Scope and arrangement
The Eugene Gordon Papers range from 1927 to 1972 and are organized into six series: PERSONAL, CORRESPONDENCE, ORGANIZATIONS, WRITINGS, the BANDUNG AFRO-ASIAN CONFERENCE and PRINTED MATTER AND FRAGMENTS. They consist for the most part of occasional correspondence, manuscripts and memorabilia. The last series, relevant only to a detailed study of the author's work, is in offsite storage.
The Eugene Gordon papers are arranged in six series:
Gordon's letters to the editor written in the 1950s and 1960s were usually in the defense of the Soviet Union. His Nancy Cunard file in the CORRESPONDENCE series includes an exchange with Julius Lester who reviewed the 1969 reprint of Cunard's anthology Negro, and an essay "The Green Hat Comes to Chambers Street" written for Hugh Ford's memorial book, Nancy Cunard: Brave Poet, Indomitable Rebel. Gordon contributed an article "Blacks Turn Red" to Cunard's 1933 Negro anthology.
Much like his correspondence, only fragments of the author's political papers have survived. They form part of the ORGANIZATIONS series. A one-page statement tantalizingly discusses the Montgomery Bus Boycott in the context of the 1955 Bandung Conference, and challenges a sacred cow of Communist Party orthodoxy, the so-called "Negro-Labor Alliance". The file for the Chelsea Minority Action Organization includes material Gordon developed for a course on "the Negro's Contribution to U.S. Civilization and Culture", and a detailed memorandum to Roland Hayes on "whether the Negro's organizations should be open to whites".
Gordon's WRITINGS, the bulk of the collection, are organized into five subseries: Autobiographical, Fiction, Nonfiction, Research Material and Other Authors. The latter is a compilation of mostly published writings the author collected for the Saturday Evening Quill and for a proposed anthology of short stories.
Included in this series is an exchange of letters between Gordon and the editor of the National Guardian newspaper, and a draft of the article the newspaper refused to publish on both a "policy and journalism standpoint". Gordon who referred in his article to the African contribution to the Conference as incidental or minor, attributed his difference with the newspaper to white chauvinism and "blindness". The Bandung files also comprise several draft articles on Indonesian grassroots organizations; notes of an interview with Moses Kotane, the South African trade-unionist and Communist Party leader who attended the conference as an observer; an account of the author's negative encounter with Richard Wright at the Conference; and an essay, "Before - and Seven Years After", on the antecedents, origins and aftermath of Bandung. Also included are eight copious travel diaries, voluminous background notes, and a notebook discussing Richard Wright's Color Curtain and Carl T. Rowan's The Pitiful and the Proud. Gordon's work was generally consumed with Jim Crow racism and the defense of the Soviet Union, but at Bandung, the author looked beyond the East-West divide at issue of grassroots organizing and social justice in the post-colonial world. In that particular instance, he was perhaps ahead of his time.