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Valerie Wilson Wesley

Author Valerie Wilson Wesley was born on November 22, 1947 in Willimantic, Connecticut to Bertram W. Wilson and Mary Wilson. Wesley attended Howard University, where she earned her B.A. degree in 1970. She went on to receive two M.A. degrees, one from the Bank Street College of Education and another from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.

Wesley began her career as an associate editor for Scholastic News in 1970, where she remained until 1972. In 1988, she joined Essence magazine as the travel editor. Wesley served in many editing positions at the magazine. She served as executive editor from 1992 until 1996 and as contributing editor from 1994 until 1997. Wesley has also served as a writer for Essence. In 2005, she was named as an artist-in-residence at Columbia College of Chicago, Illinois. Wesley also served as an adjunct professor at Ramapo College of New Jersey in 2013.

Wesley was the author of numerous works in genres including mystery, romance, children’s, and nonfiction. She was the author of the Tamara Hayle Mysteries series, as well as the Willemena Rules! childrens book series. Wesley also wrote: Where Do I Go from Here?, which won the American Library Association’s Best Book for Reluctant Readers citation in 1993, When Death Comes Stealing, and Ain’t Nobody’s Business If I Do, which received the Award for Excellence in Adult Fiction from the American Library Association Black Caucus in 2000. Wesley was the recipient of the Griot Award from the New York chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists in 1993, and the Author of the Year Award from Amigirls Book Club in 2004, in addition to being named the author of the year by the Go Go, Girls Book Club.

An active participant in community organizations, Wesley was a board member of Sisters of Crime, a professional organization committed to fighting discrimination against women who write mystery novels, and was a member of the board of directors for the Newark Arts Council. She has also served on the Board of Trustees for the Montclair Art Museum and the YWCA of North Essex, New Jersey.

Wesley and her husband, Richard Wesley, have two daughters, Nandi and Thembi.

Valerie Wilson Wesley was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on March 30, 2017.

Accession Number

A2017.079

Sex

Female

Interview Date

03/30/2017

Last Name

Wesley

Maker Category
Middle Name

Wilson

Occupation
Organizations
Schools

Ashford School

Howard University

Kaiserslautern High School

Bank Street College of Education

Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism

First Name

Valerie

Birth City, State, Country

Willimantic

HM ID

WES11

Favorite Season

Fall, Spring

State

Connecticut

Favorite Vacation Destination

Caribbean

Favorite Quote

Life Goes On, There's Always Tomorrow.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New Jersey

Interview Description
Birth Date

11/22/1947

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Newark

Country

USA

Short Description

Author Valerie Wilson Wesley (1947 - ) was executive editor of Essence magazine and published several award winning novels.

Employment

Newark Public Schools Board of Education

Scholastic News

Essence Magazine

Self Employed, Author

Favorite Color

Purple, Maroon, Turquoise

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Valerie Wilson Wesley's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Valerie Wilson Wesley lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Valerie Wilson Wesley describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Valerie Wilson Wesley recalls her mother's education and aspirations

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Valerie Wilson Wesley describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Valerie Wilson Wesley talks about how her parents met and married

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Valerie Wilson Wesley talks about her father's service as a Tuskegee Airman

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Valerie Wilson Wesley talks about her father's legacy as a Tuskegee Airman

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Valerie Wilson Wesley describes her parents' personalities and who she takes after

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Valerie Wilson Wesley talks about her sister

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Valerie Wilson Wesley describes her earliest childhood memories

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Valerie Wilson Wesley remembers her father's deployment to the Vietnam War

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Valerie Wilson Wesley recalls her early education

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Valerie Wilson Wesley describes her community in Ashford, Connecticut

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Valerie Wilson Wesley remembers discrimination in Ashford, Connecticut

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Valerie Wilson Wesley recalls her early interests

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Valerie Wilson Wesley remembers living in Madrid, Spain

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Valerie Wilson Wesley reflects upon her experiences during high school

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Valerie Wilson Wesley recalls her literary instruction in high school

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Valerie Wilson Wesley remembers Kaiserslautern High School in Germany

