Cullman Center Institute for Teachers: Black Bohemia: Poetry, Painting and Jazz on the Lower East Side, 1955-1965

Event Details


ADAM SHATZ, Instructor

From the late 1950s through the mid-1960s, New York below 14th Street was home to a thriving -- and increasingly politicized -- black bohemian scene. Black writers, painters, and jazz musicians moved downtown in search of cheaper rents and a more tolerant racial atmosphere, and were soon mixing with their white counterparts in bookshops, taverns, and jazz clubs. By 1965, the scene had imploded, with the assassination of Malcolm X and the rise of black nationalism. This course will chart the rise and fall of this passionate but volatile experiment in interracial collaboration, with a focus on the life and work of the poet, critic, and playwright LeRoi Jones/Amiri Baraka. Readings will include memoirs of the period, plays, poetry, and criticism; we will also listen to music by jazz musicians who participated in the scene.

Adam Shatz is a senior editor at the London Review of Books and a former literary editor of The Nation magazine. He has worked at The New York Times Book Review, Lingua Franca, and The New Yorker, and has published numerous articles on politics, music, and culture in The Nation, The New York Review of Books, the Village Voice, American Prospect, and The New York Times.
The deadline to apply to this year's seminars has passed. Please check back in the fall for our spring 2013 seminars. 
  • Audience: Teachers, K-12 Educators