New York, New York: The Association of Artists for Freedom, 1964. All materials in very good
condition. Detailed inventory available upon request.
In one of the most gruesome acts of terrorism in the United States, the Ku Klux Klan
firebombed a Birmingham church in 1963, killing four young girls. This tragic event shaped the
civil rights era, and was the direct catalyst for the founding of the Association of Artists for
Freedom. An important precursor to the Black Arts Movement, the Association of Artists for
Freedom included James Baldwin, Ruby Dee, and Clarence Jones.
Perhaps the most significant event the Association organized was a town hall titled, “The Black
Revolution and the White Backlash,” which Harold Cruse described as a “radical, grandstand
assault on white liberals.” The panel featured several prominent black artists: Lorraine
Hansberry, LeRoi Jones, Paule Marshall, John Killens, Ruby Dee, Davis Susskind, Ossie
Davis, Charles E. Silberman, and James Weschler.
This collection includes a gathering of materials produced by the Association for The Black
Revolution and the White Backlash event, including a sheet for submitting audience questions to the panel and a transcript of the event. Also included is an autographed letter signed in a postmarked envelope written to the Association by Maxine McNair, mother to Denise McNair, one of the children who died in the bombing.