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Phylon was a quarterly journal founded by W. E. B. Du-Bois, edited by him from 1940 to 1944, and published under the auspices of Atlanta University. The journal was designed to replace the school's earlier publications, which had initiated a more scientific approach to the study of race. Even though other institutions had used this approach and some scholars were adapting their works to it, it was still necessary to revisit and revise what had and was taking place relative to race in academia. The focus was to be cultural and historical rather than biological and psychological. The original editorial board and contributing editors included Ira DeAugustine Reid, William Stanley Braithwaite, Mercer Cook, Horace M. Bond, and Rayford W. Logan. While the articles were to be devoted to the social sciences, there were works by and about individuals and topics germane to the humanities. Literary issues were addressed by such critics as Arthur P. Davis, Nick Aaron Ford, and Hugh Gloster, and original poetry and fiction also were published, including work by authors such as Langston Hughes and Countee Cullen. The journal ceased publication in 1988.

Freedom's Odyssey: African American History Essays from Phylon (1999), edited by Alexa B. Henderson and Janis Sumler-Edmond, contains twenty-nine scholarly essays on African-American history that appeared in the journal. The topics include slave revolts, abolitionism, desegregation, and the civil rights movement.

See also Journalism; Literary Magazines; Quarles, Benjamin


"Apology." Phylon 1 (1940): 35.

DeSantis, Christopher C. "Phylon." In Oxford Companion to African American Literature, edited by William L. Andrews, Francis Smith Foster, and Trudier Harris. New York: Oxford University Press, 1997.

Henderson, Alexa B., and Janis Sumler-Edmond, eds. Freedom's Odyssey: African American History Essays from Phylon. Atlanta, Ga.: Clark Atlanta University Press, 1999.

helen r. houston (2001)


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