RADICAL LITERATURE AND VERY CORDIAL AND FRIENDLY  DISCUSSION -- WITH AND ABOUT ALAN WALD, AL MAUND, AND MUCH MORE  [HUNTER GRAY 10/23/02]

WITH A FURTHER NOTE [HUNTER BEAR 11/18/02]

AND REMEMBERING AL MAUND [HUNTER BEAR] 10/29/07

 

Note:  The preceding two pages have much material directly relevant to this discussion.

Annoucement: 

"The Tamiment Library is holding a reception for Alan Wald on October 28,
2002 at 6:30 p.m. to celebrate his new book _Exiles from a Future Time: The
Forging of the Mid-Twentieth Century Literary Left_, published by the
University of North Carolina Press. The event is co-sponsored by Against
the Current, Science and Society, the Brecht Forum, and New York
University's English Department and the American Studies Program.

Alan Wald, Director of the Program in American Culture at the University of
Michigan, will be making brief remarks on the topic "Red, Black, and
Jewish--Communist Cultural Workers and 'Identity Politics.'" Copies of the
book will be available for purchase at the event at a 20% discount, courtesy
of the NYU Bookstore. . ."
 

From Hunterbear:

I very much appreciate Bill Mandel's thoughts on Tamiment Library and
radical literature -- and those by Sam Friedman and Andy Pyle.  Although
I've never met Alan Wald, I've read a number of his things and have a high
regard for the great commitment and quality of his work. This is certainly
shared by Left literary friends of mine. I've carefully looked over his
recently out Exiles from a Future Time, which is the focus of his upcoming
Tamiment reception -- the announcement of which I was, of course, very
pleased to post on a number of lists to which I have access.

In addition to our Redbadbear and Marxist lists in which this discussion has
been perking a bit, I'm posting this on Louis' Marxism Discussion as well.

Wald was key in the 1999 reissuance of a great radical Southern novel on
race and racism:  The Big Boxcar by Al Maund.  Al, a very courageous white
Southerner, also wrote for The American Socialist in the '50s, was editor
during that time of Labor's Daily, and later worked  for the International
Chemical Workers Union.  Another novel of his, The International [McGraw
Hill, 1961], is a fascinating study [based on the ICWU] of an American labor
union from the perspective of one of its key organizers and leaders.[This
was one of the texts I used at Tougaloo College in my very popular Labor
course.]  Al was, too, the long-time editor of  the Southern Patriot,
published by the Left civil rights organization, Southern Conference
Educational Fund [for which I was later Field Organizer under Jim
Dombrowski -- an old and close friend of Al's.].  Al and I had contact by
mail in the '50s and I knew him directly later in the '60s -- and we still
have pieces of furniture which he and his wife gave us.

I do have a couple of quibbles with the good Alan Wald.

Although in the latter 'eighties, Alan Wald elicited material from me and
from other Native writers, I've seen virtually no mention of the Native
dimension in any of his works thus far.  [If he doesn't do something on
that, well I will!  I say that with a friendly smile, but a very purposeful
one. I may do something anyway.]

And I was surprised and disappointed to see virtually no mention in Exiles
of the courageous trail blazed and the course pursued by Mainstream --
ostensibly a CPUSA publication, but one led very effectively and
courageously by the late Charles Humboldt, a very ecumenical Communist
indeed!  Under his capable direction, and via the vigorous and creative
assistance of close colleagues of his such as Dr Annette Rubinstein  who was
recently at Tamiment for the opening of her extraordinarily rich collection
of papers, Mainstream published a continual flow of really excellent radical
literary stuff: fiction, poetry, essays -- and fine art.

 Charles was eventually -- Summer 1960 --  cruelly hatcheted out of his
position by a faction of Party hacks identified with the antediluvian Bill
Foster. [But not before Charles and I had some very productive mutual
interaction]  After that, Mainstream plunged downhill and quickly died. And,
tragically, so did Charles -- who was then devoting his great gifts to the
National Guardian.

