To Our Readers: Oct. 10, 1994

Last October, time senior correspondent Jack White noted that in the same week, one African-American author, Toni Morrison, won the Nobel Prize for Literature while another, Poet Laureate Rita Dove, read her work at the White House. Not long thereafter, another black poet, Yusef Komunyakaa, won the Pulitzer Prize. White began to wonder whether these events and the increasing prominence of other African-American authors signaled a black literary efflorescence.

Subsequent reporting by associate editor Janice Simpson and editorial assistant Breena Clarke on dance, film, music and theater quickly revealed that the artistic flowering was much broader than a literary one. "In...

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