29, 1976, in author’s possession; Brown to First World Commit-

notes to chap ter 4  ·  217

tee, December 22, 1976, in author’s possession; Brown to the Board, January 18, 1977, in author’s possession; Brown to Board Members, “Update: First World Foundation,” March 17, 1977, in author’s possession; Brown to Board, June 29, 1977, in author’s possession. 86. Brown interview; author interview with Angela Jackson, September 26, 2009, Chicago. 87. “Ossie Davis & Ruby Dee, Hoyt Fuller, Addison Gayle, John Killens, Woodie King, Ntozake Shange, John A. Williams invite you to a Subscription Party for First World Magazine,” New York Times, March 18, 1977, 76. 88. Author interview with Eleanor Traylor, May 26, 2010, Howard University, Washington, DC; Agenda and Minutes for First World Meeting. 89. Hoyt Fuller, “Why,” First World 1, no. 1 (1977): 1, 63. 90. Brown to First World Board Members August 29, 1980, in author’s possession. 91. Abena Brown, “Update of Activities Post September 18, 1976,” in author’s possession; Traylor interview; Agenda and Minutes for First World Meeting. 92. Brown to First World Board Members, August 29, 1980, in author’s possession; Winston Grady Willis, Challenging US Apartheid: Atlanta and Black Struggles for Human Rights, 1960–1977 (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2006), 199. 93. Cade to Fuller, April 1978, HFP (box 7, folder 7); Fuller to Toni, April 28, 1978, HFP (box 7, folder 7); “Publishing: The Battle of the Books Awards,” New York Times, July 13, 1979, C24. 94. First World Board Meeting Minutes, January 9, 1977, in author’s possession. 95. Ibid.; Francis Ward to Fuller (no date), HFP (box 31, folder 13). 96. “First World: An International Journal of Black Thought” (ad), Journal of Negro Education 46, no. 1 (1977): back matter. 97. Gil Scott-Heron and Brian Jackson, Winter in America, vinyl, Strata East, 1974. 98. David Harvey, A Brief History of Neoliberalism (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005), 1. 99. Bruce Schulman, The Seventies: The Great Shift in American Culture, Society, and Politics (Cambridge, MA: De Capo Press, 2002). 100. Lee to Fuller with First World Balance Sheet, March 31, 1978, in author’s possession. 101. Fuller to Brown, July 23, 1977, in author’s possession; First World Board Meeting Minutes in Atlanta, February 11, 1978; Parks interview. 102. Carole to Hoyt, July 14, 1979, HFP (box 2, folder 16), Fuller to Julian, August 29, 1978, Julian Mayfield Papers (box 5, folder 4), Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, New York. 103. Parks interview. 104. Fuller to Brown, July 23, 1977, in author’s possession. 105. Strickland to Walters, February 12, 1978, in author’s possession. 106. First World Board Meeting Minutes in Atlanta, February 11, 1978. 107. Turner to Fuller, May 18, 1978, HFP (box 39, folder 31); Fuller to Turner, May 30, 1978, HFP (box 39, folder 31); Turner interview.

218  .  notes to chap ters 4 and 5 108. Fuller to Stuckey, May 29, 1980, HFP (box 30, folder 31); Francis Ward to All Friends and Board Members, April 10, 1980, in author’s possession; Brown to First World Board Members, August 14, 1980, in author’s possession; Fuller to Members of the Board, First World, June 30, 1980, in author’s possession. 109. Turner interview. 110. James Turner, “Black Studies: A Concept and a Plan,” Cornell Chronicle 1, no. 2 (1969): 1–8; Turner interview. 111. Author phone interview with Kalamu ya Salaam, December 14, 2011; Barbara Bealor Hines, “The Black Collegian,” in Kofi Lomotey, Encyclopedia of African American Education, vol. 1. (Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, 2010), 78–79. 112. Ibid. 113. Schulman, The Seventies, 68–69. 114. Kalamu ya Salaam interview. 115. Edwards to Brown, March 27, 1981, in author’s possession. 116. “Hoyt W. Fuller, 57, Dies; Was Editor of First World, Black Literary Magazine,” Washington Post, May 14, 1981, C6; “Hoyt W. Fuller, a Literary Critic and Editor of Black Publications,” New York Times, May 13, 1981, A32; Diane Goldsmith, “Hoyt Fuller Touched Lives of Black Literati,” Atlanta Journal, May 13, 1981, 1B, 8B; “Editor Hoyt Fuller Dies in Atlanta of Heart Attack,” Jet, May 28, 1981, 13; Evans interview; Long interview. 117. Brown to Board, May 1981, in author’s possession; Brown to Subscribers, May 1981, in author’s possession. 118. Houston Baker, “Generational Shifts and the Recent Criticism of Afro-American Literature,” in African American Literary Theory: A Reader, ed. Winston Napier (New York: New York University Press, 2000), 196. 119. John H. Bracey, “Black Studies in the Age of Obama,” Socialism and Democracy 25, no. 1 (2011): 9–12. 120. Roderick A. Ferguson, The Reorder of Things: The University and Its Pedagogies of Minority Difference (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2012). 121. “The New Black Middle Class,” Ebony 28, no.10 (1973); Ben J. Wattenburg and Richard Scammon, “Black Progress and Liberal Rhetoric,” Commentary, April 1, 1973.

Chapter 5. Abandoning the Past: Effacing History and Confronting Silence 1. “Obsequies for Hoyt W. Fuller,” in author’s possession. 2. “Hoyt W. Fuller, 57, Dies; Was Editor of First World, Black Literary Magazine,” Washington Post, May 14, 1981, C6; “Hoyt W. Fuller, a Literary Critic and Editor of Black Publications,” New York Times, May 13, 1981, A32; Diane Goldsmith, “Hoyt Fuller Touched Lives of Black Literati,” Atlanta Journal, May 13, 1981, 1B, 8B; “Editor Hoyt Fuller Dies in Atlanta of Heart Attack,” Jet, May 28, 1981, 13; Roger Witherspoon, “First World’s Hoyt W. Fuller Dies,” Atlanta Constitution, May 13, 1981, 3-C.

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3. Writing dedicated to Hoyt Fuller included Dudley Randall, ed., Homage to Hoyt Fuller (Detroit: Broadside Press, 1984); Haki Madhubuti, Killing Memory and Seeking Ancestors (Detroit: Lotus Press, 1987); Houston Baker Jr., Afro-American Poetics: Revisions of Harlem and the Black Aesthetic (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1988); Sterling Plumpp, “In Remembrance of Fire (for Hoyt W. Fuller),” Black American Literature Forum 15, no. 2 (1981): 47. 4. Howard University’s memorial tribute to Fuller featured Ron Walters, Eugenia Collier, Sterling Brown, Eleanor Traylor, and others; see flyer in author’s possession. 5. The Africana Center at Cornell’s Commemorative Colloquium was titled “The Role of the Black Writer in the American Social Fabric: Confronting Issues of Philosophic and Theoretical (Literary) Criticism.” Speakers at this event included James Turner, Robert Harris, Dudley Randall, Stephen Henderson, Eleanor Traylor, Haki Madhubuti, Abena Brown, Angela Jackson, Richard Long, William Strickland, Francis Ward, Addison Gayle, Houston Baker, Eugenia Collier, Maulana Karenga, Mari Evans, and Val Gray Ward. The event also included a portrait of Fuller painted by Jeff Donaldson and a room dedication ceremony in the Africana Center; see conference program in author’s possession. 6. Henry Louis Gates Jr., Valerie Smith, et al., Norton Anthology of African American Literature, 3rd ed. (New York: W. W. Norton, 2014); Patricia Liggins-Hill, Bernard Bell, et al., eds. Call and Response: The Riverside Anthology of the African American Literary Tradition (New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1998); Michael O. West, “Little Rock as America: Hoyt Fuller, Europe, and the Little Rock Crisis of 1957,” Journal of Southern History 78, no. 4 (2012): 913–42. 7. According to Patricia Hill Collins, “Black sexual politics consists of a set of ideas and social practices shaped by gender, race, and sexuality that frame Black men and women’s treatment of one another, as well as how African Americans are perceived and treated by others.” She goes on to say, “Such politics lie at the heart of beliefs about Black masculinity and Black femininity.” Patricia Hill Collins, Black Sexual Politics: African Americans, Gender, and the New Racism (New York: Routledge, 2005), 7. 8. Henry Louis Gates, Nellie Y. McKay, et al., eds., The Norton Anthology of African American Literature, 1st ed. (New York: W. W. Norton, 1997); Phillip Brian Harper, Are We Not Men? Masculine Anxiety and the Problem of African American Identity (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998); Cheryl Clarke, “After Mecca”: Women and the Black Arts Movement (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2005); Cherise Pollard, “Sexual Subversions, Political Inversions: Women’s Poetry and the Politics of the Black Arts Movement,” in New Thoughts on the Black Arts Movement, ed. Lisa Gail Collins and Margo Natalie Crawford (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2006), 173–86; Alexis De Veaux, Warrior Poet: A Biography of Audre Lorde (New York: W. W. Norton, 2006); Darieck Scott, Extravagant Abjection: Blackness, Power, and Sexuality in the African American Literary Imagination (New York: New York University Press, 2010).

