Google+

F.B. Eyes

 

F.B. Eyes

How J. Edgar Hoover’s Ghostreaders Framed African American Literature

by William J. Maxwell

Princeton University Press

Hardcover, $29.95

384 pages, Illustrated

ISBN: 978-0-691-13020-0

Book Review by Kam Williams

 

“Drawing on nearly 14,000 pages of newly released FBI files, F.B. Eyes exposes the Bureau’s intimate policing of African American poems, plays, essays, and novels. Starting in 1919… secret FBI ghostreaders monitored the latest developments in African American letters…

51l+EelZglLThese ghostreaders knew enough to simulate a sinister black literature of their own. The official aim… was to anticipate political unrest. Yet, FBI surveillance came to influence the creation and public reception of African American literature in the heart of the 20th Century…

Illuminating both the serious harms of state surveillance and the ways in which imaginative writing can withstand and exploit it, F.B. Eyes is a groundbreaking account of a long-hidden dimension of African American literature.”

— Excerpted from the Bookjacket

 

Allen Ginsberg’s epic poem “Howl” begins, “I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked, dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn…” I couldn’t help but recall that iconic line while reading F.B. Eyes, a damning expose’ by William J. Maxwell illustrating the FBI’s long history of monitoring, policing and infiltrating the ranks of African-American writers.

 

For decades, from the Harlem Renaissance of the Twenties clear through to the Black Arts Movement of the Seventies, J. Edgar Hoover not only closely monitored the movements and work of black authors but employed agents to create and promote content as a counterintelligence measure.

 

These revelations are rather disturbing to me, as a Black Literature major-turned-aspiring novelist who failed to get either of my books published after getting a masters degree from an Ivy League institution. It never occurred to me way back then that the reason for all the rejections from publishers might have had more to do with interference on the part of government spies than the quality of the work itself.

However, the degree of FBI interference chronicled here is nothing short of shocking, between the abuses of power and infringements of Constitutional rights. This meticulously-researched opus reveals the Bureau to be a diabolical outfit dedicated to the destruction of the African-American intelligentsia by any means necessary.

For example, we learn that after Amiri Baraka founded the Black Arts Repertory Theater (BART) in Harlem in 1965, Hoover planted moles in the group to ensure the organization’s early demise. He even had the temerity to allow a white Assistant Director, William Sullivan, pose as black while ghostwriting everything from best-sellers to letters threatening the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

A daunting discussion of the FBI’s chilling effect on the writing careers and private lives of members of the black literati.

 

To order a copy of F.B. Eyes, visit:  http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0691130205/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

 

Entertainment

For movies opening December 9, 2016

  OPENING THIS WEEK Kam's Kapsules Weekly Previews That Make Choosing a Film Fun by Kam Williams For movies opening December 9, 2016 BIG BUDGET FILMS The Bounce Back (PG-13 for profanity, sexuality and brief drug use) Romantic comedy about a charismatic relationship guru (Shemar Moore) who falls in love with a skeptical fellow therapist (Nadine Velazquez) he meets while on a book tour promoting his new best seller. Supporting cast includes Bill Bellamy, Kali … [Read More its Good for You...]

Books

Volume 2 of Yes Sir, Yes Sir, 3 Bags Full! – You Do NOT Want to Miss This

  Volume 2 of Yes Sir, Yes Sir, 3 Bags Full! – You Do NOT Want to Miss This Book Review by Amy Lignor What began in an unforgettable Volume 1—living Jerry Hall’s story and dealing with the heart-wrenching issues of the Viet Nam* War—continues here. The action of battle, fraught with the unending horrors that the “unwanted veterans” dealt with, grows even more painful. And as war comes closer to an end, what should have been peaceful thoughts of returning home alive … [Read More its Good for You...]

Art

The Day After the Day Of

  The Day After the Day Of by Paul Ilechko   The sky sheds its tears. This morning is the morning of the day after. The day of mourning, the day after the day of. I beseech the sky to shed tears in order to wash away the tears on my face.   This is the first day of the time after. This is the beginning of a new time, the days of pain, the days of sorrow. We are in mourning. The sky looks down and sheds its tears for us. … [Read More its Good for You...]

Real Estate

Castles in America

  Castles in America by Amy Lignor   Robin Leach and his “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” taught us all long ago that we absolutely love to sit and view ridiculous luxury (usually owned by people who inherited all of it and didn’t work a day in their lives). See that? We had to complain about something as we were beguiled by the amount of money people would send to own or create the “best of the best.” Even though some things were referred to as the “gaudiest of … [Read More its Good for You...]

Lifestyle

Paging Norman Rockwell

  Paging Norman Rockwell by Amy Lignor   For those who may not have had the pleasure before – and all you true Christmas “classic” lovers who have always wanted to see it – Stockbridge, Massachusetts, is the most brilliant and beautiful place during the holiday season. Made famous by the original Norman Rockwell, whose museum is part of the line of historic buildings making up that classic Main Street, Stockbridge is dressed up as if it were the 1800’s, when … [Read More it Good for You...]

Outdoors

Winterization Tips from Yamaha Outboards

  Winterization Tips from Yamaha Outboards By Craig Lamb Every hardcore angler wants to go fishing at the first sign of warm weather in spring. The last thing any fisherman wants is cutting a trip short because of mechanical problems with an outboard engine.   The best way to avoid problems, and enjoy trouble-free time on the water, is by preparing ahead of time. That begins now. Preparing for extended storage efficiently and effectively means you’ll have a worry- and … [Read More its Good for You...]

Sports

The Best & Worst (So Far) of the 2016 NFL Season

  The Best & Worst (So Far) of the 2016 NFL Season by Amy Lignor     Okay…we’re almost dead center, folks, so it’s time to sum up the best and silliest actions and reactions that the 2016 NFL season has provided fans thus far.   Analysts are always yapping, and most likely nothing they say will actually come true. However, right now almost everyone is agreeing to the fact that Tom Brady has a score to settle. Yes, he’s smiling for the cameras … [Read More its Good for You...]

Business

We Are Still…All in This Together!

  We Are Still…All in This Together! by Amy Lignor   December 7, 1941. Sunday morning was lovely on the Hawaiian island of Oahu. A typical Sunday, in fact, where people were moving calmly and in a relaxed “weekend-mode” stance at the U.S. Navy’s Pacific Fleet Headquarters. Just before the clocks struck 8:00 a.m., however, the country of Japan launched planes from six aircraft carriers in what would be considered the “first wave” of Operation Hawaii. An operation … [Read More its Good for You...]

Travel

Exploring the Holidays Around the Globe

  Exploring the Holidays Around the Globe by Amy Lignor   Thanksgiving has been had. Games have been watched and the golden turkey has caused a great many belts to be loosened. So…here it comes!   From hanging the stockings on the chimney with care to the red-nosed reindeer who had to be there; from Santa heading down that chimney just right to lovely sleigh bells ringing softly in the night, the holiday season is a truly wonderful thing for all ages. And, no, … [Read More its Good for You...]

Google+