Axinn Center 229
Old Chapel Road
Middlebury, VT 05753
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Open to the Public

The title of this talk refers to a scathing 1951 critique of Chicago that Richard Wright published in Ebony magazine, which was accompanied by photographs taken by Chicagoan Wayne Miller. Olson will discuss the documentary impulse of Wright’s work, including his 1941 photo-essay 12 Million Black Voices, and his luminous introduction to Horace Cayton and St. Clair Drake’s groundbreaking sociological study, Black Metropolis: A Study of Negro Life in a Northern City (1945). Olson will consider some of the surprising influences that went into the making of Wright’s introduction, including Wright’s experimentation with ideas first introduced to him by Gertrude Stein. Stein was a key inspiration for Wright—as Wright was for Stein—and the two writers carried on a fascinating and intense correspondence in 1945-1946, before Wright moved to Paris and met Stein in person. Olson will reveal an astonishing signal of transatlantic intellectual connection by exploring how Stein’s ideas about modernist literary development are embedded in the now classic study of black Chicago.

Sponsored by:
American Studies

Contact Organizer

Zz Brown, Renee
(802) 443 - 5124