Why is this image so important to Black History?
Black History is more than Harriet, Frederick, and Martin who are heroic people who should be honored and hoisted. However, lesser-acknowledged names such as Sutton, George, Pauline, Leslie, Martin (D), Thomas, and Charles should be considered. (Today, Octavia is well known.)
The men and women depicted in this image are some (not all!) of the "Architects" of AFROFuturism. They are the creators of speculative fiction that present positive portraits of people of color who pushed beyond their circumstances to imagine a brighter future.
We are diverse people with diverse genius. AFROFuturism is a significant aspect of that genius.
We must explore and immerse ourselves amongst these pioneers of thought and inspiration, not just during Black History Month but for the entire year. Get started now!
Sutton E Griggs
Sutton Elbert Griggs (June 19, 1872 – January 2, 1933) was an author, Baptist minister, and social activist. He is best known for his novel Imperium in Imperio, a utopian work that envisions a separate African-American state within the United States.
George S Schuyler
George Samuel Schuyler born in 1895 was a controversial writer and socialist. He rubbed a lot of people the wrong way. In his book "Black Empire" he wove a fantastic tale of ray guns, futurist airships, biological warfare, and Africa conquering Europe.
Pauline Elizabeth Hopkins born in 1859 was an American novelist, journalist, playwright, historian, and editor. Her novel follows the adventures of Reuel, a mixed-race American, as he travels to Ethiopia from America searching for treasure. The book explores issues of love, identity, trauma, and spirituality through the perspective of the African-American community.
Leslie Esdaile Banks (1959 to 2011) is a recent AFROFuturtist. LA Banks is credited with creating the first African-American vampire huntress. She wrote a series of books that put color into a genre that traditionally neglected anyone, not of European descent. L.A. faced many challenges in the publishing industry and with readers. She was prolific until her last days on Earth.
Martin Robison Delany (May 6, 1812 – January 24, 1885) was an abolitionist, journalist, physician, soldier, writer, and arguably the first proponent of black nationalism in America. Blake: or, the huts of America, a novel. In one of the subtexts of Blake is to show the difference between the realities of Slavery and the picture Stowe painted in Uncle Tom. Indeed, Daleny's hero Henry Blake is placed in the exact same place time and position as Uncle Tom, but instead of heroically suffering and dying and inspiring while refusing to physically resist slavery, Henry Blake runs away from slavery to organize an international revolution against slavery
Thomas Mofolo was born in Khojane, Lesotho, on 22 December 1876. Mofolo composed Chaka (1925), a fictionalized account of the Zulu conqueror who built a mighty empire during the first quarter of the 19th century. Under Mofolo's pen, the eventful career of Chaka (Shaka) becomes the epic tragedy of a heroic figure whose overweening ambition drives him to insane cruelty and ultimate ruin.
Charles W Chesnutt's most notable book is The Conjure Woman (1899), a fantastic collection of stories set in postbellum North Carolina. The lead character Uncle Julius, a formerly enslaved man, entertains a white couple from the North, who have moved to the farm, with fantastical tales of antebellum plantation life. Julius' tales feature such supernatural elements as haunting, transfiguration, and conjuring, which were typical of Southern African-American folk tales.