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*Hoyt W. Fuller was born on this date in 1923. He was a Black editor, educator, critic, and author.
Hoyt William Fuller was born in Atlanta, Georgia. In 1927, his mother, Lillie Beatrice Ellafair Thomas died. Shortly afterward in the same year Fuller's father, Thomas Fuller, died. Young Fuller went to live with his aunt in Detroit, Michigan, following the death of his parents. He frequently returned to Atlanta to visit his grandmother, who encouraged him to explore the Black culture. He graduated from Wayne State University in 1950, with a bachelor's degree in literature and journalism. After graduating, Fuller pursued a career in journalism. He worked at the Detroit Tribune, the Michigan Chronicle, and Ebony magazine.
Becoming frustrated with the disconnect between Ebony’s content, he quit his position as the magazine's associate editor in 1957. In his autobiographical work Journey to Africa (1971), he describes his inability to find employment thereafter and his anger at the racially oppressive culture of America. As a result, Fuller moved to Europe, living for three years in France and Spain. While in Spain, he wrote about West Africa for the Amsterdam Haagse Post. He spent three months in Algiers and Guinea, an experience that inspired him to write Journey to Africa. His experiences in Africa gave him a new sense of purpose and led him to return to the United States in 1960.
No longer concerned with reforming white American racial beliefs, he focused his attention on black America. He believed that African and African American culture would inspire Blacks to take action against racial oppression and contribute to more confident expressions of their own identity. Robert Joseph Collier Encyclopedia hired Fuller as associate editor in 1960. In 1961, he became editor of The Negro Digest, which became Black World in 1970. Negro Digest/Black World was devoted to black culture and arts and became an important platform for many Black Arts Movement writers.
When the publication was discontinued in 1975, Fuller moved to Atlanta and founded the journal First World (1977–80). He wrote articles, under the pseudonym of William Barrow, for publications including The New Yorker, The New Republic, and the Christian Science Monitor. Fuller worked at Cornell University and Northwestern University. He visited Africa again in 1965-66 as a John Hay Whitney Opportunity Fellow. He also helped organize several Pan-African festivals and formed the Chicago Organization of Black American Culture, a writers’ group. On May 11, 1981, Hoyt Fuller died of a heart attack in Atlanta.