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Tue, 06.04.1957

The American Society of African Culture, a story

*On this date in 1957, we celebrate the American Society of African Culture (AMSAC). AMSAC was an organization of African American writers, artists, and scholars.

The society was founded because of the Congress of Negro Writers and Artists in 1956 based on the idea of the French fr: Société Africaine de culture. In the summer of 1957, five African American intellectuals officially founded the American Society of African Culture (AMSAC). During its heyday in the early 1960s, AMSAC had around four hundred members. One of the organization's main goals was to expose African Americans to their African heritage. This goal was pursued by organizing exhibitions, lectures, music performances, and conferences in the United States (primarily New York) and Africa (occasionally).

In 1961, AMSAC opened an African office in Lagos, Nigeria. The opening was a two-day festival of music performances, dancing, panel discussions, and the art exhibited by Africans and African Americans in December 1961. AMSAC had received federal tax exemption the year prior, and thus large grants became available to the organization for specific projects from various entities. This financial backing was how they organized the large festival in Lagos. The grants were CIA pass-throughs.

After 1967, AMSAC's membership sharply declined after being named as one of the organizations funded by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

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