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‘Like Another Planet to the Darker Americans’: Black Cultural Work in 1930s Moscow

‘Like Another Planet to the Darker Americans’: Black Cultural Work in 1930s Moscow

Chapter:
(p.120) Chapter 7 ‘Like Another Planet to the Darker Americans’: Black Cultural Work in 1930s Moscow
Source:
Africa in Europe
Author(s):
S. Ani Mukherji
Publisher:
Liverpool University Press
DOI:10.5949/liverpool/9781846318474.003.0007

This chapter discusses three black cultural workers who spent time in Moscow during the 1930s: The journalist Homer Smith worked as the Moscow correspondent for black newspapers, disseminating a global vision of blackness and the location of Moscow in this black world. Afro-Chinese Trinidadian Sylvia Chen forged a new type of anticolonial dance that fused elements of Chinese folk dance, modern choreography, and popular jazz steps. Wayland Rudd made a career as an actor. The focus on artists who made Moscow their home for extended periods calls attention to the everyday activism of imagining and inhabiting the city that sustained it as a site of black internationalism, though the chapter also outlines the challenges they faced as foreigners and as Blacks.

Keywords:   Soviet Union, dance, actor, anticolonial, black internationalism, Wayland Rudd, Sylvia Chen, Homer Smith

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