It Is the Contradictions that Make Him Interesting: Exploring the Many Minds of Richard T. Gibson


ACLS HBCU Faculty Grants


English, Humanities, and Foreign Languages


The title of Jefferson Morley’s Newsweek article about Richard T. Gibson captures his predicament: “CIA Reveals Name of Former Spy in JFK Files—And He’s Still Alive.” Unafforded a posthumous reveal, Gibson meets his disclosure head-on by choosing to house his papers at The George Washington University in Washington, DC, a fitting place given his story. In researching the archives, the central question explored is how can we make space for those who have caused harm? The author/literary critic, black culturalist/black nationalist, and CIA spy are fused for Gibson. Unsoldering them allows us to look closer at their individual parts, providing a fresh approach to understanding Gibson’s place in literary and intellectual history.