African American Review

Founded in 1967, the African American Review is a quarterly journal published by St. Louis University, located in St. Louis, Mo. Its subject matter is literature and black publications. Its managing editor is Aileen Keenan.

Articles from Vol. 27, No. 4, Winter

Alea's Children: The Avant-Garde on the Lower East Side, 1960-1970
A century ago the area known as New York's Lower East Aside was among the most depressed neighborhoods in the city. As Milton Meltzer has noted, it had the distinction of being "the most crowded slum district in the city, and probably in the world,"...
Blues, History and Dramaturgy: An Interview with August Wilson
August Wilson granted me the following interview while he was in Washington, DC, for the November 1991 premiere of Two Trains Running at the Kennedy Center. Extremely personable and undeniably committed to his art, Wilson carefully outlined his answers...
Blues, History and the Dramaturgy of August Wilson
August Wilson's dramatic project is comprised of a cycle of plays that explore some of the historical choices that have confronted African Americans during the twentieth century. Wilson contends that the black community currently is floundering because...
Dominant and Submerged Discourses in 'The Life of Olaudah Equiano' (or Gustavus Vassa)?
'Twas mercy brought me from my Pagan land, Taught my benighted soul to understand That there's a God, that there's a Savior too: Once I redemption neither sought nor knew. Some view our sable race with scornful eye, "There colour is...
Fifth Avenue Uptown: James Baldwin, 1924-1987
1 Jimmy is dead; his body asleep; his mind at rest. So, too, the bright, snow-laden streets of Harlem, where cabdrivers doze inside mustard-colored taxis, where pedestrians walk beside the snarl of midday traffic, where the amazed-balloon faces...
In the Window/monk
we thought it would always be whoever woulda dreamed it wouldnt huh? whoever woulda thought a pizza/ hotdog/ souvlaki place would usurp our house of dreams & visions on the comer of 3rd avenue & 8th street major threshold to an exalted state...
Introduction to Lower East Side Retrospective
For many people, the Lower East Side of New York City has been a place of of historic interest and nostalgia. Groups often visit the area, particularly the decaying buildings that were sites of immigrant culture at the beginning of the century. Through...
Lower East Side Coda
When Norma Rogers first mentioned the idea of a reunion of sixties Lower East Side artists and former Umbra Writers Workshop members, I responded enthusiastically, although I never thought she would be able to pull it off. After thirty years we had...
Nella Larsen's 'Quicksand': Untangling the Webs of Exoticism
In 1925, when Josephine Baker went to Paris to perform in the Revenue Negre, she drew attention for her comic faces and the ways in which she could move her body. Baker's biographer Phyllis Rose writes, "Every part of her seemed to go in a different...
Noir by Noirs: Towards a New Realism in Black Cinema
Le film noir est noir pour nous, c'est-a-dire pour le public occidental et americain des annees 50. (Borde and Chaumeton 5) Looking eastward from the towers of Riverside Church perched among the university buildings on the high banks of the Hudson...
Reunion: August '89
I can feel it sometimes inside the harmonies of a dozen sister cousins aunts & womenfamily sittin in the august sun fannin themselves. Busy gossipin bout we "mens" & our "trampy" womenfriends & stuff. My ears are held hostage to hearin ....
Slightly Autobiographical: The 1960s on the Lower East Side
The Lower East Side of New York has little relation to the mid-upper (but not too far) East Side. In the early '60s, when I was living there, it had a distinct "otherness" from the West Side. Most people refused to think in terms of geographic opposites:...
'Sula' and 'Beloved': Images of Cain in the Novels of Toni Morrison
In The Mark of Cain, Ruth Mellinkoff rejects the single modern image of Cain she examines, Hesse's Demien, as an "intentionally distorted" treatment of the myth. In Hesse's novel, she claims, the interpreter has designed his interpretation to serve...
That Boy from Georgia Is Coming through Here
they changed curtains waxed floors aired out the front company room sent for camphor to lay throughout the house they cooked all night boiled bath water all day cornbread, okra, turnip salad, stewed chicken, fried chicken, dressing, killed the prized...
The Lower East Side: A Rebirth of World Vision
The air on that mid-September night was filled with a heavy and sullen wetness. Light rain had been falling intermittently for hours. But nothing would deter the young and somewhat past-young writers of the Harlem Writers Guild from assembling at their...
The Lyrics of Despair
You stand in white light. The rhinestones dripping like a million tears from your dress. A lavender gardenia in your jetblack hair. Your eyes like so many wet grapes. You open the red gash in your face to bleed . . . the lyrics of your despair because...
The "Unguarded Expressions of the Feelings of the Negroes": Gender, Slave Resistance, and William Wells Brown's Revisions of 'Clotel.'
In his three book-form editions of Clotel (1853, 1864, and 1867), William Wells Brown divided and differently partitioned his attention between two competing plots. The first revolves around individual all-but-white female figures whose very existence...
Umbra: A Personal Recounting
Physically, as a cohesive, functioning group, Umbra existed for only couple of years. But in terms of its impact on my work and my life, the two years of Umbra's physical existence constituted a lifetime; its influence on my writing and its meaning...