220  .  notes to chap ter 5 9. Great examples of this kind of attentive historical thinking can be found in Kevin Mumford, Not Straight, Not White: Black Gay Men from the March on Washington to the AIDS Crisis (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2016); Marlon B. Ross, Manning the Race: Reforming Black Men in the Jim Crow Era (New York: New York University Press, 2004); John D’Emilio, Making Trouble: Essays on Gay History, Politics, and the University (New York: Routledge, 1992); John D’Emilio, The World Turned: Essays on Gay History, Politics, and Culture (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2002). 10. James Turner, “Africana Studies and Epistemology,” in The Next Decade: Theoretical and Research Issues in Africana Studies, ed. James Turner (Ithaca, NY: Africana Studies and Research Center, Cornell University, 1984), ix; James Stewart, “Toward Operationalization of an Expansive Model of Black Studies” (unpublished essay presented at the Institute of the Black World in Atlanta, 1983), 1; Talmadge Anderson and James Stewart, Introduction to African American Studies: Transdisciplinary Approaches and Implications (Baltimore: Black Classic Press, 2007), 43; Abdul Alkalimat and Associates, Introduction to Afro-American Studies: A Peoples College Primer, 6th ed. (Chicago: Twenty-First Century Books and Publications, 1986), 1; Maulana Karenga, Introduction to Black Studies (Los Angeles: University of Sankore Press, 2002), 78; Pero Dagbovie, What Is African American History? (Malden, MA: Polity Press, 2015). 11. Elizabeth Armstrong, Forging Gay Identities: Organizing Sexuality in San Francisco, 1950–1994 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2002); David Eisenbach, Gay Power: An American Revolution (New York: Carroll and Graf, 2006); Michael Bronski, A Queer History of the United States (Boston: Beacon Press, 2011). 12. Marlon Ross, “Beyond the Closet as Raceless Paradigm,” in Black Queer Studies: A Critical Anthology, ed. E. Patrick Johnson and Mae Henderson (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2005), 161–89. 13. Judith Butler, Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity (New York: Routledge, 1990). 14. Trouillot, Silencing the Past, 26. 15. E. Patrick Johnson, Sweet Tea: Black Gay Men of the South, An Oral History (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2011), 7–8; John Howard, “Place and Movement in Gay American History: A Case from the Post–World War II South,” in Creating a Place for Ourselves: Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Community Histories, ed. Brett Beemyn (New York: Routledge, 1997), 211–25. 16. “Hoyt Fuller Separation Qualification Record,” 1945, National Personnel Records Center, Spanish Lake, Missouri. 17. Allan Bérubé, Coming Out Under Fire: The History of Gay Men and Women in World War II (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1990), 2. 18. Walter Stender and Evans Walker, “The National Personnel Records Center Fire: A Study in Disaster,” American Archivist 37, no. 4 (1974): 521–49; Braggs to Fenderson, December 18, 2015, in author’s possession.

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19. John D’Emilio and Estelle Freedman, Intimate Matters: A History of American Sexuality (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1998), 289. 20. Darlene Clark Hine, “Rape and the Inner Lives of Black Women in the Middle West,” Signs 14, no. 4 (1989): 912–20. 21. When writing about military screenings and men who sleep with men, in his fascinating book Coming Out Under Fire, Allan Bérubé asserts, “During the interviews, both examiners and examinees responded to each other with lies and deceptions, tricks and traps, hunches and second guesses, to either discover, hide, or declare the ‘truth’ of the examinee’s sexuality.” Bérubé’s description gestures at the idea of dissemblance but paints it with words that are laden with moral value judgment. While his point is well taken, Hine’s notion of dissemblance is more effective here, because it accounts for the ways power relations shape and inform notions of truth, lies, deception, tricks, and traps. In addition, her concept of “dissemblance,” which first appeared in an article on rape and the inner lives of Black women, is concomitant with ideas of survival, protection, and self-preservation. By connecting the acts with motives and avoiding moral value judgments, Hine’s articulation captures how queer sexuality, race, and gender often conjoin to become social matters of life and death. Bérubé, Coming Out Under Fire, 21; Hine, “Rape and the Inner Lives of Black Women,” 912–20. 22. Bérubé, Coming Out Under Fire, 20. 23. Jeffrey McCune, Sexual Discretion: Black Masculinity and the Politics of Passing (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2014). 24. D’Emilio and Freedman, Intimate Matters, 301–343; Bronski, Queer History, 205–235; Eisenbach, Gay Power; Annamarie Jagose, Queer Theory: An Introduction (New York: New York University Press, 1997). 25. Fuller to Dixon, March 1, 1959, HFP (box 1, folder 17); Fuller to Dixon, July 6, 1958, HFP (box 1, folder 17). 26. Fuller to Dixon, March 1, 1959, HFP (box 1, folder 17). 27. Fuller to Dixon, July 12, 1959, HFP (box 1, folder 17). 28. Fuller to Dixon, April 22 (no year), HFP (box 1, folder 17); Fuller to Dixon, January 10 (no year), HFP (box 1, folder 17); Fuller to Dixon, March 20 (no year), HFP (box 1, folder 17); Fuller to Dixon, n.d., HFP (box 1, folder 17). 29. Fuller to Dixon, March 20 (no year), HFP (box 1, folder 17). 30. Ibid. 31. Fuller to Otto, July 24 (no year), HFP (box 2, folder 26). 32. Sterling Plumpp, “Black Arts Movement in the Broader Legacy of the Civil Rights Movement,” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rVrRRE245zc; author interview with Abdul Alkalimat, March 18, 2010, New Orleans. 33. “Ron Fair to Paul Breman,” no date, Heritage Press Archives (box 5, folder 7). 34. Author interview with James Turner, April 18, 2010, Ithaca, New York. 35. Baraka, “How Black Is Black World?” 13–17.

222  .  notes to chap ter 5 36. In my interview with Ann Smith in September 2009, she said, “I remember I was driving through Illinois to see some of my clients and that’s when I heard about it. And I was stunned. There wasn’t any indication that he was ill, . . . I just remember it being crushing, really crushing to the spirit. To me it was like when Harold Washington—who was mayor of the city of Chicago—died. You know there was all this great hope for him and what he was going to achieve, and then he was no more. You know people felt the same way about Hoyt. But I also think there was great feeling of guilt . . . that everybody should have done more.” Author interview with Ann Smith, September 28, 2009, Chicago. 37. Carole Parks, telephone conversation with author, July 19, 2015. “Paraphernalia” was the particular word Parks used in this conversation, though she had never used it in our previous discussions. She also noted the fallibility of her own memory as she asked me questions about what she discussed in our previous conversation. 38. Carole Parks, telephone conversation with author, April 14, 2015. 39. Judith Schwartz, “The Archivist’s Balancing Act: Helping Researchers while Protecting Individual Privacy,” Journal of American History 79, no. 1 (1992): 179–89. 40. Parks, telephone conversation, July 19, 2015. 41. Ibid., April 14, 2015. 42. Ibid., July 19, 2015. 43. Ibid., April 14, 2015. 44. Angela Jackson, telephone conversation with author, April 21, 2015. 45. Author interview with Carole Parks, September 23, 2009, Chicago. 46. Angela Jackson, telephone conversation with author, April 21, 2015. 47. Ibid. 48. Ibid. 49. Author interview with Mari Evans, October 2008, Indianapolis. 50. Ibid. 51. Alkalimat interview. 52. Parks, telephone conversation, April 14, 2015; Jackson, telephone conversation, April 21, 2015. 53. Michael Thelwell, “History and Memory: The Tyranny and Prejudice of Experience,” Journal of African American Studies 16, no. 1 (2012): 111–20. 54. “Dedication of the Hoyt W. Fuller Collection,” program, in author’s possession. 55. “Hoyt Fuller Collection Dedicated at Atlanta Univ.,” Jet, November 22, 1982, 30. 56. Charles Freeney, Dovie T. Patrick, and Doris T. Shockley, “Hoyt Fuller Collection, 1940–1981, a Guide,” Atlanta University Center/Robert W. Woodruff Library Archives and Special Collections, Atlanta, 1991 (retyped 2001). 57. Ibid. 58. Parks interview; Smith interview; author interview with Richard Long, July 5, 2010, Atlanta; author interview with Abena Joan Brown, September 22, 2009, Chicago.

