Phillip Brian Harper Assistant Professor of English and of Afro-American Studies Harvard University Cambridge, MA
I have been a subscriber to American Visions for over five years. I've always looked upon your magazine as the only true progressive, artistic magazine for African Americans. It is with deep regret that I may have to "unsubscribe" due to your ignorance and unfair practices toward African-American gays.
Cathy Austin San Francisco, CA
Some weeks ago I was delighted to receive American Visions. I love the splendidly colored cover and validation I can receive as a woman of this hemisphere. It profoundly disturbed me to read on the Internet from two networks of the glaring omission of Phillip Brian Harper's name in your coverage on the Whitney's current exhibition. My response as a conscious lesbian and African American born in the Caribbean is to ask that my subscription be immediately canceled. And it was just yesterday, as friends were gathered around my dining table, that I was excidely showing them American Visions.
Karen Job Cleveland Heights, OH
The writer Essex Hemphill says: "The black homosexual is hard-pressed to gain audience among his heterosexual brothers; even if he is more talented, he is inhibited by his silence or his admissions. This is what the race has depended on in being able to erase homosexuality from our recorded history. The 'chosen' history. But these sacred constructions of silence are futile excersises in deniel. We will not go away with our issues of sexuality. We are coming home."
I sincerely hope that it is not the policy or goal of American Visions magazine to erase the contributions of black gay men from our history.
Chuck Tarver INTERNET: firstname.lastname@example.org Dover, DE (sic the University of DE is in Newark, DE State U is in Dover)
Editors's note: Ouch! My first thought, after reading the many letters American Visions received in response to the column on the "Black Male Images" exhibit, was, How did this happen to us? The ommission of Phillip Harper's name was entirely inadvertent. It was simply an error.
Upon rereading the letters, I realized that though the magazine makes no effort to exclude any member of the African-American community, that may not be evident in our regular coverage, and I will work harder to ensure that the magazine is more inclusive.