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Black Images, Inc. Toronto, Canada 1972-1975

Black Images

Black Images

Founded in 1972 by elusive, visionary editor, Jamaican-born Rudolph “Rudy” Murray – and his literary alter ego, M. Lacovia. Murray, Black Images: A Critical Quarterly of Black Arts and Culture was seminal in the development of Black Canadian culture. While early issues combined coverage of Toronto’s Black arts scene with reactionary polemics and theoretical expositions on pan-African culture, the launch of the second volume in 1973 heralded a break with racial nationalism and an attempt to chart an often more scholarly and more diverse, pluralistic, and complex set of aesthetic and formal lineages of black literature. This shift was reflected in the publication’s design which moved from conceptually bold experimentations towards more a standard and readable digest format.

Through these changes at Black Images, Rudy Murray remained a constant, though perhaps paradoxically, anomalous, figure. For reasons unknown, Murray adopted the pen name R.M. Lacovia and in the brief period of Black Images existence, writing as Lacovia, produced a body of writing that is astonishing in its breadth and original in its approach, yet remains practically unknown today. Murray contributed to almost every issue of Black Images until its closure in 1975, at which time he apparently stopped writing altogether.

Despite its short life span and continued obscurity, Black Images remains the most audacious and smart Black journal to have emerged from the white north.


“The early issues of Black Images paired coverage of Toronto’s Black arts scene with more theoretical expositions on pan-African culture. Profiles of Black Canadian artists like playwright Lennox Brown and musician Richard Acquaah-Harris appeared next to essays on the African roots of New World Black music and critiques of Cheikh Anta Diop. “

BLACK IMAGES – AN ESSAY BY PETER JAMES HUDSON


traduction française par Scarlett Antoniou

Fondé en 1972 par le rédacteur fuyant, visionnaire, né en Jamaïque Rudolph “Rudy” Murray- et son pseudonyme littéraire, M. Lacivia. Murray, Black Images: Une Publication Trimestrielle Critique de la Culture et des Arts Noires a été fructueux dans le développement de la culture canadienne Noire. Alors que les premiéres éditions alliaient reportages de la scéne des arts Noirs de Toronto avec des polémiques réactionnaires et des interprétations théoriques sur la culture africaine, le lancement de son deuxième volume en 1973 annonçait une coupure avec le nationalisme racial et une tentative de mettre sur la carte un ensemble d’esthétique souvent plus érudit et plus différent, pluraliste et complexe ainsi que les lignées formelles de la littérature noire. Ce basculement se reflétait dans la conception de la publication qui allait des expérimentations hardies conceptuellement vers un format sommaire plus standard et lisible.

A travers ces changements dans Black Images, Rudy Murray un personnage constant, bien que paradoxalement, anormal. Pour des raisons inconnues, Murray a adopté le pseudonyme R.M. Lacovia et, pendant la brève période de l’existence de Black Images, écrivant sous le nom de Lacovia, il produisit un ensemble d’écrits qui est incroyable dans son ampleur et original dans son approche, et pourtant demeure pratiquement inconnu aujourd’hui. Murray a contribué à presque chaque édition de Black Images jusqu’à sa fermeture en 1975, époque é laquelle il arrêta apparemment d’écrire complètement.

En dépit de sa courte durée d’existence et son obscurité continue, Black Images demeure le journal Noir le plus audacieux et select à être sorti du nord blanc.


PEOPLE

Rudolph Murray, R.M. Lacovia, Lennox Brown (1934-2003), Jojo Chintoh, Loften Mitchell (1919-2001), Keith Jeffers, Russell Keith, Frederick Ivor Case (1940-2008), Robert A. Hill, J. Michael Dash, Vere W. Knight, Merle Hodge, Ramabai Espinet, James G. Spady, Samuel O. Asein, Femi Ojo-Ade, Ihechukwu Madubuike, Cliff Lashley, Alberto O. Cappas, Abdulazis Sachedina, Abdias do Nascimento, Lazarus Ekwueme, Roger McTair, Lyndon Harries, Keith Q. Warner, E. Anthony Hurley


FAMILY TREE

  • The Dawn of Tomorrow
  • The Canadian Negro
  • Cotopaxi
  • Transition
  • Spear
  • Contrast
  • The Harriet Tubman Review
  • Kola
  • At the Crossroads
  • Small Axe
  • New Dawn: A Journal of Black Canadian Studies

RE/SOURCES

  • George Elliot Clarke, “A Primer of African-Canadian Literature,” Books In Canada. 25.2 (March, 1996): 5-7
  • Robin W. Winks, “Source of Strength?: The Press,” The Blacks in Canada: A History, 2nd Edition (Montreal: McGill Queen’s University Press, 1997), 390-412

CREDITS

Research and writing by Peter James Hudson

Black Images – An Essay by Peter James Hudson

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