American Society of African Culture

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The American Society of African Culture (AMSAC) was an organization of African-American writers, artists, and scholars.[1] The society was founded as a result of the Congress of Negro Writers and Artists in 1956[2] based on the idea of the French fr:Société africaine de culture. In June 1957, the American Society of African Culture (AMSAC) was officially founded by five African-American intellectuals.[3] During its heyday in the early 1960s, AMSAC had around four hundred members. One of the main goals of the organisation was to expose African Americans to their African heritage. This aim was pursued through organising exhibitions, lectures, music performances, and conferences in the United States (primarily New York) and Africa (occasionally). AMSAC sponsored a two-day festival in Lagos, Nigeria, in December 1961.[4] After 1967, AMSAC's membership sharply declined after it was named as one of the organisations that was funded by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).[5]


  1. ^ Adelaide Cromwell Hill; Martin Kilson (1969). Apropos of Africa: Sentiments of Negro American Leaders on Africa from the 1800s to the 1950s. London: Routledge. p. 216. ISBN 0-7146-1757-1.
  2. ^ Martin Minogue; Judith Molloy (1974). African Aims & Attitudes: Selected Documents. CUP Archive. p. 234. ISBN 0-521-20426-7.
  3. ^ The founders were political scientist and civil rights activist John A. Davis, historian and social scientist Horace Mann Bond (1904–1972), professor of French and future American ambassador Will Mercer Cook (1903–1987), philosopher William T. Fontaine (1909–1968) and James Ivy, editor of the NAACP's Crisis.
  4. ^ "African-American Cultural Exchange". Ebony. Johnson Publishing Company. 17 (5): 87. March 1962.
  5. ^ Alistair Cooke, "More Organisations Find They Are On CIA's Fund List", The Guardian, February 18, 1967, p. 9; Neil Sheehan, "5 New Groups Tied To C.I.A. Conduits", The New York Times, 17 February 1967, pp. 1, 16, and Richard Harwood, "8 More Groups Linked to CIA's Fund Activities", The Washington Post, Times Herald, February 21, 1967, p. A6; Hugh Wilford, The Mighty Wurlitzer: How the CIA Played America (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2008); Wilford in: Dongen, Transnational Anti-Communism and the Cold War: Agents, Activities, and Networks, p. 30.