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Stanley Crouch

writer

An outspoken writer and critic, Stanley Crouch attended two junior colleges in the Los Angeles area. While studying at the East Los Angeles Junior College, Crouch worked for a poverty program in East Los Angeles, teaching a literacy class. In August 1965, Crouch witnessed the Watts Riot firsthand. This experience radicalized Crouch and he became a African-American nationalist. From 1965 to 1967, Crouch was an actor-playwright in the Studio Watts Company. While there, Crouch discovered the writings of Ralph Ellison and Albert Murray, who became major influences in Crouch's thinking. This influence caused him to turn away from the African-American nationalist movement, finding it too reactionary. Crouch taught at the Claremont Colleges in California from 1968 to 1975 and moved to New York in 1975. For his first five years in New York, Crouch played the drums in an avant-garde jazz band and later worked as a staff writer for the Village Voice from 1979 to 1988. During this time, Crouch started to find his voice as a writer. Then, in the 1980s, he became the spokesperson for popular jazz trumpeter Wynton Marsalis. Crouch was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on May 21, 2001.