Actor, novelist, and black activist Julian Mayfield (1928-1984) began his dynamic career with overnight success in the New York theater, starring on Broadway in the Kurt Weill-Maxwell Anderson musical Lost in the Stars (1949) and directing Ossie Davis’s first play, Alice in Wonder (1952). In 1954, he married Dr. Ana Livia Cordero, later the personal physician of W.E.B. Du Bois, and moved with her to her native Puerto Rico. There, Mayfield tried his hand as a newscaster for the island’s first English-language radio station and composed most of three well-reviewed protest novels: The Hit (1957), The Long Night (1958), and The Grand Parade (1961). All the while, Puerto Rican agents of the FBI struggled to discover exactly “what material [Mayfield] was typing.” Back in the U.S., he risked his life to help Robert Williams, the militant author of Negroes with Guns (1962), escape charges of armed insurrection. Forced to flee to Canada to avoid arrest, and then resettling in the newly independent African nation of Ghana, Mayfield worked as a literary advisor in the office of Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana’s first president, editing the proceedings of the Accra Assembly. The FBI renewed its interest in Mayfield after he hosted Malcolm X’s 1964 tour of West Africa. The CIA also tracked the consistently radical Mayfield, but its files on his case remain closed to date.
FBI documents studying Julian Mayfield.
Material is in the public domain.
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