Elmer A Carter to Christian

Elmer A Carter to Christian


ChickenBones: A Journal

for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes



Letters from the

Archives of Marcus Bruce Christian

From & To Friends, Colleagues, & Wife




Books by Marcus Bruce Christian

Song of the Black Valiants: Marching Tempo / High Ground: A Collection of Poems  / Negro soldiers in the Battle of New Orleans

I am New Orleans: A Poem / Negro Iron Workers of Louisiana: 1718-1900 /  The Liberty Monument

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Letter 3

Elmer A. Carter Comments on Christian’s

“McDonough Day in New Orleans”

OPPORTUNITY: Journal of Negro Life 

(Published by the National Urban League)

1133 Broadway, Room 826 

New York City 

June Twenty-fifth 1934 


My dear Mr. Christian: 

Your poem, “McDonogh Day in New Orleans,” was reprinted in the New York Herald Tribune on Sunday, June 17. I am using “Spring in the South” this month and will be glad to see another group of your poems.

Sincerely yours, 

Elmer A. Carter


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Elmer A. Carter (1890-1973), editor and a prominent Republican, was the first chairman of the New York State Commission Against discrimination (the predecessor of the State Division of Human rights) and first director of the State Human rights Division until his resignation in 1961. He then served for two years as special assistant to Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller on issues of race relations. In 1937, while editor of Opportunity, a journal published by the Urban League, Carter was appointed by Governor Herbert Lehman to the Unemployment Insurance Appeal Board. He thus began a career in public service devoted to eliminating racial bias in housing, employment, and public accommodation. Carter’s wife, the former Thelma Johnson, died just a few weeks before her husband. The Carters lived at 409 Edgecombe Avenue from the 1940s until their deaths

OPPORTUNITY — Journal of Negro Life, the official organ of the National Urban League, completing in December thirteen brilliant years under the able editorship of distinctive contribution to the literature dealing with the problems of interracial contacts in America. Dispassionate, factual data and illuminating articles from the pens of some of America’s most distinguished students and writers graced the columns of the magazine — establishing it in the minds of discriminating readers as one of the indispensable sources of light on “America’s most baffling problem.” Opportunity Journal, thanks to its perceptive, broad-minded editors, first, Charles S. Johnson, and then Elmer A. Carter, was a leading venue for the work of African-American artists.

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Opportunity magazine was published from 1923 to 1949 by the National Urban League (at first as a monthly, later as a quarterly). . . .Charles S. Johnson served as its first editor for five and a half years; Elmer A. Carter took over in 1928. The magazine published both sociological reporting on conditions of African American life and poetry and literature written by young black writers. . . . After Johnson left the magazine for Fisk University in 1928, the magazine continued to stress socio-economic analysis of northern, urban African Americans. Though he never stopped publishing stories and poems, Elmer A. Carter, Johnson’s successor, “directed his attention to the sociological and economic aspects of the Negro’s relation to American life,” as one early historian of the publication put it. The magazine focused on working conditions of African Americans during the Great Depression–and their precarious relationship with America’s labor unions. Then it focused on the Fair Employment Practice Committee during the 1940s and the general fight for racial equality which occurred during and immediately after World War II.

Opportunity magazine accomplished a great deal for a publication with a small circulation. In every possible way, it promoted the work of black writers and documented the lives of a growing number of African Americans in northern cities. “Opportunity.” St. James Encyclopedia of Pop Culture, Jan 29, 2002.  Find Articles

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Selected Letters  Selected Diary Notes

Memories of Marcus B. Christian (CainsChristian’s BioBibliographical Record    Introduction to I AM NEW ORLEANS 

A Theory of a Black Aesthetic   Magpies, Goddesses, & Black Male Identity

Activist Works on Next Level of Change   Intro to I Am New Orleans   Letter from Dillard University

A Labor of Genuine Love  Letter of Gift of Photos   Letters from LSU and Skip Gates

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Negro Iron Workers of Louisiana: 1718-1900

By Marcus Bruce Christian


Study of the blacksmith tradition and New Orleans famous lace balconies and fences.

Acclaimed during his life as the unofficial poet laureate of the New Orleans African-American community, Marcus Christian recorded a distinguished career as historian, journalist, and literary scholar. He was a contributor to Pelican’s Gumbo Ya Ya, and also wrote many articles that appeared in numerous newspapers, journals, and general-interest publications.

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Audio: My Story, My Song (Featuring blues guitarist Walter Wolfman Washington)

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Bob Dylan: Only a pawn in their game / The Lonesome Death Of Hattie Carroll

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Panel on Literary Criticism

26 March 2010

 National Black Writers Conference

Patrick Oliver, Kalamu ya Salaam, Dorothea Smartt, Frank Wilderson discuss the use of literature to promote political causes and instigate change and transformation.  The event is at the Medgar Evers College at the City University of New York. C-Span Archives

Panel on Politics and Satire

26 March 2010

 National Black Writers Conference

Herb Boyd, Thomas Bradshaw, Charles Edison and Major Owens discuss how current events are reflected in the writings of African Americans.  The event is at the Medgar Evers College at the City University of New York. C-Span Archives

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posted 17 April 2010



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