Ends on

Guest Editor: Sheree Renée Thomas

Associate Guest Editors: Danielle L. Littlefield & Dani­an Darrell Jerry

Founded in 1975, Obsidian supports—through publication and critical inquiry—the contemporary poetry, fiction, drama/performance, visual and media art of Africans globally. Recognized by the National Endowment of the Arts as one of the premier journals dedicated to Africa and African Diaspora Literatures, Obsidian is published biannually in print and year-round online at https://obsidianlit.org and hosted by Illinois State University.

This special issue of Obsidian: Literature & Arts in the African Diaspora celebrates the brilliance and legacy of US-based, historically Black colleges and universities. Since the Civil War, HBCUs and land-grant colleges have sustained spaces that nurture and value the creative, intellectual, and economic growth of Black students from throughout the diaspora. Obsidian recognizes that these historic institutions produce some of the most gifted Black artists and thinkers contributing to world thought today. We wish to honor and preserve the vital work of these institutions, just as they safeguard the tradition and future of Black art and letters.

We invite original short stories, poetry, drama, creative nonfiction/essays, scholarship, interviews, multimedia visual and digital art, as well as music and experimental soundscapes, created by people of the African Diaspora affiliated with historically Black colleges and universities for this special issue.

Direct inquiries to HBCUFutures@gmail.com

Submission Deadlines

Scholarly abstracts: January 15, 2021

Creative works: March 15, 2021

Guidelines for Submissions

For all submissions, include a short cover letter noting the title(s) of the work(s) submitted and citing major publications and awards, as well as any association or past correspondence with a guest or staff editor. Also include a fifty-word bio including the HBCU where you are or were a student or a current faculty member.

Manuscript Guidelines

  • Upload your text submission as a Word (DOC, DOCX), portable document format/PDF (PDF) or rich-text format (RTF) file. No Pages, TXT, or Open Office Documents. 
  • Typed, double-spaced (poetry may be single-spaced) pages. 
  • Numbered pages. 
  • Submissions should follow the Chicago Style for grammar and MLA format for citations and works cited, when applicable.  
  • Margins should be set at no less than 1” and no greater than 1.5”. 
  • Poetry: submit up to five (5) poems totaling no more than eight (8) pages. 
  • Fiction, Hybrid genre and critical essays:  12-point font. No more than twenty (20) pages or 5000 words (whichever is achieved first). Excerpts of longer works are welcome if self-contained.  
  • Drama/Performance: submit one act or a collection of short scenes no longer than twenty pages (20) following Samuel French or the Dramatists Guild suggested formatting. Excerpts of longer works are welcome if self-contained. Translations are welcome if permission has been granted.

Image Submission Guidelines

  • Submit up to five (5) images totaling no more than 15 MB. 
  • Upload your submission(s) as JPG or TIFF file(s) (TIFF preferred) in 300 ppi at the size(s) intended to be used (6" x 9").   
  • Specify the orientation the image(s) as portrait or landscape.

Audio Submission Guidelines

  • Submit up to five (5) sound files totaling no more than 30 MB. 
  • Upload your submission(s) as MP3 or WAV file(s)   

Video & Media Arts Submission Guidelines

  • Submit up to three (3) video and/or gaming files totaling no more than 800 MB. 
  • Upload your submission(s) as M4V, MP4, MPG, AVI, or MOV files, SWF, Graphics Interchange Format (GIF), UNITY game files, and HTML5 (with or without CSS and JavaScript markup).    
We use Submittable to accept and review our submissions.