Lennox Raphael

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Lennox Raphael
Born (1939-09-17) September 17, 1939 (age 81)
Trinidad, West Indies
OccupationJournalist, poet, playwright
Notable worksChe!

Lennox Raphael (born September 17, 1939, in Trinidad, West Indies) is a journalist, poet, and playwright. His writings have been published in Negro Digest,[1] American Dialog,[2] New Black Poetry,[3] Natural Process[4] and Freedomways.[5] A long-time resident of New York City, Raphael currently lives in Copenhagen, Denmark.


Raphael worked as a reporter in Jamaica before first coming to the United States as a U.N. correspondent.[6] He also became a staff writer for the underground newspaper the East Village Other,[7] and an editor of Umbra, a poetry journal based in New York.[3]

In 1969 Raphael worked as a writer in the schools with the Teachers & Writers Collaborative at P.S. 26 in Brooklyn, New York.[8]


In his journalism Raphael has explored the relationship between black West Indian immigrants to the United States and the longer established African-American community. He points out that, in the 1960s, although there was a need for West Indian immigrants to show solidarity with African Americans,[9] many of those immigrants felt themselves to be superior to American-born blacks.[10]


Raphael's best-known play is Che!, which presents Che Guevara as a hero who was the object of sexually motivated envy by his enemies, including the President of the United States.[11] The play featured scenes of nudity and explicit sex, and, soon after it opened in New York City in 1969, was closed by the Public Morals Police Squad of New York City, with Raphael being arrested along with the actors and director. It reopened after a judge ruled that the play was protected by the free speech provisions of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.[12] In February 1970 the Manhattan Criminal Court found Raphael, along with the cast, producer and set designer, "guilty beyond any reasonable doubt of participating in an obscene performance which predominantly appealed and pandered to prurient interest and went beyond the customary limits of candor in presenting profanity, filth, defecation, masochism, sadism, masturbation, nudity, copulation, sodomy and other devaite sexual intercourse".[13]

Raphael's next play, Blue Soap, avoided such problems by restricting any sexual content to the dialogue.[14]


  1. ^ Jones, R. Clifford (2006). James K. Humphrey and the Sabbath-Day Adventists. University Press of Mississippi. p. 213. ISBN 978-1-57806-891-3.
  2. ^ Major, Clarence (1969). The New Black Poetry. International Publishers. p. 153. OCLC 6225. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. ^ a b Otte, George; Linda J. Palumbo (1990). Casts of Thought: writing in and against tradition. Macmillan Publishers. p. 162. ISBN 978-0-02-389961-4.
  4. ^ "Pride And Militancy Reflected In Poems". The Virgin Islands Daily News. February 26, 1971. p. 5.
  5. ^ Sánchez, Marta Ester (2005). "Shakin' Up" Race and Gender: intercultural connections in Puerto Rican, African American, and Chicano narratives and culture (1965–1995). University of Texas Press. p. 13. ISBN 978-0-292-70965-2.
  6. ^ "About Our Contributors". Negro Digest. April 1965. p. 80.
  7. ^ Giles, Robert H.; Robert W. Snyder (2001). 1968: Year of Media Decision. Transaction Publishers. p. 148. ISBN 978-0-7658-0621-5. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  8. ^ Lopate, Phillip (1979). Journal of a Living Experiment: a documentary history of the first ten years of Teachers and Writers Collaborative. Teachers & Writers Collaborative. p. 7. ISBN 978-0-915924-09-7. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  9. ^ Lewis, Harold T. (1996). Yet With a Steady Beat: the African American struggle for recognition in the Episcopal Church. Continuum International Publishing Group. p. 95. ISBN 978-1-56338-130-0.
  10. ^ Jones, R. Clifford (2006). James K. Humphrey and the Sabbath-Day Adventists. University Press of Mississippi. p. 76. ISBN 978-1-57806-891-3.
  11. ^ Brockett, Oscar Gross (1971). Perspectives on Contemporary Theatre. Louisiana State University Press. p. 23. ISBN 978-0-8071-2420-8.
  12. ^ Hill, Errol; James Vernon Hatch (2003). A History of African American Theatre. Cambridge University Press. p. 290. ISBN 978-0-521-62443-5. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  13. ^ Houchin, John H. (2003). Censorship of the American Theatre in the Twentieth Century. Cambridge University Press. p. 218. ISBN 978-0-521-81819-3.
  14. ^ Brukenfeld, Dick (September 17, 1970). "off-off". The Village Voice. p. 51.