Heart and Soul of Magic

Discuss the latest feature articles in Genii.

Postby Guest » 04/23/04 08:09 PM

Just want to thank Kaufman and author Michael Edwards for the terrific article on African-American magicians. How astounding to learn for the first time that the first known successful magician in the United States was the son of a slave! What better course for a magazine such as Genii than to document the "lost" history of the art, a history that was shaped in large part by marginalized communities.

As someone trained in theater history, I know that these kinds of stories only get told with a tremendous amount of research, and with someone who has the guts to print the research. I hope you will keep pushing the limits here, and not be afraid about where digging into this history might lead.

Randy Shine is quoted as being aware of the very small number of African-American magicians at a magic convention he had attended. I was thinking the same to myself at a recent well-attended magic lecture I was at in New York City--how could this be in a city that is now less than 50% Caucasian, that there would be so few people of color in the audience? What do we who love magic and those in the magic community do to help change this situation?

Thanks again for a great issue and continuing the conversation,

Jack Shalom
Guest
 

Postby Michael Edwards » 05/02/04 02:44 AM

Thank you, Jack. The lives, stories and contributions of so many African American magicians have indeed faded into obscurity. I'm glad we were able to highlight some of the work being done to keep their legacy alive. However, I would be remiss if I didn't highlight two books that have played a significant role in bringing this aspect of magic history to light: Jim Magus' privately published Magical Heroes: The Lives of Great African American Magicians in America (Magus Enterprises; Marrieta, Georgia, 1995) and Jim Haskins and Kathleen Benson's Conjure Times: Black Magicians in America (Walker and Compant, New York, 2001). I would recommend them both to you.

Thank you again for your kind words.

Michael Edwards
Michael Edwards
 
Posts: 516
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: Washington, DC

Postby Matthew Field » 05/02/04 08:01 AM

Originally posted by landmark:
... at a recent well-attended magic lecture I was at in New York City--how could this be in a city that is now less than 50% Caucasian, that there would be so few people of color in the audience?
And how many women were in attendance?

Matt Field
User avatar
Matthew Field
 
Posts: 2422
Joined: 01/18/08 01:00 PM
Location: Hastings, England, UK

Postby Guest » 05/06/04 03:37 PM

About five or six women out af an audience of perhaps 75.


I recently obtained a copy of Jim Magus' book Magical Heroes: The Lives and Legends of Great African American Magicians. It's a wonderfully entertaining book that everyone who loves magic will enjoy reading. It was self-published by the author in 1995. I bought it from the author on eBay.

Table of Contents:

1. Richard Potter
2. Escape from Slavery: Henry "Box" Brown
3. The Minstrel Magicians
4. Hindu Fakirs
5. King of the Colored Conjurors: Professor Armstrong
6. Only Once Every Seven Years: The Great Black Herman
7. The Imagination Man: Fetaque Sandrs
8. Presto
9. Contemporary Conjurors of Color

Any chance that Mr. Kaufman might pick this up to reprint and revise it? It could use some proper sourcing and updating to bring it up to current times. There's some very important information in this book.

Jack Shalom
Guest
 

Postby Richard Kaufman » 05/06/04 06:35 PM

I actually asked Jim Magus if I could publish the book initially and he declined, preferring to do it himself.
Don't have much energy for books anymore.
Subscribe today to Genii Magazine
User avatar
Richard Kaufman
 
Posts: 19988
Joined: 07/18/01 12:00 PM
Location: Washington DC

Postby Pete Biro » 05/06/04 06:50 PM

One black magician overlooked in all the recent articles (but we are working to change that) was Emile Clifton.

Clifton was a WWII war hero, member of the Tuskeegee Airman, decorated and humble.

Clifton was my main mentor and teacher in magic during my formative years in San Francisco bay area. He was a fine and very creative magician and a super guy to boot.

Read Earl Nelson and you will find Clifton's "ring move" used by many, including Fred Kaps... and Clifton's MacDonald's Aces "lay down" is as good as it gets.

There is more.
Stay tooned.
User avatar
Pete Biro
 
Posts: 7124
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: Hollyweird

Postby David Nethery » 05/07/04 10:35 AM

Fetaque Sanders was mentioned above from the Jim Magus book.

Samuel Patrick Smith has a biography of Fetaque Sanders (one of Smith's mentors) on his web site :

Biography of Fetaque Sanders
User avatar
David Nethery
 
Posts: 187
Joined: 05/13/08 06:39 PM

Postby Guest » 05/21/04 03:58 PM

Jim Magus' book is up for auction on eBay right now!

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?Vi ... 00701&rd=1

Jack Shalom
Guest
 

Postby Michael Edwards » 06/06/04 04:02 PM

I see that Jim Magus is auctioning off another copy of Magical Heroes: The Lives and Legends of Great African American Magicians. This book was a groundbreaking piece of magic history as well as a wonderfully entertaining read. Sadly, there are two challenges with it. The first is simply finding a copy. It was originally published in a very limited run. The second is that Jim did not include notes on his sources nor a bibliography to assist those who would be interested in further research or reading. Nevertheless it remains a terrific resource...and recent copies on eBay have gone for an extremely resaonable price.

A second book (as I noted earlier) that is more widely available is Jim Haskins and Kathleen Benson's Conjure Times: Black Magicians in America which was published by Walker & Company, New York, in 2001. I'd recommend both works to those who want to find out more about this all too often forgotten part of America's magic heritage.
Michael Edwards
 
Posts: 516
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: Washington, DC

Postby Grant McSorley » 06/06/04 09:05 PM

Any news on the status of Glen Farrington's documentary about African American Magicians?

Grant
Grant McSorley
 
Posts: 128
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: Montreal


Return to Feature Articles