Carlene Hatcher Polite is known as an experimental writer whose novels serve as forerunners for other African American authors who dare to go beyond traditional novel forms. The daughter of John and Lillian Hatcher, who were international representatives of the United Automobile Workers-Congress of Industrial Organizations (UAW-CIO), Polite was born too late to be a Harlem Renaissance writer of the 1920’s to early 1930’s. However, she was a participant in the Black Arts movement of the 1960’s through mid-1970’s, which was the first major African American artistic movement after the Harlem Renaissance.
Polite attended Detroit public schools, Sarah Lawrence College, and the Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance. From 1955 to 1963 she danced professionally, appearing in The King and I, The Boy Friend, and Dark of the Moon. Polite performed onstage with the Concert Dance Theater of New York City, Detroit Equity Theater, and the Vanguard Playhouse. She taught dance technique at Detroit’s YWCA and YMCA as well as Wayne State University.
During the 1960’s, Polite was a political organizer and civil rights activist. In 1962 she was elected to a one-year term as a member of the Michigan State Central Committee of the Democratic Party. She served as coordinator of the Detroit Council for Human Rights, and she organized the 1963 Northern Negro Leadership Conference. That same year in June, Polite participated...
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