notes to chap ter 5 and coda  ·  223

59. Author correspondence with Stacy Jones, processing archivist at Robert Woodruff Library, Atlanta University, July 27, 2015. 60. Fuller to Tesch, March 14 (no year), HFP (box 2, folder 26); Long interview. 61. Ibid.; photographs, HFP (box 60, folders 9–10). 62. Long interview. 63. Ibid. 64. Hoyt Fuller, “Books Noted,” Negro Digest (October 1963): 52. 65. Hoyt Fuller, “Books Noted,” Negro Digest (March 1964): 94. 66. Michael Bronski, Queer History, 224. 67. Cathy Cohen, The Boundaries of Blackness: AIDS and the Breakdown of Black Politics (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1999). 68. Fuller to Robertino, May 5, 1958, HFP (box 2, folder 23). 69. Danner to Fuller, no date, HFP (box 3, folder 1). 70. Fuller to Danner, April 25 (no year), HFP (box 3, folder 1). 71. Ibid. 72. Fuller to Danner, June 9 (no year), HFP (box 3, folder 1). 73. Fuller to Danner, April 25 (no year), HFP (box 3, folder 1). 74. Telephone conversation with Andrea Jackson, head of Robert Woodruff Library Archives Research Center, and Karen Jefferson, former head of archives (July 29, 2015). 75. In their now canonized edited volume on Black Queer Studies, E. Patrick Johnson and Mae Henderson mark the April 2000 “Black Queer Studies in the Millennium” conference at the University of North Carolina as a major turning point for the field. In subsequent writings, however, Johnson has drawn attention to the “Black Nations/Queer Nations?” conference that was held at City University of New York in 1995. Nonetheless, with the exception of a few trailblazing Black feminist scholars, such as Barbara Smith and Audre Lorde, discussions of sex and sexuality remained marginal in early Black Studies scholarship. See E. Patrick Johnson and Mae Henderson, “Introduction: Queering Black Studies/‘Quaring’ Queer Studies,” in E. Patrick Johnson and Mae Henderson, Black Queer Studies: A Critical Anthology (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2005), 1–17; E. Patrick Johnson, “To Be Young, Gifted, and Queer: Race and Sex in the New Black Studies,” Black Scholar 44, no. 2 (2014): 50–58.

Coda 1. Christian Davenport, How Social Movements Die: Repression and Demobilization of the Republic of New Africa (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2015); Nelson Blackstock, COINTELPRO: The FBI’s Secret War on Political Freedom (New York: Pathfinder Press, 1988); William Maxwell, F.B. Eyes: How J. Edgar Hoover’s Ghostreaders Framed African American Literature (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2016); Ward Churchill and Jim Vander Wall, Agents of Repression: The FBI’s Secret

224  .  notes to coda Wars against the Black Panther Party and the American Indian Movement (Boston: South End Press, 1990). 2. Fabio Rojas, From Black Power to Black Studies: How a Radical Social Movement Became an Academic Discipline (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2010). 3. Ibid.; Stefan Bradley, Harlem vs. Columbia: Black Student Power in the Late 1960s (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2009); W. Glasker, Black Students in the Ivory Tower: African American Student Activism at the University of Pennsylvania, 1967–1990 (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 2002); R. McCormick, The Black Student Protest Movement at Rutgers (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1990); Derrick White, The Challenge of Blackness: The Institute of the Black World and Political Activism in the 1970s (Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2011); Joy Ann Williamson, Black Power on Campus: The University of Illinois, 1965– 1975 (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2003); Joy Ann Williamson, Radicalizing the Ebony Tower: Black Colleges and the Black Freedom Struggle in Mississippi (New York: Columbia University Teachers College Press, 2008); Ibram Rogers, The Black Campus Movement: Black Students and the Racial Reconstitution of Higher Education, 1965–1972 (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012); Martha Biondi, The Black Revolution on Campus (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2014). 4. Fuller to Johnson, May 17, 1972, HFP (box 15, folder 21); Billingsley to Fuller, May 4, 1972, HFP (box 15, folder 21); author interview with Haki Madhubuti, September 25, 2009, Chicago. 5. Killens to Billingsley, October 27, 1971, John Oliver Killens Papers (box 29), Stuart A. Rose Manuscript Archives and Rare Books Library, Emory University. 6. Ibid.; Gwendolyn Brooks, Report from Part One (Detroit: Broadside Press, 1972); Hoyt Fuller, “Perspectives,” Negro Digest, April 1966, 49; Hoyt Fuller, “Perspectives,” Negro Digest, April 1968, 49; David Llorens, “Seeking a New image: Writers Converge at Fisk University,” Negro Digest, June 1966, 54–68; “On the Conference Beat: Second Annual Writers’ Confab at Fisk,” Negro Digest, July 1967, 90–93. 7. Nathan Hare, “Final Reflections on a ‘Negro’ College,” Negro Digest, March 1968, 40–46, 70–76; Nathan Hare, “Behind the Black College Student Revolt,” Ebony, August 1967, 58–61; Robert Malson, “Black Power Rebellion at Howard University,” Negro Digest, December 1967, 20–30. 8. “Billingsley Bio,” Killens Papers (box 29). 9. “Institute for the Arts and Humanities,” Killens Papers (box 29). 10. Ibid. 11. “Institute for the Arts and Humanities, 1st Annual Symposium on Creative Expression,” Howard University Archives; “Second National Conference of AfroAmerican Writers,” Killens Papers (box 27); “Third National Conference of AfroAmerican Writers,” Killens Papers (box 27); “IAH News,” Killens Papers (box 27). 12. “The Institute for the Arts and Humanities,” Killens Papers (box 29); “Draft Primary Plan: Institute for the Arts and Humanities,” Moorland-Spingarn Research Center, Howard University Archives.

notes to coda  ·  225

13. “Draft Primary Plan: Institute for the Arts and Humanities,” Howard University Archives. 14. “Institute for the Arts and Humanities,” Howard University Archives. 15. “Institute for the Arts and Humanities, 1st Annual Symposium on Creative Expression,” Howard University Archives; “Second National Conference of Afro-American Writers,” Killens Papers (box 27); “Third National Conference of Afro-American Writers,” Killens Papers (box 27); “IAH News,” Killens Papers (box 27); “Institute for the Arts and Humanities,” Killens Papers (box 29); Juliette Bowles, In the Memory and Spirit of Frances, Zora, and Lorraine: Essays and Interviews on Black Women and Writing (Washington, DC: Howard University Institute for the Arts and Humanities, 1979); “Institute for the Arts and Humanities,” Howard University Archives. 16. Dexter Fisher and Robert Stepto, Afro-American Literature: The Reconstruction of Instruction (New York: Modern Language Association of America, 1979); Claude C. Tate, “Book Review: Afro-American Literature: The Reconstruction of Instruction,” Black American Literature Forum 13, no. 4 (1979): 152–53. 17. Henry Louis Gates Jr., “Soul of a Black Woman,” New York Times Sunday Book Review, February 19, 1978, BR4. 18. Ibid. 19. “Gates to Neal,” April 1978, Larry Neal Papers, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture (box 3, folder 1). 20. Henry Louis Gates Jr., “Tell Me, Sir, . . . What Is ‘Black’ Literature?” PMLA 105, no. 1 (1990): 14; Henry Louis Gates Jr., Figures in Black: Words, Signs, and the “Racial Self,” (New York: Oxford University Press, 1987), 44; Henry Louis Gates Jr., “Black Creativity: On the Cutting Edge,” Time, October 10, 1994. 21. Bowles, In the Memory and Spirit. 22. “Gates to Neal,” April 1978, Larry Neal Papers, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture (box 3, folder 1). 23. Hoyt Fuller, “Booknotes,” Black Collegian (March–April 1979): 104; Michele Wallace, Black Macho and the Myth of the Superwoman (New York: Dial Press, 1978); “Blacks and the Sexual Revolution,” Black Scholar, April 1978; Robert Staples, “The Myth of Black Macho: A Response to Angry Black Feminists,” Black Scholar, March– April 1979, 24–33; Audre Lorde, Kalamu ya Salaam, Pauline Terrelonge Stone, et al., “The Black Scholar Reader’s Forum on Black Male/Female Relationships,” Black Scholar, May–June 1979, 14–62. 24. “Neal to the Editor,” Larry Neal Papers (box 3, folder 2). 25. Henry Louis Gates Jr., Valerie Smith, et al., Norton Anthology of African American Literature, 3rd ed. (New York: W. W. Norton, 2014). 26. Toni Cade Bambara, The Black Woman (New York: New American Library, 1970); Farah Griffin, “Conflict and Chorus: Reconsidering Toni Cade’s The Black Woman: An Anthology,” in Is It Nation Time?: Contemporary Essays on Black Power and Black Nationalism, ed. Eddie Glaude Jr. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2002), 113–29.

