Writer Lynn Brown is not going to celebrate her completion of grad school by backpacking through Europe, but she is going and she is going to write about her experiences.
Brown’s purpose for the sojourn is also likely to produce a work of art that will add to the experience of being young and finding your way in this world.
Brown is going to Paris to study the movement of black writers who found sanctuary from American racism and the freedom to pursue their craft. Brown wants to follow in the footsteps of the many lesser known black artists in Paris while pursuing the work of James Baldwin, a black artist and gay man who sought freedom to be fully both in Paris. Baldwin is at the centerpiece of Brown’s pursuit, called “Footsteps of Baldwin Anthology Project.”
Brown writes, “In the 1940s and ‘50s there was an exodus of African American writers, artists and thinkers, whose intention was to escape the constraints of a pre-Civil Rights America. Many of them ended up in Paris, where they were able to finally be just themselves. Many of these artists received extensive support and recognition for their work, so much so that we now consider them to be seminal to the African American experience.
“There is still a strong expatriate African American presence in Paris to this day. My goal with this project is to meet with artists from this community and talk with them about their reasons for deciding to spend their lives abroad. Are these artists there to follow in the footsteps of their creative forefathers, or are they escaping similar cultural constraints and oppression?
Brown is well-traveled, well-educated and well-prepared for this pursuit. She has the perspective of minorities in New York, New Orleans, San Francisco among others. She worked in the Larsen-Pomada Literary Agency and written several of her own published works.
She can use the help of the artist community. She can use the help of the black community. She can use the help of those who simply embrace the long-standing value of patronage. If members of all those communities chip in a few bucks here and a few bucks there, her project will be funded so that it effectively reaches a widespread audience.
Please consider chipping in by clicking here.