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Rites of Passage

            The Shooting Star Review is a black literary magazine which ran from 1987 to 1995, producing 31 dynamic issues. Founded and developed by artist, author, and educator Sandra Gould Ford, The Shooting Star Review proclaims in its integral 1987 issue, Identities, “Shooting Star Review promises a sparkle in your eye, riches in your soul and glide in your stride . . .There is no beauty in art until it is shared. No magic until it is enjoyed. No meaning until it opens up our feelings for ourselves. And for our friends” (Ford). The Shooting Star Review largely follows the idea “for us, by us,” creating a space for blackness to thrive, stretch, create, react, hope, and ponder. International in its scope, The Shooting Star Review is a black literary magazine that seeks to connect all parts of the African Diaspora. Within this digital exhibit alone, we have works depicting black life from Jamaica to Egypt to, of course, Pittsburgh.

In its Autumn 1992 issue, the literary magazine professes, “Shooting Star Productions Inc. A non-profit corporation that seeks to employ the arts to build awareness and appreciation for Black culture.” This mission echoes a call to action made by W.E.B Du Bois in his 1927 essay, “Criteria of Negro Art.” Du Bois states of black art, “all Art is propaganda and ever must be, despite the wailing of the purists . . . propaganda for gaining the right of black folk to love and enjoy” (Du Bois 296). The Shooting Star Review’s mission to bring awareness and appreciation to black culture, springs forward and develops into something larger than both its original mission and Du Bois’ early twentieth century call, The Shooting Star Review opens up a space for black artists to make and name themselves and the larger black community.

Late novelist, scholar, and Nobel Laureate Toni Morrison writes, “Beauty was not simply something to behold; it was something one could do,” when contemplating the origins and the work of beauty and blackness (Morrison xi). This exhibit seeks to highlight how black creators used their art and the space of The Shooting Star Review to do beauty. The beauty contained with the pages of The Shooting Star Review and within this exhibit are representative of an evolving black aesthetic that can traced through literary magazines throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, like W.E.B Du Bois’ Crisis and the Urban League’s Opportunity. This exhibit’s collections were chosen because of the ways they connect to the larger black literary tradition. The themes of re-education, black globalism, race pride through pride in the black body, redefining a white supremacist world, and the centrality of the black familial unit are themes present from the first black periodicals in the nineteenth century.

To experience the collection in its entirety follow this link to the University of Pittsburgh's Special Collections: 

Recently Added Items

M.R Grant, Jean Toomer, Karintha


M.R Grant, Jean Toomer, Karintha, Shooting Star Productions Inc.

Image of young girl smiling and feeling joyous. Towards bottom left there are the enlarged words, "Her skin is like dusk on the eastern horizon. O…

Then Comes the Queen

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Then Comes the Queen, Peter J. Harris, Saihou Njie, Shooting Star Productions Inc.

Photograph of young girl posing wearing a great dress to the right of a poem.