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Valerie Wilson Wesley remembers the political atmosphere at Howard University

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Valerie Wilson Wesley recalls majoring in philosophy at Howard University

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Valerie Wilson Wesley describes her early experiences of religions

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Valerie Wilson Wesley remembers meeting her husband at Howard University

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Valerie Wilson Wesley remembers meeting her husband at Howard University

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Valerie Wilson Wesley talks about influence of philosophy on her writing

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Valerie Wilson Wesley talks about her work in early childhood education

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Valerie Wilson Wesley remembers her marriage to Richard Wesley

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Valerie Wilson Wesley recalls joining the Harlem Writer's Guild, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Valerie Wilson Wesley recalls joining the Harlem Writer's Guild, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Valerie Wilson Wesley recalls her decision to attend the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Valerie Wilson Wesley describes her position at Scholastic News

Tape: 3 Story: 12 - Valerie Wilson Wesley remembers joining Essence magazine

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Valerie Wilson Wesley describes her role as senior editor of Essence

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Valerie Wilson Wesley recalls her writing schedule in the late 1980s

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Valerie Wilson Wesley talks about her writing process

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Valerie Wilson Wesley describes her strategy for writing young adult fiction

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Valerie Wilson Wesley talks about her article, 'Anatomy of a Party Gone Wrong'

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Valerie Wilson Wesley describes her book, 'Where Do We Go From Here?'

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Valerie Wilson Wesley talks about the adventures of her heroine, Tamara Hayle pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Valerie Wilson Wesley talks about the adventures of her heroine, Tamara Hayle pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Valerie Wilson Wesley talks about the possibility for television adaptations of her stories

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Valerie Wilson Wesley talks about her research for her books

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Valerie Wilson Wesley describes the inspiration behind her work

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Valerie Wilson Wesley talks about her favorite books

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Valerie Wilson Wesley talks about the business aspect of publishing

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Valerie Wilson Wesley reflects upon her written works

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Valerie Wilson Wesley reflects upon her career

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Valerie Wilson Wesley describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Valerie Wilson Wesley reflects upon her family

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Valerie Wilson Wesley reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Valerie Wilson Wesley describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Valerie Wilson Wesley narrates her photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$4