226  .  notes to coda 27. Hoyt Fuller, “The New Black Literature,” March 15, 1969, PopUp Archive, https:// www.popuparchive.com/collections/583/items/5344. 28. Adolph Reed, “The ‘Black Revolution’ and the Reconstitution of Domination,” in Race, Politics, and Culture: Critical Essays on the Radicalism of the 1960s (Westport, CT: Greenwood, 1986), 61–96; Adolph Reed, Stirrings in the Jug: Black Politics in the Post-Segregation Era (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1999); Houston Baker, How Black Intellectuals Have Abandoned the Ideas of the Civil Rights Era (New York: Columbia University Press, 2008). 29. Fuller to Director, Federal Bureau of Investigation, March 10, 1981, HFP (box 5, folder 12). 30. Hall to Fuller, April 30, 1981, HFP (box 5, folder 12). 31. Surveillance notes, Chicago Police Department, Red Squad Collection (box 306), Chicago History Museum. 32. Baraka to Neal, November 7, 1974, Larry Neal Papers (box 2, folder 14), New York Public Library, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Manuscripts, Archives, and Rare Books Division.

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Index

Abraham Lincoln Center, 66, 68 ABZ of Love, An (Hegeler), 166 Affro Arts Theatre, 73, 106 Africa, 5, 7, 15, 33–34, 46, 53, 74, 91, 99, 104–5, 108, 111–12, 123; independence movements, 27, 92–96, 98, 101, 105, 108–9, 116–17 African Americans, 1–4, 6, 10, 27, 33, 44, 48, 56–58, 61, 74, 90–91, 111–12, 182; and Blackness, 13; Black self-determination, 8–9, 12, 34, 46, 53, 55, 60, 80, 88, 96, 98, 106, 116, 130, 140; class dynamics within, 23; counter-politics of, 46–47; counterpublic culture, 15, 46, 51–52; economic elite, 18–19, 53; entrepreneurship, 18; and freedom, 12–13; identity politics, 12, 53; and liberation, 12–13; as nation within nation, 110; Negro to Black, shift from, 12, 14; and Pan Africanism, 66, 111; political and economic colonialism, suffering from, 62–63; print culture, 34–36, 52; selfawareness, 52; self-determination, 80 African American Studies, 169. See also Black Studies African diaspora, 11, 33, 46–47, 53, 74, 91–92, 95, 112 African Heritage Studies Association (AHSA), 134, 158 African Information Center, 89 African Liberation Day, 111

African Liberation Support Committee (ALSC), 77, 111 Afri-COBRA, 65, 68 Afro-American (newspaper), 20 Afro-American Center, 107 Afro-American Literature: The Reconstruction of Instruction (Fisher and Stepto), 176 AIDS epidemic, 166 Alabama A&M College, 173 Aldridge, Delores, 135 Algeria, 39, 94–95, 97, 103–6, 108, 112–13, 117 Algiers (Algeria), 14–15, 92, 95, 102 Alkalimat, Abdul, 56, 61–62, 64–66, 78, 81, 131–32, 156–57, 162. See also McWorter, Gerald All-Africa People’s Conference, 93 Allen, Robert, 134, 213–14n57 American National Theater and Academy (ANTA), 98 American Society of African Culture (AMSAC), 99; Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) funding, allegations of, 102 Amini, Johari, 70–71, 76, 80, 85, 88. See also Latimore, Jewel C. Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, 174 Angelou, Maya, 137, 139, 174 Angola, 111 Annie Allen (Brooks), 79 A. Philip Randolph Institute, 127 Aptheker, Herbert, 60

246  . inde x Arab-Israeli War, 104 Arnez, Nancy, 213–14n57 Ascria Sings (periodical), 40 Association of Negro Life and History (ASNLH), 59 Atlanta (Georgia), 136, 144, 147, 159 Atlanta University Center, 169 Autobiography of LeRoi Jones (Baraka), 91 Baghdad Blues (Greenlee), 77 Bailey, Peter, 45, 139 Baker, Houston, 55, 58, 59–60, 130, 134, 147, 219n5; poetics of integration, 57 Baldwin, James, 147, 164 Bambara, Toni Cade, 137, 139, 147, 174 Baraka, Amiri, 6, 9, 42, 55–56, 67, 82, 91, 105, 131–32, 158, 174, 177, 181 Battle of Algiers (film), 106 Bella, Ahmad Ben, 105 Bennett, Lerone, 37, 45, 111 Bérubé, Allan, 221n21 Bess, George, 37 Biafra, 109 Billingsley, Andrew, 172–73, 174 black aesthetic, 14, 76, 81, 83, 131, 174; black liberation, 86; Organization of Black American Culture (OBAC), 56, 67, 75–76, 80, 86, 88, 90 Black Aesthetic, The (Gayle), 86 Black America (periodical), 35 Black American Literature Forum (journal), 178 Black Arts movement, 2–7, 12, 14, 17–18, 31–32, 38, 41–43, 48, 53, 55, 59, 61, 64, 67, 70, 73–74, 81–82, 86, 88–89, 91–93, 95–96, 109, 111, 114, 117, 147, 157, 159, 161, 165; in American higher education, 173–75; “Black is Beautiful” phrase, 51–52; Black identity, expansive notion of, 27; Black nationalism, 65, 116; Black Power movement, 57–58, 79, 106, 130; Black Power, as artistic extension of, 39–40; Black urban sensibility, 76; Black World, 131; and class, 11; cultural politics, idea of, 8; end of, 120, 122, 133, 144; fading of, 119, 171; and First World Festival of Negro Arts (FESMAN), 102–3; generational shift in, 57, 60; global dimensions of, 15; homophobia of, 158, 170; internationalist perspective, 13; intragender eroticism, 158; jazz and poetry, incorporation of, 75; lasting impression of, 172, 182; and Pan-African Cultural Festi-