Here is material on Mainstream from my website.  The full page, which also
discusses radical editors Bert Cochran [The American Socialist] and Fred
Thompson [Industrial Worker] is at http://www.hunterbear.org/destroyers.htm

From our large website:
UPDATE!  My prize winning short story -- "The Destroyers" -- has now for the
very first time appeared on the Net via this website.  It is on the page
immediately following this one which has the detailed background material
regarding its publication in Mainstream and elsewhere.  Link to the story is
http://www.hunterbear.org/the%20short%20story.htm

[The pages to which these links refer immediately precede this page on our Website.]


-----------------------------------------------

That concludes that portion of my website page from which I've just quoted.
Now, I'm off to spend a couple of hours trying to spot an impressive
mountain lion -- whose huge, fresh tracks I spotted yesterday on a very
remote trail.  He -- it's obviously an extremely large male -- had walked on
my size 15 boot tracks of the previous day.  We have a special relationship
with the Bobcat as well as the Bear -- and a mountain lion comes in as very
close kin indeed.


Fraternally -- and also Nialetch

Hunter Gray  [Hunterbear] [formerly John R Salter, Jr]
www.hunterbear.org
Protected by Na´shdo´i´ba´i´
and Ohkwari'

 

From Alan Wald [posted by Louis Proyect on Marxmail]:

----- Original Message -----
From: "Louis Proyect" <lnp3@columbia.edu>
To: <marxism@lists.panix.com>
Sent: Wednesday, October 23, 2002 2:17 PM
Subject: From Alan Wald

Thanks for forwarding this from Hunter (who wrote for Mainstream as John R.
Salter). I have a chapter-in-preparation on Native American Marxists,
including Hunter, in the 1950s, and much material on Mainstream and Charles
Humboldt--all for the second and third volumes. EXILES clearly states that
it is the first of a trilogy, focusing mainly on the 30s (although I follow
the cast of characters out to their various endings). Hunter et al will
just have to be patient, or else make the revolution IMMEDIATELY and
subsidize my writing full time (as well as put my kids through college)!

Look forward to seeing you at Tamiment. I'll just speak for just 15 minutes
& try to be funny. Maybe some old SWPers from your list, like Fred Feldman,
will show. I think some of the children of the CPers in the book will be there.

Best, Alan

 

And from Hunterbear once again:

Delighted to hear this.  Certainly wish I could get to the Tamiment
reception.  I'd even give up an evening -- or two or three -- with an Idaho
mountain lion to make that!

I'm getting my youngest offspring through college -- and assisting a
grandson as well.

Fraternally/In Solidarity   H

Hunter Gray  [Hunterbear]
www.hunterbear.org
Protected by Na´shdo´i´ba´i´
and Ohkwari'

A FURTHER NOTE [HUNTERBEAR  11/18/02]

Sent with specific reference to an interesting and congenial incipient
discussion at Marxism -- but posted by me at a couple of other places.

No one said it better than James T. Farrell when he wrote his now
well-known, "Neither man nor God is going to tell me what to write."  Aimed
at the Catholic Church and the Communist Party, it'll serve nicely as a
major trail blaze for all creative folk -- and for all Eternity.

I certainly question not only whether any first-rate fictional writer or
artist needs -- but would even want --  any kind of party-line "guidance" --
and I'd certainly include much non-fictional work as well. That "guidance"
is as inevitable a ticket to mediocrity as a Native artist painting for the
Highway 66 tourist trade -- something about which both my father and Carl
Gorman [each an excellent artist and each a free spirit] consistently warned
their children and their students.

Hunter Gray  [Hunterbear]
www.hunterbear.org
Protected by Na´shdo´i´ba´i´
and Ohkwari'

REMEMBERING AL MAUND [HUNTER BEAR]  10 / 29 /07

NOTE BY HUNTER BEAR: October 29 2007
 
Al Maund, a noted Southern novelist and civil rights and labor writer, died at a quite advanced age [83] two nights ago at a hospice/nursing home in Ohio.  The news of Al's passing was conveyed to me by a good mutual friend, Nigel Hampton -- himself a Southerner and fine writer, one-time labor journalist, and now retired English prof in Michigan.  Al was an Anglo, as is Nigel [an age peer of mine] -- and each took outspoken positions against segregation and racism in times and settings when such stands took guts.
 
And they always kept fighting.
 