DAStory

5$6

DATitle
Valerie Wilson Wesley talks about her article, 'Anatomy of a Party Gone Wrong'
Valerie Wilson Wesley describes her book, 'Where Do We Go From Here?'
Transcript
'Where Do I Go from Here?' [Valerie Wilson Wesley] came out--was published in '93 [1993] and now, now it won the NABJ [National Association of Black Journalists] Griot Award at some point?$$No, no that was--$$That--$$Well no, that was--I won the NA- for a journalist piece I did--$$Okay.$$--about my daughter, as a party.$$Oh, okay.$$That was, yeah that was, that was in, wait, wait, no the NABJ thing was an article thing I wrote in Essence.--$$Okay.$$--and that was for a party gone--I think it was called 'Anatomy of a Party Gone Wrong' [Valerie Wilson Wesley].$$Okay that makes more sense to me. Because I have--it's in here the same year so I thought it may have been for the, but I don't know why they would do that so that answers that. 'Anatomy of a Party Gone Wrong.' Now what, what is that about, gun violence?$$No, it's about the cops came into our home. My girls were giving a party and beat up everybody. And Amiri's kids were here and just it was awful. I was at Essence at the time and that's why I wrote it and Audrey [HistoryMaker Audrey Edwards]--$$So, well who orchestrated it (simultaneous)?$$(Simultaneous) Well what happened was the kids were giving a party. Lucky there were no drugs there.$$Were they in high school?$$No Thembi [Thembi Wesley] was in college [Howard University, Washington, D.C.], first year of college. Nandi [Nandi Wesley] was in high school, and Richard [HistoryMaker Richard Wesley] and I were up the street and Thembi's eighteen, and somehow, we think now that maybe what happened was they were trying to--, there was a young kid, a young very political young boy in Newark [New Jersey] who was, that we think they may have been following because he was really you know, kind of a revolutionary kid. Anyway the house was, friends from college, kids they knew. You know how parties start, with kids like, here. It's a predominantly white neighborhood [Montclair, New Jersey] and somehow I think they were following this kid. But they came in. No one--our neighbors were like really horrified because they don't, I don't care, you know, they were really were protective of the kids and because they know them. And the cops basically came in and and my daughter wouldn't let them in. She said, "You have to have--," basically stood up and said, "you have to have a search warrant. You just can't come in--," and pushed her out of the way and went. They were just, it was awful and when they did that, the boy saw them. What happened in these situations, the boys, they pick on the boys first and there was lots--the girls first. There were lots of siblings at the party so they would start, they would start beating up the girls and you know pushing them around and like you know and anyway they ended up arresting kids and including Thembi and including Amiri Baraka who came when he heard his kids were here and when he heard they were doing that to us, he got in his car and drove down here and came into the party and was angry, and Thembi and Amiri ended up in the same squad car. It was just a mess. Anyway, and so and it was just awful, awful and we ended up, ultimately they kind of dropped the charges and expunged Thembi's record which you know it was just you know, it was just terrible and to have your home invaded like that. And I think if they were looking for something it would have, it would have been of course there was nothing here, including if there'd been would have been mine because the kids, there was not any alcohol. They were not drinking. No alcohol. So that was, and I wrote about it. You read about it from two perspectives. One from me and one from a kid who was here who is now a doctor. Anyway, as it ends it up, as it ends up it was just awful that's all I can say. Recently, that maybe two years ago I ordered a pizza and the delivery guy came and when he came to the house he said, you, he looked like he had a hard time. He said, "I know this house," and I said--. "Well you know I remember I was a cop once and we came here." And he just apologized. He said, "I'm so sorry that what happened to you. Will you forgive me for that?" I said, "Yeah." I mean, "Is everyone okay?" And I said, "Yeah." And they were. I mean they went through it. Thembi never again, they were sensitive, they were afterwards, but they all, it was a terrible education for them but it, thank God there was no one was shot. It would be today, but then they weren't, cops weren't using guns like they do now. And it was just really not, you know, it was just rousing people you know arresting kids but it was really awful but the kids got, that was their first introduction to you know that kind of, "You ain't white," that's what my uncle told me. He said, "Didn't you teach those kids they weren't white?" That was my uncle's--, "Valerie [HistoryMaker Valerie Wilson Welsey], why didn't you, didn't you teach them?" I said, "I, you know, you yeah." I was young too, then in a sense. It was awful. That's all, I kept saying that word again and again. It was just really frightening (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) Hm, yeah okay. That's quite a story, I--yeah.$$It, yeah and that was the 'Anatomy of a Party Gone Wrong.' It was a look at that.$'Where Do We Go From Here?' [Valerie Wilson Wesley]. Now what was that about?$$That was about, that was a young adult novel. That was the first after the, in, of the children's the, the AFRO-BETS book of heroes ['Book of Black Heroes from A to Z: An Introduction to Important Black Achievers for Young Readers,' Wade Hudson with Valerie Wilson Wesley] that was about two kids and it was based upon something Richard [Wesley's husband, HistoryMaker Richard Wesley] was writing, and how it got and came into being was [HistoryMaker] Walter Dean Myers had said to send him an--I was working and I'm still working I never sold it on a book about history book for children about the Sea Islands about port--what they call the, port world experiment [sic. Port Royal Experiment] which was when missionaries from the East came down to the Sea Islands. Anyway I had the three chapters and I sent it to Walter Dean Myers' editor and she said, "We don't want to buy history, but do you have anything contemporary?" And I said, "Oh yes, of course I do," which I didn't. You never say you don't. You always--and I wrote the first three chapters of what I called at the time was 'The Indicot Blues' [ph.] and it was, 'Where Do I Go From---'it was basically about a middle--a kid on scholarship at this exclusive school and he [Marcus] and this little girl in Newark [New Jersey] it's from her perspective, whose at the same school and her fitting into the glorified world of middle--of them both the private schools, he you know he drops out and disappears one night. He's like the star of the school. He's very friendly and everyone loves him and he kind of helps her and her name is Nia, kind of helps her be a part of the school only because he's such a you know but he leaves one night and she basically goes in search of him because now she's there by herself and she gets into a fight with a little white girl which also grew up in Newark and was a lot of that tension. Anyway she finds him and they become friends again and he's fine and it was based upon, Richard was doing a story about at the time called 'Murder Without Motive' ['Murder Without Motive: The Edmund Perry Story'] for, and it was about a kid who went to one of these prep schools [Phillips Exeter Academy, Exeter, New Hampshire] and comes back home and ends up shooting a cop or shooting somebody and ends up dead. And I, I of course took my story and made it different. But and that's what it was about and it's about these two kids in this environment, this predominantly white private school. But it was you know it was pretty good and I, it was--out of print now but I think it would be interesting to, it was Scholastic [Scholastic Corporation] was--$$Okay, okay.$$And that was the first one (simultaneous).