val (PACF), 103–4, 106; Pan-Africanism, 102–3; and Reconstructionists, 176–78; self-determination, 110; and sexuality, 13, 16, 149, 155–56, 158, 169–70; surveillance of, 180–82; theater of, 68 Black Arts Repertory Theatre/School (BART/S), 41 Black Book, The (Morrison), 74 Black Books Bulletin (periodical), 40 Black Bourgeoisie, The (Frazier), 23–24 Black Challenge (periodical), 35 Black Collegian (journal), 134, 143–44, 146 Black Collegian Inc., 144 Black consciousness, 1–2, 17, 18, 34, 47, 52, 173 Black counterpublic culture, 3, 6, 9, 14–15, 31–32, 34–35, 46, 51–52, 88, 123, 133, 145; Black Power, 36 Black Dialogue (periodical), 40 Black Essence (Amini), 71 Black freedom movement, 12–13 Black identity, 1, 7, 9, 66–67, 75, 107–8, 133, 153; Black Arts, 27; Black middle class, 145; as collective, 121; depoliticization of, 53; expansive notion of, 27; identity politics, 3–4, 10, 12, 14, 149; marketability of, 48, 52–53; mutability of, 48; Pan Africanism, 95–96; queer notion of, 168; struggles over, 13. See also Blackness Black intellectual community, 1–4, 6, 9, 15, 18, 56–61, 67, 86, 92, 99, 111, 120, 122–25, 130–34, 141–45, 147–49, 164, 172, 174, 178– 79, 182, 213–14n57; Black female intellectuals, role of, 137–40; Black identity, 121; Black World, efforts to save, 128–29; First World, 134–35, 141–44; Israeli-Palestinian conflict, 126–27; linked fate, 121; political debates within, 126; praxis of, 145; teaching positions, occupying of, 121; “Winter in America,” 140 Black liberation, 7–8, 12–13, 15, 46, 53, 81, 90–92, 96, 116, 132, 145; black aesthetic, as integral to, 86 Black Macho and the Myth of the Superwoman (Wallace), 178 Black Metropolis: A Study of Negro Life in a Northern City (Drake and Cayton), 63 Black nationalism, 6, 8, 13–14, 116, 137, 144; Black Arts nationalism, 96; Black cultural nationalism, 7, 9–10, 12, 15–17, 76, 112, 182; Black literary nationalism, 42, 60, 88; and Marxism, 111–12, 131, 175–76, 179; popu-

inde x · 247 larity of, 12; “Pork chop nationalism, 79; rise of 32–33, 35–36 Blackness, 11- 13, 18, 48. See also Black identity Black Queer Studies, 149, 223n75 Black Panther Party (BPP), 78–79, 107, 126 Black Power movement, 18, 32, 34–35, 38, 44–45, 47–48, 51, 53, 74, 95–96, 122, 171, 179, 182; Black Arts movement, 39–40, 57–58; counterpublic politics of, 36, 46; end of, 133; student wing of, 121 Black Power Studies, 12 Black Pride (Madhubuti), 71 Black P. Stone Nation, 68 Black Scholar (magazine), 127, 134–35 Black sexual politics, 148–49, 155, 170 Black Skin, White Masks (Fanon), 82 Blackstone Rangers, 82 Black Studies, 13, 74, 130, 134, 149, 172. See also African American Studies Black Theatre (magazine), 40 Black World (magazine), 4–5, 7, 46–47, 49, 52–53, 124, 135, 138–39, 142–44, 158, 166, 171, 178, 211–12n21, 213–14n57; ads for, 51; efforts to save, 128–33; neglect of, 50; as obsolete, 133; publication, ceasing of, 15, 120, 122–23, 125–28, 133; rebranding of, 48. See also Negro Digest (magazine) Blassingame, John, 213–14n57 Bond, Jean Carey, 134, 139 Bond, Julian, 114, 139 Bontemps, Arna, 63, 66 Booker, Simeon, 24 Boumediéne, Houari, 105–8 Boykin, Randson, 70, 89 Bracey, John, 131, 145, 213–14n57 Bradford, Walter, 70, 80 Breman, Paul, 61, 78, 158 Broadside Press, 71–72 Brooks, Gwendolyn, 17–18, 42–43, 63, 79– 80, 82, 139, 157 Brown, Abena Joan, 68, 111, 128–29, 134–39, 144, 163, 219n5 Brown, Sterling, 43, 83, 148, 174, 213–14n57 Browne, Robert, 130 Brutus, Dennis, 213–14n57 Buffalo Soldiers, 152 Bullins, Ed, 107 Burke, Yvonne Brathwaite, 114 Burns, Benjamin, 19–21, 33 Burns, Haywood, 134 Burroughs, Margaret, 63–64, 79

Butler, Johnella, 213–14n57 California Committee on Un-American Activities, 20 Callaloo (journal), 134 Callier, Terry, 64 Cameroon, 104 Canada, 109–10 Caribbean, 7 Carmichael, Stokely, 35, 107 Carter, Jimmy, 114–15 Casablanca (Morocco), 95, 106 Cayton, Horace, 63 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 166 Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), 97, 102, 107, 179–80 Cheek, James E., 173 Chicago (Illinois), 1, 14, 22, 25–26, 28, 44, 58, 60, 66, 69–70, 75, 78–79, 82–83, 85, 89, 107, 111–13, 131–32, 136, 138–39, 156; Black Arts movement, as center of, 74, 87, 157; Black Chicago, 29, 34, 55–56, 61–65, 67–68, 74, 86, 106, 128–29; Bronzeville, 73; Douglas Park, 73; Red Squad, 69, 180 Chicago American (newspaper), 43 Chicago Area Friends of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, 62 Chicago Committee for a New Black World, 128–33 Chicago Defender (newspaper), 14, 21, 27, 29, 69, 75 Chicago Police Department, 182; Red Squad, 56, 68–69, 180–81 Chicago Public Library (CPL): George Cleveland Hall Branch, 73, 82 Chicago Renaissance, 115–16 China, 27 Chrisman, Robert, 134, 213–14n57 civil rights movement, 6, 18, 24–25, 32, 34–35, 38–39, 45–46, 62, 81–82, 96, 106, 119, 121, 133, 143 Civil Rights Research Council, 82 Clarke, John Henrik, 27, 129–30, 134 class, 3, 9–10, 12, 14, 18, 35, 55–56, 91, 111–13, 122, 129–30, 133, 171; Black Arts movement, 11; class politics, 11–12, 22–23, 74– 75, 120; and race, 35, 112, 120, 131–32, 179; in Senegal, 98, 100, 117 Cleaver, Eldridge, 107 Cleaver, Kathleen, 107 Clifton, Lucille, 174

248  . inde x Cobb, Charlie, 107 Cold War, 96–99, 102, 117 Collier, Eugenia, 134, 219n5 Collins, Patricia Hill, 148, 219n7 colonialism, 27, 33, 96, 106; and anticolonialism, 182 Colonizer and the Colonized, The (Memmi), 82 Coltrane, John, 64 Coming Out Under Fire (Bérubé), 221n21 Comintern, 93 Commission on Minority Groups and the Study of Language and Literature, 87 Committee for the Arts (CFA), 63–65 Communist Party of the United States, 60 Conakry (Guinea), 95 Concentrated Employment and Training Act (CETA), 139 Congressional Black Caucus, 114 Congress of Afrikan People (CAP), 82, 131 Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), 81–82 Contemporary Arts Group (CAG), 61; Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) surveillance, 59–60, 180 Cook, Mike, 70, 80 Coordinating Council of Literary Magazines (CCLM), 72, 139 Copper Romance (magazine), 22 Cornell University, 83; Africana Studies and Research Center at, 141–42, 148, 219n5 Cose, Ellis, 125–26 Cox, Courtland, 107 Crisis (magazine), 4, 21 Crisis of the Negro Intellectual (Cruse), 65 Critic, The (journal), 75 Cross, William, 213–14n57 Crusader (periodical), 35 Cruse, Harold, 10, 65, 129 Cuba, 27 cultural politics, 4, 7–11, 67, 78, 89–90, 102, 107, 154, 172, 174–76, 181–82; Black Arts movement, 8 culture wars, 8, 90 Cumbaya: A Newsletter of the OBAC Writers’ Workshop (newsletter), 72 Cunningham, James, 76, 83 Dakar (Senegal), 14, 92, 95–96, 100, 107, 117 Damas, Leon, 174 Danner, Margaret, 63–64, 167–69

