From sit-ins to love-ins, Austin Clarke recalls life in 1960s Toronto

1960s Toronto. Austin Clarke

Repeating Islands

AC

The Star presents excerpts from Austin Clarke’s new memoir ’Membering [see previous post New Book: Austin Clarke’s “‘Membering”.] ‘In this excerpt from his book ’Membering, award-winning author Austin Clarke describes the fraternity of “artists-to-be” who congregated in the jazz bars and taverns of an often intolerant city.’

In Toronto at this time, in the firmament of the civil rights movement in America, and which spread throughout the world, there was an easier, and closer relationship between black people and Jews. This relationship has its historical roots in the days of the Depression; and apart from the predilection of the two groups toward a socialist and Marxist philosophy, this closeness was fostered significantly through the profession of writing. Jews, such as Saul Bellow, encouraged black American writers through the various creative writing programs paid for by the American government during the Depression.

The bond was formed, and it became stronger…

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