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Building the Black Arts MovementHoyt Fuller and the Cultural Politics of the 1960s$
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Jonathan Fenderson

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780252042430

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.5622/illinois/9780252042430.001.0001

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Designing the Future

Designing the Future

Black in a Negro Company

(p.17) 1 Designing the Future
Building the Black Arts Movement

Jonathan Fenderson

University of Illinois Press

This chapter explores Hoyt Fuller’s work as the lead editor of Negro Digest, one of several magazines produced by Johnson Publishing Company (JPC). 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. By chronicling the strained professional relationship between the magazine owner, John H. Johnson, and Fuller, the magazine’s editor, the chapter illuminates the intraracial struggle between an emergent group of Black nationalists and a more established elite class of African American liberals. This struggle was perfectly encapsulated in Fuller’s efforts to undermine what he deemed as the bourgeois Negro politics of JPC. By advancing “Black” as a counter to JPC’s dominant discourse, Fuller used Negro Digest as an influential print mechanism in the production and amplification of an alternative politics for African Americans.

Keywords:   Negro Digest, Black World, Black nationalism, print culture, Johnson Publishing Company, Black Power, civil rights, liberals, Black counterpublic, editor

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