Davenport, Christian, 16 Davis, Arthur P., 57, 80, 173 Davis, John, 99, 102 Davis, Ossie, 111, 113–14, 174 Davis, Ronda, 70 Davis, Sammy Jr., 74 Dawson, Michael, 80 decolonization, 7, 13, 105 Dee, Ruby, 139 Democratic Party, 140 DePillars, Murray, 135 Detroit (Michigan), 14, 34, 58–61 Diggs, Charles, 114 Dignity News (periodical), 35 dissemblance, 152, 154–55, 159, 170, 221n21; sexual discretion, 153 Dixon, Nancy, 154–55, 167–68 Dodson, Howard, 135 Donaldson, Jeff, 65–68, 83, 111, 113–14, 147– 48, 173, 219n5 Don’t Cry, Scream (Madhubuti), 71 Dooley, Ebon, 70, 81–82, 131–32. See also Hale, Leo Thomas Doubleday Publishing Company, 86–87 Douglass, Emory, 107 Douglass, Frederick, 45 Drake, St. Clair, 63, 94, 119 Du Bois, W. E. B., 36, 135, 142 Dunham, Ronald, 65 Du Sable Festival of the Arts, 68 DuSable Museum of African American History, 73 Ebony (magazine), 2, 24–25, 31–32, 34, 37–38, 43–45, 51, 68, 71, 101, 124–27, 146; Black World, incorporation of into, 132; circulation of, 21–22; overnight sensation, 21; “The White Problem in America” special issue, 36 Ebony Talent Association, 129 Edwards, Harry, 83 Edwards, Lawrence, 143 Edwards, Preston, 143–44 Ellis’ Bookstore, 73 Ellison, Ralph, 57 Enahoro, Anthony, 109–10 Essence (magazine), 125, 128, 134, 146 ETA, 68, 129 Ethiopia, 104 Europe, 93, 96–97

inde x · 249 Evans, Mari, 129, 137, 139, 161–62, 219n5 Fair, Ronald, 78, 158 Fanon, Frantz, 82, 106 Fashion Fair (magazine), 125, 128, 212n26 Fashion Fair Cosmetics, 212n26 Fauset, Jessie, 142 F.B. Eyes (Maxwell), 179 Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), 20, 59–60, 69, 144, 146, 180–82; Counter Intelligence Program, 179 First Congress of Black Writers, 99 First Pan-African Cultural Festival, 14, 116– 17. See also Pan-African Cultural Festival First World: An International Journal of Black Thought (magazine), 15, 133, 143, 145, 163–64, 171, 177–78; Black women intellectuals, importance of to, 137–40; creation of, 120, 122; end of, 144; funding, lack of, 135–36, 140–41; institutional support of, 141–42; name, origin of, 135; origins of, 134–35. See also Black World (magazine) First World Festival of Negro Arts (FESMAN), 14, 38, 92, 94–96, 99–100, 102, 105–9, 114–16; Negritude movement, 97, 101 First World Foundation, 135 Fisher, Dexter, 87–88, 175–76 Fisk University: People’s College, 81; Writers’ Conference, 38 Flewellyn, Charles, 213–14n57 For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow Is Enuf (Shange), 139, 177 Fowler, Carolyn, 134, 137 France, 93, 95, 105 Franco, Francisco, 26 Frazier, E. Franklin, 17, 25; Negro press, 23–24 Freedom Summer, 36–37 Freedomways (periodical), 35 Front Libération Nationale (FLN), 105, 107–8, 117 Fuller, Hoyt William, 10–11, 17, 22, 30–31, 37, 44–46, 48–51, 56–57, 60–62, 64, 66–68, 70–71, 73–74, 77, 79, 84–85, 87–89, 92, 110, 111, 115, 119, 125, 129–30, 132–34, 137, 139–40, 143, 156, 163–64, 172–73, 175, 177, 211–12n21, 213–14n57, 219n5, 222n36; art,

as weapon, 63; black aesthetic, 14, 75–76, 80–81, 83, 86, 90, 131, 174; Black Africa, reference to, 96; Black Arts movement, role in, 2–6, 13, 38–43, 147–48, 157, 161, 165, 169–70; as Black cosmopolitan activist, 15; Black cultural nationalism, 9; Black liberation, 81, 86, 90; Black nationalism, 8–9, 116; Black World, as editor of, 4, 7, 47, 52–53, 127, 138, 158, 166, 178; as bridge figure, 58; criticism of, 78; cultural politics, idea of, 8; cycle of silences, 150–51, 159–60, 162, 169–70; death of, 144, 147, 159–60; dissemblance of, 152–55, 159, 170; as editor, role of, 18, 26–27, 32–35, 39–40, 42–43; Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) files, 179–81; firing of, 120, 123–24, 128, 138; First World, 135–36, 141–42, 144– 45; First World Festival of Negro Arts (FESMAN), 96–102; as gatekeeper, 82–83, 157; Howard University, decline of offer, 173–74; Johnson, John J., strained relationship with, 18, 29, 33–34, 39, 126–27; legacy, preserving of, 160–61, 164, 169–70; memorial to, 147–48; military career, 152– 53; mythical status of, 80; Negro Digest, rejoining of, 25–26, 28; Organization of Black American Culture (OBAC) Writers’ Workshop, as driving force behind, 58– 59, 65, 90; Pan-African Cultural Festival (PACF), 106–8; Pan-Africanism, commitment to, 95, 107; Red Squad, surveillance of, 180–81; resignation of, 24; Robertino letters, 167–68; sexual discretion, 153–55, 159, 161, 170; sexuality of, 15–16, 148–70; World Festival of Black and African Arts and Culture (FESTAC), 108–9, 112–14, 117; young talent, cultivating of, 42–43 Garland, Phyl, 36–37, 44–45 Garrett, Jimmy, 68, 107 Garvey, Marcus, 45, 94 Gates, Henry Louis Jr., 176–78 Gayle, Addison, 57, 74, 86–87, 134, 219n5 “Generational Shifts and the Recent Criticism of Afro-American Literature” (Baker), 57 Germany, 93 Ghana, 33, 93, 104 Giddings, Paula, 174 Giovanni, Nikki, 43

250  . inde x Greaves, William, 129 Green, Adam, 14 Greenlee, Sam, 76–78 Griffin, Farah, 122 Guinea, 27, 39, 94, 104, 112 Guy, Rosa, 213–14n57 Haitian Revolution, 150 Hale, Leo Thomas, 70. See also Dooley, Ebon Haley, Alex, 74 Hall, James K., 180 Hampton, Fred, 78–79 Harding, Vincent, 130, 134 Hare, Nathan, 107, 111, 129 Harlem Renaissance, 38–39, 43, 52, 63 Harlem Writers Guild, 134, 139 Harlem Youth Opportunities Unlimited Power Conference, 70 Harris, Robert, 130, 134, 141–42, 213–14n57, 219n5 Harrison, Paul Carter, 134 Hartman, Andrew, 8 Harvey, David, 140 Hatcher, Richard, 55 Hayden, Robert, 43, 57 Hegeler, Inge, 166 Hemenway, Robert E., 176 Henderson, Mae, 223n75 Henderson, Stephen, 38–39, 57, 74, 173–74, 213–14n57, 219n5 Heritage Press, 61 Hervé, Julia, 107 Hill, Robert, 213–14n57 Himes, Chester, 43 Hine, Darlene Clark, 152, 221n21 historical narratives: cycles of silence, 150; points of production, 150 History of Pan African Revolt, The (James), 82 Hoover, J. Edgar, 20, 181 Horne, Gerald, 36 Hostos Community College, 87–88 Howard University, 83; Black student protests, 173; Institute for the Arts and Humanities (IAH), 173–75 Hoyt William Fuller Collection, 154, 167; at Atlanta University’s Archives Research Center, 163; restricted files, 163–64, 166, 168–69; at Robert Woodruff Library, 163–64, 168

H. R. Arris Company Inc., 211–12n21 Hue (magazine), 22, 24 Hughes, Langston, 43 Hurston, Zora Neale, 43, 177–78 Hutchison, Earl Ofari, 47 identity politics, 154, 168; among African Americans, 12, 53; “Black,” displacing Negro, as term, 53; black identity, 3–4, 10, 12, 14, 149; and Blackness, 11- 13, 18, 48 Illinois Arts Council, 72 Illinois Sesquicentennial Commission, 72 Images in Black (Amini), 71 imperialism, 7, 35, 93, 105 Impressions of African Art Forms (Danner), 63 Inness-Brown, Virginia, 98–99, 101, 108, 114–15 Institute for Positive Education, 82 Institute for the Arts and Humanities (IAH), 173–75, 177 Institute for the Humanities, 83 Institute of the Black World (IBW), 134 International Festival Committee, 113 intragender eroticism, 149, 158, 166, 168 Israel, 126–27 Italy, 39 Ivey, Beni, 139 Jackson, Angela, 84–85, 88–89, 137, 147, 159– 62, 168–70, 219n5 Jackson, Lawrence, 57 Jackson, Maynard, 114, 139 James, C. L. R., 82, 174 Japan, 93 Javits, Jacob, 33 Jefferson, Karen, 168 Jet (magazine), 2, 22, 24–25, 31, 37–38, 51–52, 124–25, 127 Jim Crow, 23, 60, 114, 120–22, 132–33, 140, 154 Johnson, Bennett, 65 Johnson, Charles, 142 Johnson, E. Patrick, 223n75 Johnson, Eunice, 125, 212n26 Johnson, John H., 1, 15, 20–22, 25–28, 31–32, 35–36, 38, 43–46, 48–52, 120, 123–25, 128, 130, 132, 136, 213–14n57; American Negro, as unique, 34; Black consciousness, as profitable commodity, 47; Black

