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Julius B. Fleming, Jr.

Julius B. Fleming, Jr. earned a doctorate in English, and a graduate certificate in Africana studies, from the University of Pennsylvania. Specializing in Afro-diasporic literatures and cultures, he has particular interests in performance studies, black political culture, diaspora, and colonialism, especially where they intersect with race, gender, and sexuality. Professor Fleming is the author of Black Patience: Performance, Civil Rights, and the Unfinished Project of Emancipation (NYU Press, 2022; shortlisted for the Association for the Study of the Arts of the Present 2023 Book Prize, Finalist for the Hooks National Book Award, and Honorable Mention for the 2023 John W. Frick Book Award). This book reconsiders the Civil Rights Movement from the perspective of black theatre, while examining the importance of time and affect to the making of the modern racial order. Analyzing a largely underexplored, transnational archive of black theatre, it demonstrates how black artists and activists used theatre and performance to unsettle the demands of a violent racial project that he calls “black patience.” From the slave castle to the hold of the slave ship, from the auction block to commands to “go slow” in fighting segregation, black people have historically been forced to wait, coerced into performing patience. This book argues that during the Civil Rights Movement, black people’s cries for “freedom now”—at the lunch counter, in the streets, and importantly on the theatrical stage—disturbed the historical praxis of using black patience to manufacture and preserve anti-blackness and white supremacy.

Professor Fleming is also beginning work on a second book project that explores the new geographies of colonial expansion and their impact on Afro-diasporic literary and cultural production. Fleming’s work appears in journals like American Literature, American Literary History, South Atlantic Quarterly, Callaloo, and The James Baldwin Review. Having served as Associate Editor of both Callaloo and Black Perspectives—the award-winning blog of the African American Intellectual History Society—Fleming has been awarded fellowships from the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, the Mellon Foundation, and the University of Virginia’s Carter G. Woodson Institute.

Daughters of Lorraine Podcast teaser.
Black Patience and the Theatre of Civil Rights

Black Patience and the Theatre of Civil Rights

1 November 2023

Hosts Leticia Ridley and Jordan Ealey interview scholar Professor Julius Fleming, Jr. about his book Black Patience: Performance, Civil Rights, and the Unfinished Project of Emancipation (NYU Press, 2022). They discuss the importance of theatre to the Civil Rights Movement and the relationship between Black theatre and performance and Black studies.