ChickenBones: A Journal

for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes



 Neal wrote two important essays that attempted

to define the Black Arts Movement


Books by Larry Neal


Black Fire  / Hoodoo Hollerin Bebop Ghosts / Visions of a Liberated Future


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Larry Neal Chronology

(3 September 1937 — 6 January 1981) 


1937 — Lawrence P. Neal was born in Atlanta, Georgia, to Woodie and Maggie Neal. The family moved to Philadelphia that Larry and his four brothers grew up

1956 — Graduated from Roman Catholic High School with an academic degree.

1961 — Graduated from Lincoln University, a predominantly black school in Pennsylvania that, at the the time of enrollment was all male.

1963 —  Received an M.A. from the University of Pennsylvania.

1963 –1976 — Taught at six universities, including City College of New York (1968-1969) and Yale University (1970-1975); writer in residence at Wesleyan University (1969-1970)

1964 — Married Evelyn Rodgers of Fairfield, Alabama.

1964 — Worked as copywriter for John Wiley and Sons. Wrote for Liberator magazine, a publication for which he became arts editor. During Liberator period (1964-1966), Neal wrote journalistic accounts of cultural events and conducted interviews with writers, artists, and musicians. A principal mover with LeRoi Jones in a group that created the Black Arts Repertory Theatre.

1964 –1970 — Made five television appearances, usually as a moderator on Soul, Like It Is, Time for America,; guests included Harry belafonte, Lena Horne, Clayton Riley, and Nikki Giovanni.

1964 — “The Negro in the Theatre,” Drama Critque, 7 (Spring 1964).

1965 — “Cultural front,” Liberator, 5 (June 1965): 26.

1965 — Shot by someone who disliked his politics upon leaving the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture.

1966 and 1967 — Published a number of essays in Negro Digest that explored the centrality of black music and black musicians to a black aesthetic. Neal possessed some talent as a pianist and flutist.

1966 — “Lenox Avenue Sunday,” Television, Repertory Workshop.

1966 — “The Black Writer’s Role — James Baldwin,” Liberator, 6 (April 1966): 10.

1968 — Neal and Baraka edited Black Fire: An Anthology of Afro-American Writing; Neal wrote two important essays that attempted to define the Black Arts Movement. Just as Alain Locke’s New Negro captured the spirit of the Harlem Renaissance, Black Fire captured the spirit of the Black Arts Movement. Contains works by Harold Cruse, Stokely Carmichael, Sonia Sanchez, and Ed Bullins; William Mahoney, Lindsey Barrett, Marvin Jackmon (Marvin X), and Charles Fuller.

1968 — “Black Writer’s Views on Literary Lions and Values,” Negro Digest, 17 (January 1968): 35.

1968 — “Cultural Nationalism and Black Theatre,” Black Theatre, no. 1 (1968): 8-10.

1968 — “The Black Arts Movement,” Drama Review, 12 (Summer 1968): 29-39.

1968 — Guest Editor, The Journal of Black Poetry (Summer, 1968)

1969Black Boogaloo: Notes on Black Liberation (first book of poetry) published by Journal of Black Poetry Press. Trippin: A Need for Change by Neal, Amiri Baraka, and A.B. Spellman (Newark: New Ark).

1969 — “Any Day Now: Black Art and Black Liberation,” Ebony, 24 (August 1969): 54-58, 62.

1969 — “Toward a Relevant Black Theatre,” Black Theatre, no. 4 (1969): 14-15.

1970 — “Politics as Ritual: Ellison’s Zoo Suit,” Black World, 20 (December 1970): 31-52.

1970 — “Free Southern Theatre, the Conquest of the South,” Drama Review, 14 (1970): 169-174

1971 —  Evelyn and Larry adopted son Avatar. Hoodoo Hollerin Bebop Ghosts (second volume of poetry).

1971Holler S.O.S., Screenplay, Johns Hopkins University, 1971.

1972 — “Into Nationalism Out of Parochialism,” Performance, no. 2 (April 1972): 32-40.

1972 — “The Ethos of the Blues,” Black Scholar, 3 (Summer 1972); 42-48.

1972 — Uncle Rufus Raps on the Squared Circle,” Partisan Review, 39 (1972): 44-62.

1973Moving On Up, Screenplay, A. Philip Randolph Institute, 1973

1976The Glorious Monster in the Bell of the Horn, New York, Frank Silvera’s Writers Workshop.

1976 — “The Black Contribution to American Letters: Part II, The Writer as Activist — 1960 and After.” in The Black American Reference Book, by Mabel M. Smythe (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.) Prentice-Hall, 1976), pp. 767-790.

1976-1979 — Worked as executive director of the Commission on the Arts and Humanities in Washington, D.C.

Source: Dictionary f Literary Biography. Afro-American Writers After 1955: Dramatists and Prose Writers (Volume 38)

posted 5 November 2006

Finding Aid for Larry Neal papers, 1961-1985

*   *   *   *   *’s 25 Best Selling Books



#1 – Justify My Thug by Wahida Clark #2 – Flyy Girl by Omar Tyree #3 – Head Bangers: An APF Sexcapade by Zane #4 – Life Is Short But Wide by J. California Cooper #5 – Stackin’ Paper 2 Genesis’ Payback by Joy King #6 – Thug Lovin’ (Thug 4) by Wahida Clark #7 – When I Get Where I’m Going by Cheryl Robinson #8 – Casting the First Stone by Kimberla Lawson Roby #9 – The Sex Chronicles: Shattering the Myth by Zane

