In “Callaloo: Journal of Necessity,” Charles Henry Rowell discusses the origin of Callaloo journal and how it became an international journal over time. When the journal was first created, Rowell explained that the goal was to create and provide a publication outlet for the Black South, which ended up being this journal’s central community. Rowell explains this further by stating, “we have remained especially vigilant in our goal to identify, nurture, encourage, and publish new and emerging Southern writers, for our first commitment is to our own community, the Black South” (Rowell 55). Although Rowell created Callaloo as a means to support southern Black writers that were ultimately dominated and silenced by white only periodicals, he began to realize that there are a plethora of other writers in different countries and cultures that are also oppressed. Still, the Black South remains Callaloo’s primary community. However, by going to other places and publishing writers’ work, like from the Caribbean for example, Rowell is helping out other communities around him, even if they are not his community. In a way, community in this aspect is all about helping others – helping your community and helping another’s community.
Another article we read in class also focused on community, but the main focus was on gender as opposed to race. In “Vida: An Interview with Erin Belieu,” women discuss the impact of gender inequality within the publishing industry. The creation of VIDA occurred because people started to actually talk about the fact that women are constantly rejected and turned down compared to their male counterparts. VIDA, then, is a community filled with female writers of contemporary literature. It is a way for women to encourage one another, or like Callaloo, it is way for them to help each other.
Although “community” is a term that often refers to a social group that share certain interests or commonalities, these essays show that it can also exist as a way for people to support and guide one another. In both essays, the authors demonstrate that communities can act as a safe place for people who are mistreated, and in the literary publishing industry, communities can aid in people speaking their minds and getting their voices heard.