Calvin Hicks

Calvin L. Hicks is director of community collaborations and program development and a member of the liberal arts faculty at the renowned New England Conservatory of Music (NEC) in Boston, Massachusetts. Born on August 18, 1933 in Boston, Hicks was profoundly influenced by his mother, Marguerite (Calvin) Hicks, a left-wing political activist and writer, and his maternal grandparents, Lenora and Thomas Calvin, who were strict Christians and devoted church activists. Absorbing his mother's interest in writing, he began his journalistic endeavors while still in high school, writing for the Boston Chronicle, a Black weekly newspaper.

After graduating from English High School in Boston in 1950, Hicks attended Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, studying journalism and political science. After a brief stint with the Baltimore Afro-American newspaper, he moved on to New York City where he spent twelve years writing and teaching in the humanities and third world studies. During these years, he was engaged in national and international liberation struggles of the 1960s, and for a brief period during this time, he was employed at Time Magazine as a researcher. In New York City, he founded and chaired the On Guard Committee for Freedom, which included as members individuals such as Amiri Baraka, Archie Shepp, A.B. Spellman and Walter Bowe, and was executive director of the Monroe Defense Committee in support of Robert Williams and was influential in the Fair Play for Cuba Committee. With poet and writer Tom Dent, Hicks was one of the founders of Umbra Magazine and was also a member of the prestigious Harlem Writers Guild. As a freelance writer, Hicks' articles appeared in Freedomways, New Challenge and others. He was also a full-time reporter with New York Age newspaper. During his time in New York City, Hicks also worked as an instructor at Brooklyn College, City College of New York and Richmond College.

Returning to the Boston area in 1969, Hicks was offered a professorship in the sociology department at Brandeis University, the first African American to be offered this position, and then directed undergraduate and graduate programs in the Third World Studies Program at Goddard College in Vermont. He was a member of the faculty in the African American studies department and was the director of the Third World Center at Brown University. Hicks then moved on to serve as division chair of liberal arts and dean of academic affairs at Roxbury Community College in Boston. He was a co-founder of the Black Educators Roundtable in Boston, and from 1974 to 1975, Hicks was a graduate fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Graduate Department of Urban Planning and Urban Studies. In 1984, he received his master's degree in the philosophy of education from Cambridge College in Massachusetts.

Under Hicks' direction since 1992, Community Collaborations and Program Development at NEC has developed a dynamic music arts program, providing educational services and music instruction to a wide variety of individuals of all ages and cultures, as well as a host of traditional and non-traditional academic, civic and social institutions across the city of Boston. Among them are Music for Senior Citizens, the NEC Community Gospel Chorus, and the Roland Hayes/Marian Anderson Concert Series. Hicks has also been the driving force behind performances, symposia and events that have been for the benefit of Boston Public School teachers and students. In 1999, he began the Thomas A. Dorsey Summer Gospel Institute to take a more detailed look into the roots of gospel music. He also developed the Memory and Society: Theaters of Memory Remembering for the Present and the Future as well as the Institute for the Study of African American Secular and Sacred Music, both Summer Institutes. He was also a faculty member at the Longy School of Music in Cambridge, Massachusetts in the Department of Modern American Music.

