Red Letters / Blacklists: Communism and Literary America

This exhibition explores the ways Communism and related political movements influenced the work and lives of American writers, dramatists, editors, publishers, and artists in the first half of the twentieth century, while documenting the careers of radical literary figures, such as John Reed, Max Eastman, Muriel Draper, Michael Gold, and Genevieve Taggard, among many others. Red Letters / Blacklists examines the art and literature inspired by key events, from the trial of the Scottsboro Boys to the House Committee on Un-American Activities hearings. In addition, the exhibition will include a variety of lists naming people who were thought to be associated with Communist front organizations; these documents, published by the House Committee, anti-Communist groups, and private citizens, were used to blacklist writers, actors, and other artists during the “Red Scare” of the 1950s. [About 150 items]