Al was born at Jennings, Louisiana and attended Tulane, eventually securing an M.A.  He worked as a sports writer for the Times-Picayune [New Orleans], taught English at Tulane and Livingston College in Alabama.  His social justice activist writings began to emerge early on and appeared in such journals as the Southern Patriot [Southern Conference Educational Fund] -- which he came to edit most capably for a number years during the McCarthy period.  He wrote also for Bert Cochran's truly excellent American Socialist and one of Al's fine pieces in that journal [April 1956] on the South and Struggle, "Walking their Way to Freedom", tells the basic story of the Montgomery Bus Boycott.  [That piece can readily be found via Louis Proyect's very welcome compilation of articles drawn from Cochran's magazine:  http://www.marxists.org/history/etol/newspape/amersocialist/american_socialist.htm
 
The Big Boxcar, 1957 and reissued in 1999 with an introduction by Alan Wald -- dealing with Deep South race relations in a freight car -- is probably Al's best known novel.  He did others -- and a favorite of mine, The International, 1961, focuses on American labor at mid-century, and broadly on the International Chemical Workers Union, and the rise of an organizer to the organization's presidency.  Among all of the other things I taught at Tougaloo College during my sojourn, was a Labor course on at least two occasions.  In addition to donated and regularly sent bundles of union newspapers [at least 15 different internationals], I used Al's novel as our text book -- always very well received by the students.
 
In the mid-1950s, Al edited a solid labor journal, Labor's Daily, out of Bettendorf, Iowa.  Around 1956, I sent him a short story of mine,  He didn't take it but he did take the time to give me a solid and most helpful critique.  It was, as was often the case with various kind and helpful editors with whom I had some contact, written out in ink on a sheet of paper.  [I saved a few of those things but, in those days, I moved around about as frequently as Geronimo -- always traveling pretty light.]
 
Al Maund, as with Nigel Hampton, did important work for the Chemical Workers from its base at Akron, Ohio.  The three of us had brief contact there -- the only time I actually ever met Al directly.  But he gave me some books, most of which I yet have.  One of those, a small collection of poems by Eve Merriam -- Montgomery, Alabama / Money, Mississippi / And Other Places -- was much borrowed by my Tougaloo students.
 
Over the years, I heard mostly of Al through another very good mutual friend, Jim Dombrowski, the executive director of SCEF until his retirement in late 1965.  Jim and I kept in very regular contact until his death about 1983 at New Orleans.  Nigel and I also remained in contact and he kept me posted on widely scattered friends of ours.  Al spent his last years in a nursing home in New Orleans -- from which he was removed to Ohio during Katrina.  Not too long ago, I was contacted by a writer who was seeking Al and, with Nigel's help, the connection was established.
 
In the Left in what's called the United States, things sometimes become theory-drenched.  I never picked that up from Al Maund or anything he wrote.  A Southern maverick, his blend of Vision and Principled Pragmatism was very much his own good mix.  Certainly cognizant of the importance of organized action, he was always able to maintain his independent mind and spirit.  As the late radical poet, John Beecher, himself a Southerner, once approvingly tagged another person, "He wears no man's collar."
 
Hunter [Hunter Bear]

COMMENT:

Thanks very much, Hunter, for your generous remarks and, especially, for sharing your fine homage to Al with the multitudes on your web site.

Best regards,

Nigel [Hampton]

[And see http://hunterbear.org/new_thoughts_and_comments.htm ]

 

 
 
HUNTER GRAY  [HUNTER BEAR/JOHN R SALTER JR]   Mi'kmaq /St. Francis
Abenaki/St. Regis Mohawk
Protected by Na´shdo´i´ba´i´
 and Ohkwari'
 
Check out our Hunterbear social justice website:  www.hunterbear.org
[The site is dedicated to our one-half Bobcat, Cloudy Gray:
http://hunterbear.org/cloudy_gray.htm
 
In our Gray Hole, the ghosts often dance in the junipers and sage, on the
game trails, in the tributary canyons with the thick red maples, and on the
high windy ridges -- and they dance from within the very essence of our own
inner being. They do this especially when the bright night moon shines down
on the clean white snow that covers the valley and its surroundings.  Then
it is as bright as day -- but in an always soft and mysterious and
remembering way. [Hunter Bear] 
 http://www.hunterbear.org/GRAY%20LANDS%20AND%20GRAY%20GHOSTS.htm
 




 

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