NAME: Julia B. (also goes by Ju)
ROLE: Chief Fanalyst for POC Zine Project’s Legacy Series
REGION: East Coast (Brooklyn), USA
COMMUNITY: Ju has been a POCZP member since the beginning. You’ll be seeing more of their contributions manifest on this Tumblr and in other digital and physical spaces very soon …. <3
IN JU’S OWN WORDS
Hi there. I’m Julia B., or Ju (if we’re being informal, which suits me fine), and I’m the first Official (and Chief) Fanalyst to participate in the POC Zine Project’s Legacy Series!
I’m very excited to be part of this series, and I’m looking forward to sharing more about the first Legacy Series selection: Fire!!: A Quarterly Devoted to the Younger Negro Artists, published in 1926. I should probably begin by explaining what my role will be.
fan: As in, amateur. I’m not a professional historian, just an enthusiastic history lover with library access. Whether it’s sci-fi fans swapping self-written stories through the mail, or specialized distros offering up all manner of self-published work at concerts, zine readings and the like, zine culture has consistently been defined by its place outside of the traditional publishing world. Keeping that in mind, the folks writing this series are taking part because we genuinely love the works we’re talking about, and want to share those works as laypeople in an accessible way.
analyst: I’ll be doing a close read and giving background details about the magazine, page by page. Sort of like “Pop-Up Video” but in written form.
In lieu of elaborate on-location choreography, I’ll be taking you further into not only the text of Fire!!, but also the world in which it was published—from the author’s contemporaries to the neighborhood in which their office was situated, and more. Ideally, by the time you’re done checking out what I’ve got for you, you’ll have music to listen to, visual artists to check out, books you’ll want to look for. Like I said, I’m enthusiastic about history, and my goal is to make sure that you’re just as thrilled about learning more as I was doing the research.
So why exactly am I so thrilled to be working on Fire!! in particular? Well, as a literature fan, I’ve loved Zora Neale Hurston’s, Langston Hughes’, and Countee Cullen’s writing for years. For many, those names might be the most familiar in the list of contributors to Fire!!, and I’m sure a lot of you out there are already fans of their work. But what of the other contributors alluded to in the “younger negro artists” of the magazine’s title? I see this as a chance for those who are more familiar with the writers in this publication to learn more about the visual artists who contributed, and vice versa, while I take a look at the perspectives that link them all together.
I’m also excited because Fire!! was controversial in its time. The contributors were not interested in perpetuating the politics of respectability. They did not create the magazine to keep in step with the artists of generations before them. In short, they were uncomfortable because they refused to conform to more (Black middle-class) palatable sensibilities.
I mean, check out some of the stuff people were saying when this little magazine out of Harlem made its way into print:
Rean Graves of the Baltimore Afro-American [newspaper] was incensed by the magazine and wrote in his review, “I have just tossed the first issue of Fire!! into the fire.” Benjamin Brawley went so far as to say that if the U.S. Post Office found out about Thurman’s “Cordelia the Crude,” the magazine might be barred from the mail.
Pretty strong reactions to a fledgling publication! The contributors wrote about touchy subjects such as colorism among Black Americans and prostitution. They made deliberate use of Black American vernacular, in an effort to make the voices of their works ring true to the people they represented. And pissed off a bunch of uptight people in the process, even though only one issue of Fire!! was ever published. It’s easy to think of “cutting edge” in the present tense, but in exploring the magazine, we get the chance to check out what the Black American nonconformists of 1926 had to say, and what value those messages hold for us in the present day.
Anyway, enough out of me! I’m looking forward to talking with you further… hopefully we can start a cool conversation (or several) about this classic work. Stay tuned!
: Patton, Venetria K., and Maureen Honey. “The Harlem Renaissance.” Oxford African American Studies Center: Guest Scholars. Oxford University Press. Web. <http://www.oxfordaasc.com/public/featureded/guest_5.jsp>
DO YOU WANT TO BE A FANALYST FOR THE LEGACY SERIES?
The only criteria is that you have to be a person of color! Submit here and tell us a little about yourself. Please include links to some writing samples. Good luck!
White allies: There are other ways for you to support the Legacy Series. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
ABOUT THE LEGACY SERIES
Kicking off with FIRE!!, POC Zine Project will make zines by people of color created from the 1700s-1990s available to read and share.
Every Friday (Editor’s note: date pushed to February), you will find a legacy zine by a person of color on poczineproject.tumblr.com. We will share more details in 2013.
WHY WE ARE FOCUSING ON LEGACY ZINES
People of color in the U.S. have produced independent publications (zines) for decades. Many of these zines were political in nature, creating cracks in the lens of white supremacy that shaped (and continues to inform) popular culture and legislation.
These zines were new maps to our liberation, countering the negative propaganda of what people of color looked like, thought and were capable of achieving.
We want the world to know about these legacy zines, so we are going to archive and share them to the best of our ability.
We look forward to partnering with distros, academic spaces, libraries, anti-authoritarian collectives, literary journals, bloggers and more to share the Legacy Series.
“NEW” ZINESTERS: We will still share information about new and upcoming zines by people of color :) Please continue to submit your zines to the archive.
ABOUT THE RACE RIOT! TOUR
POC Zine Project held its first Race Riot! Tour in 2012, producing 20 events in 14 cities, which included speaking engagements at six universities. Click here to view photos from the POC Zine Project: 2012 Race Riot! Tour tour finale at Death By Audio in Brooklyn and access all the tour stop recaps.
We will be taking the Race Riot! Tour through 14 more cities in 2013. Stay tuned!
SUPPORT POC ZINE PROJECT
If everyone in our community gave $1, we would more than meet our fundraising goal for 2013. If you have it to spare, we appreciate your support. All funds go to our 2013 tour, the Legacy Series and the poverty zine series.
DONATE link via PayPal: http://bit.ly/SHdmyh