Remembering African American Writer William Melvin Kelley

Kathryn Schulz for the New Yorker recalls the life and times of William Melvin Kelley, an African American writer with a brilliant debut novel who falls into obscurity. Read this excellent piece about Kelley here.

William_Melvin_Kelley_Carl_Van Vechten

(William Melvin Kelley, 1963; Image credit: Carl Van Vechten Collection, Library of Congress)


Danai Gurira’s Play “Familiar” Resonates in These Times

Danai Gurira’s play “Familiar” runs through March 4, 2018, at the Wooly Mammoth Theater Company in Washington, DC. The play explores the life of an African immigrant family in the Midwest, but with a twist. Check out our review of “Familiar.”




Danai Gurira (Photo credit: Gage Skidmore, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license)



Black Women Artists of the ’60s and ’70s

An exhibition of Black radical women artists of the ’60s and ’70s is at the Los Angeles African American museum through January 15, 2018. Check it out.

Black Radical Women Artists of the ’60s and ’70s



(Image credit: L.A. Times, Members of Rodeo Caldonia, from left: Alva Rogers, Sandye Wilson, Candace Hamilton, Derin Young and Lisa Jones — as photographed by Lorna Simpson in 1986. [Lorna Simpson])

James Baldwin Conference

Our editor will be presenting at the James Baldwin conference on Friday, May 27, 2016, from 13:15 to 15:15 at the American University of Paris. Dr. Simms-Burton will examining Baldwin’s relationships with Johnny Romero and Frederick James within the context of unrequited love and how intersectionality silences these relationships.



We Mourn the Loss of John A. Williams

Photo of John A. Williams

(John A. Williams, Photo Credit: Carl Van Vechten)

On July 3, 2015, one of our literary giants transitioned to be with our ancestors. We will forever remain indebted to Williams for his genius, his political tenacity, and his laser beam insight. Thank you Medgar Evers College and the Center for Black Literature for your obituary of Williams.

Visit Williams’ digital archives at the University of Rochester


August Wilson’s American Century Cycle

(August Wilson, Photo Credit: Unknown)

(August Wilson, Photo Credit: Unknown)

Until August 26, 2015, you can listen to all 10 of Wilson’s American Century Cycle plays. With first class readings by such astounding actors like Phylicia Rashad, Taraji P. Henson, and Rocky Carroll, you will access another dimension of Wilson’s genius. Regarded as the best playwright of his generation, Wilson examines the lives of African Americans in Pittsburgh and Chicago for each decade of the twentieth century.