inde x · 251 consciousness and Black Arts movement, embracing of, 17–18; Black identity, embracing of, 53; corporate sponsorship, reliance on, 133–34; “creative financing technique” of, 29–30; critics of, 23–24; Fuller, Hoyt, strained relationship with, 18, 29, 33–34, 39, 126–27; as iron-fisted, 129; Negro, as term, 33; Negro politics, as embodiment of, 34; profits, focus on, 18; and racism, 23; tyrant, reputation as, 29–30 Johnson, Virginia, 82 Johnson Publishing Company (JPC), 14–15, 17–19, 21, 25–27, 31–32, 34–40, 43, 45–48, 89, 111, 123–25, 127–29, 131, 133, 137–38, 144, 180, 211–12n21; Black, as term, 53; Black consciousness, language of in, 52; corporate America, links to, 22; expansion of, 22; gendered lines, organization along, 50; library at, 28–29; Negro, use of in, 1–2; Negro Firsts, obsession with, 23– 24; as plantation, 30; protests against, 44 Jones, Virginia Lacy, 163 Jordan, June, 137, 174 Journal of Black Poetry (journal), 40, 134 Journey to Africa (Fuller), 95 Karenga, Maulana, 9–10, 67, 131, 177, 219n5 Kennedy-King Junior College, 85 Kent, George, 74, 129 Kent Conrad and Associates, 61 Killens, John Oliver, 129, 134, 173 King, Martin Luther Jr., 114 King, Woodie, 111, 134, 139 Kinsey Report,The, 166 Kissinger, Henry, 114 Knight, Etheridge, 43 Krag, Eller, 166 Kuumba Workshop, 68 Lagos (Nigeria), 15, 91, 104, 108–9 Latimore, Jewel C., 70. See also Amini, Johari Latin America, 7 Lee, Donald, 70. See also Madhubuti, Haki Leonard, John, 132 Lewis, Elma, 111 Lewis, Samella, 129 Liberator (magazine), 35, 127, 134 Liberia, 104

Lincoln, Abbey, 105 Little Rock desegregation campaign, 25 Live on the Sunset Strip (Pryor), 91 Llorens, David, 36–38, 45, 50, 71 Locke, Alain, 38, 142 Long, Richard, 111, 113, 163–68, 170, 219n5 Lorde, Audre, 137, 174, 223n75 Los Angeles (California): Watts riots, 36 Madhubuti, Haki, 70–71, 76, 80, 82, 107, 111–12, 126, 131–32, 134, 147, 173, 219n5; as Black Writer-in-Residence, 83. See also Lee, Donald Mahone, Barbara, 72 Mailou-Jones, Lois, 174 Makeba, Mariam, 74 Malcolm X, 27, 35, 45, 139 Mali Federation, 95, 104 Mallorca, 26 Many Thousand Gone: An American Fable (Fair), 78 March on Washington, 34 Marshall, Paule, 174 Marvin X, 68 Marxism, 81; Black nationalism, 111–13, 175– 76, 179; two-line struggle, 214n59 Maxwell, William, 179 McCune, Jeffrey, 153 McFarland, Henry, 37 McIntyre, Charshee, 134 McNeil, Ernest Duke, 65–66 McWorter, Gerald, 56. See also Alkalimat, Abdul Memmi, Albert, 82 Metcalfe, Ralph, 114 Miller, E. Ethelbert, 174 Modern Language Association (MLA), 87– 88, 90, 178–79; Commission on Minority Literature, 175 Monrovia, 104 Montagu, Ashley, 62 Monthly Review (magazine), 4 Moore, David, 66. See also Mor, Amus Mor, Amus, 66–67; as Eurocentric, charges of, 75; jazz and poetry, incorporation of, 75; OBAC, criticism of, 76. See also Moore, David Morocco, 104 Morrison, Toni, 74 Muhammad Speaks (periodical), 35

252  . inde x Nabrit, James Jr., 173 Nation, The (magazine), 4 National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), 4, 21; Legal Defense Fund, 99 National Association of Black Lawyers, 134 National Black Theatre, 68 National Committee of Concern Over the Demise of Black World, 130 National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), 175 National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), 88 Nation of Islam, 33 Natural Superiority of Women, The (Montagu), 62 Neal, Larry, 55, 131–32, 176–78, 181 Negritude movement, 94, 96–97, 100–101, 108, 112–13, 117 Negro: “Black,” displacing of, 53; as word, 1, 33, 45 Negro Digest (magazine), 4, 15, 22, 28–29, 33, 37–38, 40, 52–53, 62, 66, 68, 71, 73–76, 78, 80, 87, 96–97, 106–7, 124–25, 129, 143–45, 178; Black Arts movement, importance of to, 5–7, 31, 39–43; Black consciousness, 2; Black identity, expansive notion of, 27; Black nationalism, centrality to, 18; Black power movement, rise of, 34; circulation of, 21; enterprising character of, 20–21; and First World Festival of Negro Arts (FESMAN), 101; insufficient resources toward, 31; name of, 2; name change of, 43, 45–48, 51; New Afro-American Nationalism, championing of, 32, 35–36; origins of, 19–20; revival of, as political periodical, 25–27, 30–31; subscription base of, 31, 44– 45. See also Black World (magazine) Negro Digest Publishing Company, 19, 21 Negro press, 23 neoliberalism, 140 New Afro-American Nationalism, 27, 32, 35–36 Newark Black Power Conference, 81 New Folk Sound, The (Callier), 64 New Republic (magazine), 4 New York City, 34; Harlem, 6, 41, 74, 134 New York Review of Books (magazine), 4 New York Times (newspaper), 43 Ngozi-Brown, Scot, 9 Nigeria, 92, 94, 99, 104, 109–10, 113–15, 117 Nigerian Daily Times (newspaper), 113

Nkombo (magazine), 142 Nkrumah, Kwame, 33 Nomma: The Journal of the OBAC Writers’ Workshop (journal), 72 North Africa, 27, 95 North America, 45 North American Zone, 109–11 Northwestern University, 83–85 Now! (magazine), 35 Nyerere, Julius, 94 Oakland (California), 34 Obasanjo, Olusegun, 115 O’Meally, Robert, 176 Opportunity (magazine), 21 Organization of African Unity (OAU): Commission on Education and Culture, 104 Organization of Afro-American Unity (OAAU), 139 Organization of Black American Culture (OBAC), 14, 59–61, 64–65, 131–32, 160, 171, 177; black aesthetic concept of, 56, 67, 75–76, 80, 86, 88, 90; Black Arts movement, impact on, 89; Black cultural nationalist ideology of, 66; black experimentalism of, 67; Black Forum Series, 82; Black identity, 75; Black Panther Party, 78–79; Black Power organizations, 82; challenges facing, 89; colleges and universities, positions at, 81, 86; critics of, 76, 78; drama workshop of, 68; fire of, 89; headquarters of, 73, 89; Hoyt Fuller Library, 74, 89; internal conflicts of, 74–80; live performances, 73; name, origins of, 66; national reputation of, 74; popularity of, 56–57, 73; pronunciation of, 66; “Rapping Black Sessions,” 67; Red Squad investigation of, 68–70; town and gown divide, straddling of, 84–86; Writers’ Workshop, 57–58, 70–74, 77, 79–81, 87 “Our Images: Inside the Black Metropolis: The Black Artist Looks at His Life in the Ghetto,” 63 Our World (magazine), 22 Owen, Chandler, 142 Padmore, George, 93 Painter, Nell, 213–14n57 Palestine, 126–27 Pan-African Congresses, 93 Pan-African Cultural Festival (PACF), 92, 94, 105, 108–9; Black Arts movement,

