Hoyt W. Fuller (1923-1981) was an influential African American literary critic, editor, and author. He played a significant role in promoting and supporting African American literature and culture during the Black Arts Movement. Fuller was born on August 14, 1923, in Monroe, Louisiana. He earned a bachelor’s degree in English from Arkansas Agricultural, Mechanical & Normal College (now the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff) and a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University.
In the 1950s and 1960s, Fuller worked as a journalist and editor for several publications, including the Chicago Defender and the Negro Digest (later renamed Black World). As an editor, he provided a platform for emerging Black writers and intellectuals, showcasing their work and fostering intellectual discourse.
Fuller’s critical writings focused on African American literature, culture, and social issues. He championed the idea that African American writers should create work that reflects the experiences and struggles of Black people. He believed that literature had the power to inspire social change and empower marginalized communities.
Fuller’s most well-known work is “New Black Voices: An Anthology of Contemporary Afro-American Literature,” which he co-edited with Robert B. Stepto in 1962. The anthology featured the works of numerous emerging African American writers, including Amiri Baraka (then known as LeRoi Jones), Nikki Giovanni, and Sonia Sanchez.
Hoyt W. Fuller passed away on June 11, 1981, leaving behind a lasting legacy as a literary critic, editor, and advocate for African American literature. His contributions helped shape the Black Arts Movement and continue to inspire and influence generations of writers and intellectuals.