Just wondering if anyone else has run across a black postmodern humanist before Richard Wright. If we define postmodernism as the abandonment of an objective or metaphysical truth, then Wright would qualify, for as he claims in White Man, Listen!: "let us honestly admit that there is no such thing as objectivity, no such objective fact as objectivity. Objectivity is a fabricated concept, a synthetic intellectual construction devised to enable others to know the general conditions under which one has done something, observed the world or an event in that world" (703-4). Like the postmodernists, he arrives at this conclusion because of his rejection of the God-concept. As the character, Cross Damon from The Outsider, claims: "Modern consciousness is Godlessness." Therefore, "There is nothing but us, man, and the world that man has made. Beyond that, there's nothing else." At this point in the novel, Cross is saying that there are no conceptual systems that exist independent of the human mind. Rather, all conceptual systems are human constructions, which is why he concludes "that the world we see is the world we make by our manual and emotional projections" (275). He is not saying that humans have created the material universe. He is claiming that humans have invented the concepts that we use to make systematic sense of the material universe. I claim that Wright is a humanist because he considers rationalism and science the most compelling human inventions for the construction of a just society.

Before I publish something which claims that Wright was the first black postmodern humanist, I want to make sure that this is true. If any of you know of a black writer who would qualify as a postmodern humanist before Wright, please let me know.

Many Thanks,

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I haven't actively researched this area, but it seems that just from my knowledge of the subject that you are right. NOw I have to go get into my books and do some checking--Don




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