inde x · 253 103–4, 106–7. See also First Pan-African Cultural Festival Pan-Africanism, 7, 13, 15, 27, 33–34, 39, 47, 66, 92, 97, 101–2, 104–5, 109, 111–12, 144, 174; Black Arts nationalism, 96; continental Pan-Africanism, 94; festival organizing, 94–95; global Pan-Africanism, 95, 107, 117; as hotly debated, 93; internal complexity of, 93–94; and Negritude, 108; and race, 107–8; scale and slant, 94–95, 103, 116; self-determination, 110 Pan Africanism or Communism? The Coming Struggle for Africa (Padmore), 93 Parks, Carole, 48–52, 120, 123, 126–32, 134– 36, 140–41, 144, 159–62, 169, 222n37; First World, commitment to, 137–38 Path Press, 65 Perkins, Huel, 213–14n57 Peters, Brock, 74 Peters, Marjorie, 84 Pittsburgh Courier (newspaper), 20–21 Plumpp, Sterling, 71, 76–79, 81–82, 85, 88, 147, 156–57 Poinsett, Alex, 43 Popular Front, 63 Portable Soul (Plumpp), 71 Porter, Dorothy, 173 Progressive, The (magazine), 4 Protestant work ethic, 46 Pryor, Richard, 91 Public Information Act, 180 queer: identity politics, 149 racism, 8, 23, 32, 97, 102, 112, 154 Randall, Dudley, 71, 213–14n57, 219n5 Randolph, A. Philip, 126, 142 Rangel, Charles, 114 Reagan, Ronald, 140, 179 Reagon, Bernice Johnson, 174 Reconstructionists, 175, 178–79, 181; Reconstruction of Instruction, 176 Red Scare, 60 Reed, Ishmael, 131–32, 158, 174 Review of Black Political Economy (journal), 134 Révolution Africaine (journal), 106 Ricks, George, 65 Rivers, Conrad Kent, 56, 62, 65, 78; death of, 70; “To Make a Poet Black” evenings, 61, 64 Roach, Max, 111

Robinson, Fletcher, 134 Rodgers, Carolyn, 66, 70–71, 76, 79–80, 83–84, 88, 119 Ross, Marlon: intragender eroticism, 149 Roots (Haley), 74, 91 Rushing, Andrea, 213–14n57 Russwurm, John, 45 Rustin, Bayard, 126–27 Salaam, Kalamu ya, 42, 111, 142–44 Sanchez, Sonia, 43, 174 San Francisco (California), 74 Sartre, Jan-Paul, 106 Saunders, Doris, 28–29, 37, 50 Scott-Heron, Gil, 140 Second World Festival of Black and African Arts, 108–9, 117. See also World Festival of Black and African Arts and Culture (FESTAC) segregation, 27, 39, 121, 133; and colonialism, 96 Selective Service Act, 153 Senegal, 38–39, 94–95, 98, 100–101, 103–4, 109–10, 117 Senghor, Leopold, 97–101, 104–5, 108–10, 112–13, 116 sexuality, 3, 9, 15–16, 148, 150–51, 153–54, 157, 159–65, 167; Black Arts movement, 13, 16, 149, 155–56, 158, 169–70; and homosexuality, 152, 168; intragender eroticism, 149, 158, 166, 168 Shange, Ntozake, 137, 139, 174, 177–78 Shepp, Archie, 105 Shepperson, George, 93–94 Shockley, Ann Allen, 213–14n57 Silencing the Past (Trouillot), 147 Simone, Nina, 105 Simpson, Joseph, 65, 67, 81 Sixth Pan-African Congress (6PAC), 111 Sizemore, Barbara, 158, 213–14n57 Smith, Ann, 66, 68, 130, 159–62, 169–70, 222n36 Smith, Barbara, 223n75 Smith, David Lionel, 71, 175 Smith, Donald, 65 social movements, 16, 52, 171–72 Songs of a Black Bird (Rodgers), 71 Soulbook (magazine), 35, 127, 134 South Africa, 126–27 Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), 141 South Shore National Bank, 135–36

254  . inde x South Side Community Arts Center, 63–64, 70, 73 Spain, 26, 39 Spook Who Sat by the Door, The (Greenlee), 77 Spriggs, Ed, 111 Stalin, Joseph, 20 Stepto, Robert, 176 Stokes, Louis, 114 Stonewall uprising, 154 Street in Bronzeville, A (Brooks), 79 Street Speaker (periodical), 35 Strickland, William, 129, 134, 141, 213–14n57, 219n5 Stuckey, Sterling, 130 Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), 36–37, 107, 114, 126 Student Organization for Black Unity (SOBU), 126 student sit-ins, 25 Subcommittee on Africa for the Committee on Foreign Affairs, 114 Succeeding against the Odds (Johnson), 23 Sugarfields (Mahone), 72 Sula (Morrison), 74 Sun Trust Bank, 138–39 Supreme Liberty Life Insurance Company, 19 Take Care of Business (Marvin X), 68 Tan Confessions (magazine), 22, 24 Tanzania, 94, 104, 111 Teer, Barbara Ann, 68 Tesch, Otto, 155, 167–68 Thelwell, Michael, 83 These Black Bodies and This Sunburnt Face (Rivers), 61 Think Black (Madhubuti), 71 Third World, 74, 103, 108, 117, 182 Third World Press, 71 Third World Women’s Alliance, 126 Thomas, Bettye Collier, 213–14n57 Thomas, Eloise, 163 Thompson, Bill, 213–14n57 Thorne, Richard, 35 Thorpe, Earl, 213–14n57 Till, Emmett, 25 To Gwen with Love, 17 Toure, Sekou, 94, 112 “Towards a Black Aesthetic” (Fuller), 75, 80

Traylor, Eleanor, 137, 139, 148 Trouillot, Michel-Rolph, 147, 150 Troupe, Quincy, 174 Tucker, Kharlos, 70. See also Wimberli, Sigmonde Turner, Darwin, 213–14n57 Turner, James, 129–30, 141–42, 158, 219n5 two-line struggle, 214n59. See also Black nationalism, Marxism Umbra (journal), 40 United Kingdom, 93; Departmental Committee on Homosexual Offences and Prostitution, 166 United Nations (UN), 127 United States, 2–3, 5–8, 13, 21–22, 25–27, 39, 91–92, 96, 98, 104, 107, 109–10, 115, 120, 149, 151, 169; African diaspora, as part of, 95; AIDS epidemic in, 166–67; art in, as class-based, 11–12; conservatism, rise of, 179; culture wars, 90; exceptionalism, myth of, 46; homophobic landscape of, 159; identity politics, 10; race in, 95; as racist, 102, 105, 135 Universal Negro Improvement Association, 94 University of Illinois at Chicago, 85 University of Washington, 84 Urban League, 21 US Committee, 97, 100–101, 111–14 US Organization, 9, 78, 131 Vaughn, Ed, 129 Venable, Roy, 137–38 Walker, Margaret, 63, 115–16 Wallace, Michelle, 178 Wall of Respect (mural), 65, 67; Red Squad investigation, 68 Walters, Ronald, 130, 134, 141, 148 Walton, Eugene, 34 Ward, Francis, 219n5 Ward, Val Gray, 68, 128–29, 134, 137, 219n5 Way of Life, A (Wildeblood), 167 We Own the Night (Garrett), 68 West Africa, 27, 95 Wheatley, Phillis, 42–43 White, Phillip, 213–14n57 white supremacy, 7–8 Williams, Fred Hart, 59–61

inde x · 255 Williams, Sherley Anne, 176 Wimberle, Sigmonde, 70, 80. See also Tucker, Kharlos Wolfenden Report, The, 166 Womack, Bobby, 135 Woodard, Komozi, 9 Woodson, Carter G., 142; Negro History Week, 59 World Festival of Black and African Arts and Culture (FESTAC), 15, 50, 68, 92, 94, 108–9, 114, 117, 139, 142–43; ideological differences, 111–13; opening of, 115–16; underwriting, controversy over, 113 World War II, 98, 152

Worthy, William, 27 Wretched of the Earth (Fanon), 106 Wright, Richard, 63, 107 Wynter, Sylvia, 213–14n57 Yale University, 81; Reconstructionists at, 175 Yardbird Reader (Reed), 158 Yoruba people, 55, 66, 109 Young, Andrew, 114, 139 Zionism, 126, 128 Zora Neale Hurston: A Literary Biography (Hemenway), 176

jonathan fenderson is an assistant professor of African and African American studies at Washington University in St. Louis.

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