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The Black Cultural FrontBlack Writers and Artists of the Depression Generation$
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Brian Dolinar

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9781617032691

Published to University Press of Mississippi: March 2014

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781617032691.001.0001

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A Writer of Revolutionary Potential

A Writer of Revolutionary Potential

Chester Himes and Black Noir

(p.125) Chapter 3 A Writer of Revolutionary Potential
The Black Cultural Front

Brian Dolinar

University Press of Mississippi

This chapter looks at Chester Himes, who started publishing short stories while in prison. After his release in 1936, however, it became apparent that short story writing was not enough to make a living. He eventually landed a job with the Federal Writers’ Project. Here he encountered activists trying to unionize federal workers, many of them members of the Communist Party. Soon, federal funding was cut and Himes was again unemployed. He managed to get his foot in the door at Warner Brothers, but was promptly fired by Jack Warner. Rejected from Hollywood, Himes returned to the industrial workforce. According to Himes, the CIO sent him to challenge discrimination in the workplace, but after Pearl Harbor the unions threw their weight behind winning the war and abandoned their antiracist campaign.

Keywords:   federal workers, Chester Himes, Federal Writers’ Project, Communist Party, Jack Warner, Warner Brothers

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