Paris Noir: Black Expatriate Writers Living and Writing in Paris with Literature Professor Michele Simms-Burton

Paris Noir: Black Expatriate Writers Living and Writing in Paris

A Politics & Prose Trip in May 2025 with Literature Professor Michele Simms-Burton

More information and dates to follow.

The trip is being pushed to May 2025 due to the Olympics in Paris.

Join former Howard University and University of Michigan professor Michele L. Simms-Burton for a lively and spirited tour of Black expatriate writers living and writing in Paris, France. Explore Black Parisian culture, stroll the streets and visit the cafes where these writers once walked and wrote, learn about their conflicts and resolutions, discover why they made a go of it in Paris, and examine why Black creatives once expatriated to Paris and continue to do so.

You’ll join other people who, like you, are readers and curious about the history of Black expatriate writers in Paris: old and new. We’ll walk the streets in Saint-Germain-des Prés where Richard Wright, James Baldwin, Chester Himes, Jessie Fausett, Gwendolyn Bennett, Claude McKay, Langston Hughes, Willian Gardner Smith, and Anna J. Cooper lived, wrote, cavorted in cafés, and attended classes.

We’ll visit Wright’s former home and his grave site at Père Lachaise Cemetery.

We’ll stop in at Les Deux Magots where a young James Baldwin and a seasoned Wright engaged in quarrel about Baldwin’s literary takedown of Wright’s novel Native Son. We’ll visit other establishments or sites where Wright, Baldwin, and Chester Himes wrote, held court, or ate like Café Tournon, Brasserie Lipp, Le Montana, Gordon Heath’s, and Inez Chavanaugh’s Chez Inez.

We’ll visit the Présence Africane bookstore, and we will discuss how the magazine and anti-colonial publishing house--founded in 1947 by Alioune Diop--and the Negritude movement influenced African American writers.

The tour will include insight into how these Black Expatriates engaged with other American expatriate writers like Gertrude Stein, Alice B. Tolkas, Anais Nin, Jean Paul Sartre, Andre Breton, Simone de Beauvoir, Henry Miller, and Ernest Hemingway. And of course we’ll go to a jazz club one evening.

Please email for more information.