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Date of Award


Access Type

Campus Access

Document type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program

Afro-American Studies

First Advisor

James Smethurst

Second Advisor

William Strickland

Third Advisor

John Bracey

Subject Categories

African American Studies | Ethnic Studies | United States History


"Journey Toward A Black Aesthetic" is a study of the activist and cultural work of Hoyt W. Fuller and the formation of the Black intellectual community in the United States during the 1960s and 1970s. It fills a major gap in Black Arts Movement Studies by exploring the public work of Fuller and the (inter)national sensibilities he helped to arouse among Black intellectuals, artists and activists. Much like the position granted to Alain Locke by scholars of the Harlem Renaissance, this study situates Hoyt Fuller as the "midwife" or "dean" of the Black Arts Movement. One of the central aspects of "Journey Toward A Black Aesthetic" is the way the project explores the various networks Fuller developed at the local, national and international levels. The project traces Fuller's role as editor of Negro Digest (Black World ) and First World . It also examines the key part he played as a founder of the Organization of Black American Culture (OBAC) in Chicago, and unpacks his position as an unofficial ambassador in several African festivals.

The project is based upon extensive archival research, oral history interviews, local periodicals and Black Arts literature. It is an attempt to lobby for an altered view of the movement from the perspective of Hoyt Fuller. As a gay black man, respected elder, engaged activist, leading editor, and passionate advocate for Black writers, Fuller's public work offers us a unique perspective on the 1960s. In sum, this study of his activism will help complement, contradict, and in some instances, transform our understanding of the Black Arts Movement, and the Black intellectual community that was formed in its wake.