#10 – Covenant: A Thriller  by Brandon Massey

#11 – Diary Of A Street Diva  by Ashley and JaQuavis

#12 – Don’t Ever Tell  by Brandon Massey

#13 – For colored girls who have considered suicide  by Ntozake Shange

#14 – For the Love of Money : A Novel by Omar Tyree

#15 – Homemade Loves  by J. California Cooper

#16 – The Future Has a Past: Stories by J. California Cooper

#17 – Player Haters by Carl Weber

#18 – Purple Panties: An Anthology by Sidney Molare

#19 – Stackin’ Paper by Joy King

#20 – Children of the Street: An Inspector Darko Dawson Mystery by Kwei Quartey

#21 – The Upper Room by Mary Monroe

#22 – Thug Matrimony  by Wahida Clark

#23 – Thugs And The Women Who Love Them by Wahida Clark

#24 – Married Men by Carl Weber

#25 – I Dreamt I Was in Heaven – The Rampage of the Rufus Buck Gang by Leonce Gaiter


#1 – Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention by Manning Marable #2 – Confessions of a Video Vixen by Karrine Steffans #3 – Dear G-Spot: Straight Talk About Sex and Love by Zane #4 – Letters to a Young Brother: MANifest Your Destiny by Hill Harper #5 – Peace from Broken Pieces: How to Get Through What You’re Going Through by Iyanla Vanzant #6 – Selected Writings and Speeches of Marcus Garvey by Marcus Garvey #7 – The Ebony Cookbook: A Date with a Dish by Freda DeKnight #8 – The Isis Papers: The Keys to the Colors by Frances Cress Welsing #9 – The Mis-Education of the Negro by Carter Godwin Woodson

#10 – John Henrik Clarke and the Power of Africana History  by Ahati N. N. Toure

#11 – Fail Up: 20 Lessons on Building Success from Failure by Tavis Smiley

#12 –The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander

#13 – The Black Male Handbook: A Blueprint for Life by Kevin Powell

#14 – The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates by Wes Moore

#15 – Why Men Fear Marriage: The Surprising Truth Behind Why So Many Men Can’t Commit  by RM Johnson

#16 – Black Titan: A.G. Gaston and the Making of a Black American Millionaire by Carol Jenkins

#17 – Brainwashed: Challenging the Myth of Black Inferiority by Tom Burrell

#18 – A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose by Eckhart Tolle

#19 – John Oliver Killens: A Life of Black Literary Activism by Keith Gilyard

#20 – Alain L. Locke: The Biography of a Philosopher by Leonard Harris

#21 – Age Ain’t Nothing but a Number: Black Women Explore Midlife by Carleen Brice

#22 – 2012 Guide to Literary Agents by Chuck Sambuchino #23 – Chicken Soup for the Prisoner’s Soul by Tom Lagana #24 – 101 Things Every Boy/Young Man of Color Should Know by LaMarr Darnell Shields

#25 – Beyond the Black Lady: Sexuality and the New African American Middle Class  by Lisa B. Thompson

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The Black Arts MovementLiterary Nationalism in the 1960s and 1970s

By James Edward Smethurst 

Emerging from a matrix of Old Left, black nationalist, and bohemian ideologies and institutions, African American artists and intellectuals in the 1960s coalesced to form the Black Arts Movement, the cultural wing of the Black Power Movement. In this comprehensive analysis, James Smethurst examines the formation of the Black Arts Movement and demonstrates how it deeply influenced the production and reception of literature and art in the United States through its negotiations of the ideological climate of the Cold War, decolonization, and the civil rights movement.

Taking a regional approach, Smethurst examines local expressions of the nascent Black Arts Movement, a movement distinctive in its geographical reach and diversity, while always keeping the frame of the larger movement in view. The Black Arts Movement, he argues, fundamentally changed American attitudes about the relationship between popular culture and “high” art and dramatically transformed the landscape of public funding for the arts.—Publisher, University of North Carolina Press

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Visions of a Liberated Future

Black Arts Movement Writings

By Larry Neal

“What we have been trying to arrive at is some kind of synthesis of the writer’s function as an oppressed individual and a creative artist,” states Neal (1937-1981), a writer, editor, educator and activist prominent in the Black Arts movement of the 1960s and ’70s. Articulate, highly charged essays about the black experience examine the views of his predecessors–musicians and political theorists as well as writers–continually weighing artistic achievement against political efficacy. While the essays do not exclude any readers, Neal’s drama, poetry and fiction are more limited in their form of address, more explicitly directed to the oppressed. The poems are particularly intense in their protest: “How many of them / . . . have been made to /prostitute their blood / to the merchants of war.” Rhythmic and adopting the repetitive structure of music, they capture the “blues in our mothers’ voices / which warned us / blues people bursting out.” Commentaries by Neal’s peers, Amiri Baraka, Stanley Crouch, Charles Fuller and Jayne Cortez, introduce the various sections.—Publishers Weekly

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The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

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Ancient African Nations

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Negro Digest / Black World

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The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan  The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll  Only a Pawn in Their Game

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for Slavery /

George Jackson  / Hurricane Carter

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The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

The Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804  / January 1, 1804 — The Founding of Haiti 

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update 5 July 2012




Home  Askia M. Toure Table  Amiri Baraka Table  Black Arts and Black Power Figures

Related Files:  Neal Interview in Omowe   Larry Neal Chronology  The Black Arts Movement  (Larry Neal)  “Don’t Say Goodbye to the Pork Pie Hat  Larry Neal Bio 

Sonnets for Larry Neal    Larry Neal Speaks  Black Fire: An Anthology of Afro-American Writing