The Julian Mayfield Photograph Collection depicts some aspects of his personal life and his professional career as a writer, actor and political aide, from the period of the late 1920s to the 1970s. The collection consists of individual and group portraits, snapshots and candid shots of Mayfield; his first wife, Ana Livia Cordero; his second wife, Joan Cambridge; his children, parents and other family members; family friends; various children; and friends and colleagues in politics, writing and acting. Also included are some motion picture, theater and publicity stills; some views of trips to foreign countries; assorted social gatherings and views of weddings; and a series of images depicting social conditions in Guyana. The collection is limited in depicting his theatrical, educational and writing careers, as well as his activities in Ghana; and does not depict his political or black nationalist activities.
The personal photographs series includes numerous studio portraits of Mayfield, undated but probably from the 1950s to the late 1970s, some of which may have been used for publicity purposes; individual and group portraits and snapshots of Mayfield's first wife, Ana, and their sons, Rafael and Emiliano (late 1950s-1960s); Mayfield and his sons on the set of the film "Uptight" (1968); a view of Mayfield's father, Hudson, as a United States State Department chauffeur (n.d.); a portrait of Joan Cambridge, then the women's editor of the Guiana Graphic, during a British Broadcasting Company radio appearance (1966); Mayfield and Cambridge getting married in Guyana (1973); and snapshots of Mayfield and Cambridge in Paderborn, Germany (1977).
Also included are several snapshot images from personal scrapbooks. Depicted are views of family trips to Chicago (1933) and upstate New York (1935); snapshots of Mayfield and fellow soldiers during his stint in the Army (1946); snapshots of Hudson and Annie Mae Mayfield, his parents, at home (1957); a group of snapshots showing Mayfield, Ana and their children at home, with family and friends, and at social gatherings (1960-1969); a snapshot of Dorothy Mayfield Barkey, Julian's sister, and her son Kevin (ca. 1970s); publicity portraits of boxer Smuggy Hursey and actor Ted Butler; and many snapshots and individual portraits of family, friends and Army buddies, many of which are not identified.
The career series includes publicity stills of Mayfield, as Blessed Martin de Porres, in the Blackfriar's Guild theatrical production of "City of Kings" (1949); some views of him hosting Malcolm X in Ghana during the latter's visit to West Africa (1963); several motion picture stills depicting scenes and the production of the film "Uptight," featuring Mayfield, Raymond St. Jacques, Ruby Dee, Frank Silvera, Roscoe Lee Browne, and director Jules Dassin (1968); some motion picture stills from Woodie King's "The Long Night" (1976), for which Mayfield wrote the screenplay based on his novel, and Ossie Davis's "Kongi's Harvest" (1970); and Mayfield taking part in a discussion group in Turkey, probably during his year teaching on a Fulbright-Hayes Fellowship (1976-1977).
Also included are a group of images of Guyana, some identified as "Building A Nation," which depict groups of Guyanese citizens; government-sponsored housing, agricultural and feeding projects; some businesses and light industries; street scenes; soldiers; and some portraits of Guyanese political officials, including Prime Minister Forbes Burnham (ca. 1971-1974). These images were probably compiled during Mayfield's service as an advisor to the Guyanese Ministry of Information and Culture, and used for various publications from the Ministry and Burnham's political party, the People's National Congress.
The collection includes a group of studio and candid portraits of various individuals such as actress Ruby Dee, Ghanaian president Kwame Nkrumah, Guinean president Sékou Touré, writer Eugenia Collier, revolutionary nationalist Robert F. Williams, and a series of contact sheets and wedding pictures of American-expatriate artist and writer Tom Feelings.
Biographical/historical: Julian Hudson Mayfield (1928-1984) was an author, playwright, actor, educator and political activist. His theatrical work includes writing the plays "Fire" (1949) and "417" (1955); directing and producing Ossie Davis's "Alice in Wonder" (1952); and making his Broadway acting debut as Absalom in the musical "Lost in the Stars" (1949). He also wrote the screenplay and starred in the film "Uptight" (1968) and wrote the 1976 screenplay of his novel "The Long Night." His literary works include the novels "The Hit" (1957), "The Long Night" (1958) and "The Grand Parade" (1961); he wrote numerous articles for leftist and black nationalist publications; and he founded the African Review in the early 1960s. Mayfield served as a political aide to President Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana (1962-1966) and Prime Minister Forbes Burnham of Guyana (1971-1974). He received fellowships at Cornell University and New York University (1967-1971), and a Fulbright-Hays Fellowship (1976-1977); lectured at the University of Maryland, College Park (1974-1978); and spent his final years (1978-1984) as writer-in-residence and associate professor at Howard University, in Washington, D.C.