Monday, September 7, 2015

Searching for Sarah Webster Fabio in Negro Digest and Black World

Sarah Webster Fabio was among the many contributors to the "survey" in the Jan. 1968 issue of Negro Digest.
The other day on Facebook, scholar Tony Bolden was asking about scholar-poet Sarah Webster Fabio. Of course, that's a sure way to get the attention of the young scholar Micky New, who's been mentioning Fabio in writings, at conferences, and in conversations for years now. Since I'm working on this project on Negro Digest/Black World, I was curious about Fabio's presence in the magazine.

Here's a bibliography of Fabio's publications in ascending chronological order:

Fabio, Sarah Webster. "Note to Jomo Kenyatta." Negro Digest (July 1966): 38.

-----. “At Cross Purposes (for SNCC, CORE).” Negro Digest (September 1966): 76.

-----. "Who Speaks Negro?: Of Fashion and Fantasy." Negro Digest. (December 1966): 54-58.

-----. "A Mover." Negro Digest (September 1967): 42.

-----. "Who Speaks Negro? Who is Black?" Negro Digest (Sept./Oct. 1968): 33-37.

-----. Review of In the Mecca by Gwendolyn Brooks. Negro Digest (Sept./Oct 1968): 15 - 20.

-----. Review of Paper Soul by Carolyn Rodgers. Negro Digest (Sept./Oct. 1968): 51-52.

-----."For Gwendolyn Brooks on Her Birthday, June 1968." Negro Digest (Sept./Oct. 1968): 60-61.

----. "A Black Paper: An Essay on Literature." Negro Digest (July 1969): 26-31, 76-89. 

-----. "Going Home: Reflections on a Revisit to a Black Campus." Negro Digest (March 1969): 54-58.

-----. Review of Let's Go Somewhere by Johari Amini. Black World (Dec. 1970): 68, 98.

-----. "For Louis Armstrong, A Ju-Ju." Black World (November 1971): 38-39.

-----. "A Tribute to Duke." Black World (January 1971): 39.

-----. Review of Speak Out in Thunder Tones and Other Writings by Black Northerners. Black World (Dec. 1974): 94-95.

-----. "A Tribute to Owen's Songs." Black World (July 1975): 76-96.

-----. Review of Get Your Ass in the Water and Swim Like Me edited by Bruce Jackson. Black World (Feb. 1976): 81.
In addition to her essay and two reviews in the Sept./Oct. 1968 issue of Negro Digest, Fabio was among the many writers who contributed to editor's Hoyt Fuller's "A Survey: Black Writers' Views on Literary Lions and Values" published in the January 1968 issue. In the February 1968 issue Negro Digest, in a note listing several publications produced "by non-mainstream institutions," Fuller mentions Fabio's poem "Race Results, U.S.A., 1966" published in the Broadside Series. Fuller mentions Fabio's poem again in a similar list in the May 1968 issue.

The June 1973 issue of Black World includes a review by Bob Clemons of Fabio's album Boss Soul. At one point in the review, Clemons notes that "Fabio taught at Merritt Junior College when Bobby Seale and Huey P. Newton were getting started on a career of political salvation. She was labeled the 'Panther Teacher.'"

Speaking of "teaching," we now refer to Fabio and various others as scholar-poets, but in her bylines back then in the Negro Digest and Black World days, Fabio was often described as a "poet and teacher." Or, as in one case, the byline noted that Fabio "is active in educational circles." At some point, the terminology in the field shifted from "teacher" and "educational circles" to terms like "scholars."  By the time Fabio is a graduate student during the late 1970s, she identifies in one byline as "Poet-Critic."

Note:  Thanks to Micky New for suggestions on the bibliography.

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