Freedomways Reader: Prophets in Their Own Country

By Esther Cooper Jackson; Constance Pohl | Go to book overview

PART SIX
Culture and the Cause of Black Freedom

RUBY DEE An editor of Freedomways

My earliest recollection of Freedomways is of a time before it was actually published. I was in the living room in the home of Dr. Du Bois and Shirley Graham Du Bois in Brooklyn Heights. Among those few present were Esther and Jim Jackson, John O. Killens, Ossie, me -- and I wish I could remember who else besides W.E.B. Du Bois, Doctor, The Great One, on a recliner, in house slippers, smoking his one cigarette for the day. Minds were moving over and around an idea whose time had arrived. I had interjected some kind of unnecessary protective remark about women. There was a momentary caring but puzzled silence, and Esther, I believe, incorporated my profound observation into some comment that got things back on track. A year or so later, many of the artists who helped found the journal and were a part of the collective that produced Freedomways attended the opening event at the Hotel Martinique in 1961 where it was launched.

Over the years, I have interpreted the works of a number of the Black women writers who appear in this anthology. On Broadway, I played the role of Ruth, the wife of Sidney Poitier's Walter Lee

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