Julian Mayfield

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Julian Mayfield
Born Julian Hudson Mayfield
(1928-06-06)June 6, 1928
Greer, South Carolina, United States
Died October 20, 1984(1984-10-20) (aged 56)
Washington, D.C., United States
Nationality American
Occupation Actor, director, writer, lecturer and civil rights activist.

Julian Hudson Mayfield (June 6, 1928 – October 20, 1984) was an American actor, director, writer, lecturer and civil rights activist.

Early life[edit]

Julian Hudson Mayfield was born on June 6, 1928, in Greer, South Carolina, and was raised from the age of five in Washington. He joined the US Army in 1947 before studying at Lincoln University in Pennsylvania.


Mayfield began his career in theatre, playing the role of Absalom Kumalo in the musical Lost in the Stars during 1949-50, before producing his own play Fire in 1951 and directing Ossie Davis' play Alice in Wonder in 1952.

Mayfield moved to Puerto Rico in 1954 with his wife, Ana Livia Cordero, and while there published three novels - The Hit (1957), The Long Night (1958) and The Grand Parade (1961). Returning to the U.S.A. in 1959, he became involved with militant NAACP leader Robert F. Williams.[1] After a fatal confrontation in Monroe, N.C. at the end of August 1961, when Freedom Riders were attacked. In this explosive situation a white couple was abducted and sheltered by Williams, which was seen as kidnapping by the FBI. Williams fled to Cuba and Mayfield to Ghana, where he became writer-in-office of President Kwame Nkrumah in 1961, and edited the African Review, a political and economical journal.[2] Mayfield established the international branch of the Organization of Afro-American Unity, and published a collection called Young Americans Abroad in 1963. Hed left Ghana in January 1966.[3] He later lived in Spain, before returning to America to co-write and act in the 1968 film Up Tight! He was then an aide to Forbes Burnham, the president of Guyana, between 1971 and 1974.

Over his lifetime, Mayfield lectured at Cornell University, New York University, University of Maryland, College Park and Howard University.

Selected filmography[edit]


  • The Hit (1957)
  • The Long Night (1958)
  • The Grand Parade (1961)
  • Tales of the Lido (unpublished manuscript)
  • Fire (1951)
  • 413 (?)
  • Young Americans Abroad (1963)
  • Which Way Does the Blood Red River Run? (?)
  • Black on Black: A Political Love Story. In: Ten Times Black, Julian Mayfield (editor). New York: Bantam, 1972, pp. 125–149.


  1. ^ Timothy B. Tyson, Radio Free Dixie: Robert F. Williams and the Roots of Black Power (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1999).
  2. ^ Kevin Gaines, American Africans in Ghana: Black Expatriates and the Civil Rights Era (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2006).
  3. ^ Gaines, American Africans in Ghana, 224.