by Oliver W. Harrington
edited, with an introduction, by M. Thomas Inge
To American black newspapers of the 1930s and 1940s 'Ollie' Harrington was a prolific contributor of humorous and editorial cartoons. He emerged as an artist during the Harlem Renaissance and created Bootsie, the popular cartoon figure that became a fixture in black newspapers. Langston Hughes praised Harrington as America's greatest black cartoonist. After serving as a war correspondent in Italy, he returned to his homeland and the impediment of racism that pervaded American life. As director of public relations for the NAACP, he crusaded against America's policies of institutionalized racism, openly supporting leftist reform leaders. Upon hearing in this era of 'red-baiting' that he was targeted for investigation, Harrington left America. In the culturally rich American community on the Left Bank in Paris that would come to include Chester Himes, James Baldwin, and Richard Wright, he became a fixture. In 1961 he found himself trapped behind the Berlin Wall, but he chose to remain in East Germany. His cartoons appeared in East German magazines and in the American Communist newspaper The Daily World. Although he became a favorite with Eastern Bloc students and intellectuals, in America Harrington was mainly forgotten.
The autobiographical pieces included in Why I Left America and Other Essays, written mainly during the 1960s and 1970s, detail Oliver W. Harrington's experiences as an African American artist in exile. One theme that persists in these writings and his cartoons is his intolerance of racism. Hence, as an artist, he has found it impossible not to be political.
One essay, from Ebony magazine, fuels speculation about the mysterious circumstances in the death of his friend Richard Wright. In another piece Harrington details how he created the celebrated Bootsie. He writes in others of his life in New York during the Harlem Renaissance and in Paris with fellow black expatriate figures. Why did this African American choose to live in exile for over forty years? In an affectionate foreword to this volume Richard Wright's daughter Julia gives clues to the answer. Her insights, along with M. Thomas Inge's introductory essay about Harrington's life and achievements, bring special focus to the experiences of an outstanding African American artist and social critic who has been virtually without recognition in his homeland.
Oliver W. Harrington (1912-1995), cartoonist and political satirist, was an outspoken advocate for civil rights. He lived in exile in East Berlin for many years.
M. Thomas Inge is the Robert Emory Blackwell Professor of Humanities at Randolph-Macon College.
|Produto sob encomenda||Sim|
|Marca||University Press of Mississippi POD|
|Ano da edição||1993|
|Número de Páginas||144|
|Autor||Oliver W. Harrington; M. Thomas Inge|