Hicks passed away on August 25, 2013.

Accession Number

A2004.208

Sex

Male

Interview Date

10/15/2004

Last Name

Hicks

Maker Category
Schools

English High School

Drake University

C. C. Perkins School

David A. Ellis Elementary School

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Calvin

Birth City, State, Country

Boston

HM ID

HIC01

Favorite Season

May

State

Massachusetts

Favorite Vacation Destination

Oceans

Favorite Quote

Lord Have Mercy.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Massachusetts

Interview Description
Birth Date

8/18/1933

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Boston

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Indian Food

Death Date

8/25/2013

Short Description

Academic administrator and newspaper correspondent Calvin Hicks (1933 - 2013 ) was the Director of Community Collaborations at the New England Conservatory of Music, and had taught at Brandeis University, Goddard College and Brown University.

Employment

Baltimore Afro-American Newspaper

Time, Inc.

On Guard Committee for Freedom

Monroe Defense Committee in Support of Robert Williams

Umbra Magazine

New York Age Newspaper

Brooklyn College

City College of New York

Richmond College

Brandeis University

Goddard College - Vermont

Brown University

Roxbury Community College

NEC

Longy School of Music - Cambridge, Massachusetts

Favorite Color

Blue, Green, Red

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Calvin Hicks' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Calvin Hicks lists his favorite things

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Calvin Hicks describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Calvin Hicks describes his mother's childhood in the South End of Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Calvin Hicks describes his mother's personality and political activities

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Calvin Hicks recalls his early exposure to politics in his childhood home

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Calvin Hicks talks about his early political awareness and writing for the Boston Chronicle

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Calvin Hicks describes his mother's influence on his writing and her education

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Calvin Hicks talks about his father

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Calvin Hicks describes his relationship with his father

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Calvin Hicks remembers his elementary schools and his experience at English High School in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Calvin Hicks describes his childhood interests

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Calvin Hicks remembers attending Ebenezer Baptist Church in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Calvin Hicks explains his decision to attend Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Calvin Hicks talks about his extracurricular activities in high school and college

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Calvin Hicks recalls his decision to leave Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Calvin Hicks describes his growing interest in theology and political philosophy

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Calvin Hicks describes his initial career in journalism

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Calvin Hicks talks about becoming a member of the Harlem Writers Guild

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Calvin Hicks talks about his early teaching and consultancy career in New York, New York

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Calvin Hicks describes working at Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Calvin Hicks talks about his involvement with the third world studies program at Goddard College in Plainfield, Vermont

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Calvin Hicks remembers John Henrik Clarke and his activism

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Calvin Hicks recalls his involvement with left-wing political organizations and publications in New York, New York

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Calvin Hicks talks about his work with Amiri Baraka to consolidate An Organization of Young Men with On Guard Committee for Freedom

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Calvin Hicks describes his transition from New York, New York to Massachusetts in 1969

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Calvin Hicks describes his educational work in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Calvin Hicks recalls his work with the Boston Public Schools, Cambridge Economic Opportunities Committee and Brandeis University

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Calvin Hicks talks about teaching at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Calvin Hicks talks about heading the Third World Center at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Calvin Hicks talks about working at Roxbury Community College in Roxbury Crossing, Massachusetts

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Calvin Hicks describes the history of the community music program at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Calvin Hicks talks about the former gospel jubilee hosted at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Calvin Hicks remembers initiating the Thomas A. Dorsey Gospel Jubilee at New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Calvin Hicks talks about the creation of the Thomas A. Dorsey Gospel Institute

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Calvin Hicks describes changes he made to the Thomas A. Dorsey Gospel Jubilee at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Calvin Hicks reflects upon his experiences at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Calvin Hicks reflects upon his career in higher education

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Calvin Hicks talks about the challenges facing afro-centric educational institutions

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Calvin Hicks explains his decision to head the third world studies program at Goddard College in Plainfield, Vermont

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Calvin Hicks describes heading the third world studies graduate program at Goddard-Cambridge Graduate Program in Social Change

