Nov 11th 2018

Despite their divergent aesthetics and politics, novelists Richard Wright and Ralph Ellison found common ground through photography. Viewing the medium as a means of putting a spotlight on the few institutions dedicated to reducing systemic inequality for African Americans, their spirit of collaboration is particularly evident in their work with photographers—including a young Gordon Parks—around the Lafargue Clinic, the first desegregated psychiatric facility in New York City. University of Pennsylvania English Professor and Hutchins Fellow Jean-Christophe Cloutier unearths this history told through a photographic archive of rare and unpublished images preserved in collections held in the Library of Congress and the Gordon Parks Foundation.

This program is presented in partnership with the Wolf Humanities Center at the University of Pennsylvania.

Jean-Christophe Cloutier is an assistant professor of English at the University of Pennsylvania, and was a Sheila Biddle Ford Fellow at Harvard University’s Hutchins Center for African & African American Research (formerly the W.E.B. Du Bois Research Institute). He is the coeditor of Claude McKay’s long-lost novel Amiable with Big Teeth and editor and translator of Jack Kerouac’s original French manuscripts. In 2016, he was a contributor and consultant for the Art Institute of Chicago exhibition “Invisible Man: Gordon Parks and Ralph Ellison in Harlem”.

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