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Truth is in favor of you and me; for the truth of our enemies whom we have been serving here in the U.S.A. for over 400 years (whom we did not know to be our enemies by nature) is the truth that the Black Man must have knowledge of to be able to keep from falling into the deceiving traps that are being laid by our enemies to catch us in their way which is opposed to the way of righteous of whom we are members. ~ The Honorable Elijah Muhammad

Monday, February 16, 2015

Power of Black Artist: FBI monitored and critiqued African American writers for decades

Newly declassified documents from the FBI reveal how the US federal agency under J Edgar Hoover monitored the activities of dozens of prominent African American writers for decades, devoting thousands of pages to detailing their activities and critiquing their work.
James Baldwin

Academic William Maxwell first stumbled upon the extent of the surveillance when he submitted a freedom of information request for the FBI file of Claude McKay. The Jamaican-born writer was a key figure in the Harlem Renaissance, author of the sonnet If We Must Die, supposedly recited by Winston Churchill, and Maxwell was preparing an edition of his complete poems. When the file came through from the FBI, it stretched to 193 pages and, said Maxwell, revealed “that the bureau had closely read and aggressively chased McKay” – describing him as a “notorious negro revolutionary” – “all across the Atlantic world, and into Moscow”.

Maxwell, associate professor of English and African American studies at Washington University in St Louis, decided to investigate further, knowing that other scholars had already found files on well-known black writers such as Langston Hughes and The Guardian
James Baldwin. He made 106 freedom of information requests about what he describes as “noteworthy Afro-modernists” to the FBI; 51 of those writers had files, ranging from three to 1,884 pages each.

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