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Calvin Hicks talks about the challenges of sustaining educational institutions

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Calvin Hicks reflects upon his life

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Calvin Hicks describes his concerns for the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Calvin Hicks describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Calvin Hicks narrates his photographs, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Calvin Hicks narrates his photographs, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Calvin Hicks narrates his photographs, pt. 3

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$4

DAStory

4$2

DATitle
Calvin Hicks talks about becoming a member of the Harlem Writers Guild
Calvin Hicks talks about his work with Amiri Baraka to consolidate An Organization of Young Men with On Guard Committee for Freedom
Transcript
I worked for them [The New York Age] for a little over a year I guess, year and a half, something like that, did a lot of, a lot of stories for them, with them. But I was still trying to find stuff, and I, through Sarah [L.] Wright, who I'd met at Camp Unity [Wingdale, New York], I became a member of the Harlem Writers Guild [HWG], which was organized and run by John O. Killens [John Oliver Killens]. And people met at his house in Brooklyn [New York, New York] every Monday night to read works in progress, you know. John Henrik Clarke was part of it. At the time, he was running an elevator at Macy's, believe it or not. From some time [HistoryMaker] Maya [Angelou] was part of it; and Rosa Guy was part of it; Sarah Wright was part of it. And it was through my activity, my involvement with the Harlem Writers Guild that I met members of the Congolese delegation to the United Nations [UN]. They were in the Unite, out of the Congo for the first time, didn't speak English. Rosa Guy, as part of the Harlem Writers Guild, was fluent in French, and so we became their family. And then when [Patrice] Lumumba was assassinated and so forth, members of the Harlem Writers Guild, were, became the cutting edge for organizing, along with the, the nationalists of 125th Street, around Michelle's Book Store [ph.] and all that, because the leading edge in developing picket lines and so forth at the United Nations and then later, that big to-do at the United Nations where we went in and tore the place up, essentially. So I think it's from that--now, all the time now I'm really, by my own study, I probably accumulated two degrees by now in terms of my own stuff.$So a friend of, who I'd come to know named Walter [Augustus] Bowe called me up one day, after the first issue of the On Guard newspaper came out. And Walter Bowe you may remember from a event when the United States government accused him and two other people of threatening or planning to blow up the Statue of Liberty, and the Liberty Bell, and the Washington Monument. Well, that was Walter Bowe (laughter). He called me up and said there's a guy down on the Lower East Side [Manhattan, New York, New York]--I was living on Henry Street at the time--said Miss LeRoi Jones [Amiri Baraka] (laughter). He started this new organization called [An] Organization of Young Men--and you two need to get together, so we did. And there were a bunch of people who were, some of whose names you would know now who were part of the, they were all really Lower East Side people. But the names that probably would come to mind would be [HistoryMaker] A. B. Spellman and Archie Shepp, were part of this thing. So I explained to them what was happening with the On Guard stuff, which included members of the Harlem Writers Guild [HWG], and some black nationalists, and some people my age who were probably more ideological. The LeRoi Jones stuff, he had written a call to all organiza--creation of an Organization of Young Men. But they weren't clear what they were doing. They really weren't, we just, they knew they had to do something, but they didn't know what. The upshort of that was that Organization of Young Men and On Guard Committee for Freedom became one organization. And because I was following this Marxist formula, there was a central committee. And LeRoi became the director of the central committee, and I was the head of the, the whole thing. Into that mix came a lot of different kind of people. Harold Cruse was one of them, came into that mix, and that made it very interesting. After a while, you know, well, I became much more involved with Monroe defense committee [Committee to Aid the Monroe Defendants] than On Guard Committee. But that was another ideological thing between existing parties on the left, you know, principally Workers World [Party] and the other Social[ist] Workers Party and the Communist Party. Communist Party didn't want anything to do with Robert [F.] Williams because they had hitched themselves to the NAACP [National Association for the Advancement of Colored People], into the integrationist mode. The Workers World was absolutely revolutionary, and Socialist Workers Party was somewhere in the middle.