I "sat down" with Charles Henry Rowell for this 9-page interview conducted via email between Charleston, South Carolina, and College Station, Texas. We discuss my childhood, The Cooper Union, and creating art in the segregated South.
Callaloo was founded in 1976 by its current editor, Charles Henry Rowell, when he was teaching at Southern University (Baton Rouge). He originally described the fledgling periodical as a “Black South Journal,” whose function was to serve as a publication outlet for marginalized writers in the racially segregated US American South.
Shortly after Dr. Rowell moved the journal to the University of Kentucky at Lexington in 1977, Callaloo began to publish black writers nationwide. He had transformed Callaloo into an African Diaspora journal by 1986, when the Johns Hopkins University Press became its publisher,after he moved to the University of Virginia (Charlottesville) as Professor of English. After a fifteen-year tenure at Virginia, he moved Callaloo again—this time to Texas A&M University in College Station, where it has remained since 2001. At this point in time, the life of Callaloo—as a forum continuously publishing creative writing, along with visual art and critical texts about literature and culture—is probably the longest in African American literary history.