The Virginia G. Piper
Center for Creative Writing

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Photocollage of a black woman looking off into the distance with an image of Harriet Tubman and the lightrail behind her

Detail of "We Came From Somewhere … We Going Somewhere" by C. A. Hammons, mixed media collage on paper. Provided courtesy of the artist.

Indiscernibles in Arizona

Correcting history through the Black experience

Throughout the 20th century, over six million African Americans left the South for greater economic and social opportunities in the North, Midwest, and West. Despite the significant growth of the state’s African American population during this period, this Great Migration has had little acknowledgement in Arizona's history, leaving Black people and their stories in a state of indiscernability. 

As an attempt at a historical corrective, the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing is partnering with the Heritage Square Foundation and Emancipation Arts LLC to put out a call for essays from Black Arizonans sharing stories of where they came from and celebrating their enduring and thriving communities.

To learn more about the call for submissions, keep reading. The deadline for submissions is Monday, February 1, 2021. 

Submission Guidelines

In the early twentieth century, as segregationist and racist policies of Jim Crow were instituted across the country in the wake of the Civil War, over 6 million African Americans left the rural South for greater economic and social opportunities in what is commonly referred to as "The Great Migration". While this history is apparent across the Northeast and Midwest, the Great Migration has had little acknowledgment in the state of Arizona. At the same time, the rising prominence of Black voices in larger conversations around social justice and civil rights still belie material and social inequities. Where are opportunities for Black artists? Where do we encounter a Black footprint in the city? Where are Black narratives in Arizona's history? 

Call for Submissions

Attempting to correct this historical lack and engage citizens in a more inclusive conversation about Arizona's history, The Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing at Arizona State University is partnering with the Heritage Square Foundation and Emancipation Arts LLC to assemble Indiscernibles in Arizona, an athology of personal reflections, lyric essays, oral histories, and other forms of creative nonfiction from Black Arizona residents about their experience living, working, and existing in the state. 

While the call is relatively open, essays should respond to two central questions of The Great Migration—How did you come to Arizona? Why do you stay?—or other relevant subjects and themes. All forms of creative nonfiction are welcome. The anthology is open to Black individuals who are current or former residents of Arizona and have lived in the state for at least six months.

Submission Process

Submissions for Indiscernibles in Arizona will be collected through a simple online submissions form. (If you require other forms of access, contact Coordinator Senior Jake Friedman at 240.593.1757 or jake.friedman@asu.edu.) 

Formatting and Details

Before submitting, please make sure your work is formatted according to the following specifications:

  • Word Document: Save your work as a word document in .doc or .docx.
  • No Identifying Information: As submissions are blind, please make sure no names or other indentifying information appears anywhere in the document.
  • Standard Formatting: Format your work in 12 pt font with 1" margins and double spacing in a standard, legible font such as Times New Roman or Calibri with page numbers in the bottom right corner. Otherwise: format your work as it is intended to be read
  • Previously Published Okay: Previous publications are accepted. 
  • Any Length: There are no minimum or maximum word counts. Submissions may be of any length.
  • Creative Nonfiction: Short stories and poems will be not be accepted. Please submit oral histories, personal reflections, lyric essays, letters, conversations, or other forms of creative nonfiction.

Important Dates and Selection Process

The deadline for submissions is Monday, February 1, 2021 at 11:59 p.m. Phoenix MST. Submissions will be evaluated by a small committee of the partners based on the strength of the work. Individuals will be notified by April 1.

Compensation and Publication

Individuals who have their work selected for publication will be compensated their work. As compensation will come from a finite prize pool of $1,000, the actual compensation will depend on the number of individuals who are selected for publication, with a final amount not to exceed $100. Selected work will be published in a digital and print anthology. The anthology will be released in Summer 2021.   

Submit your work

About the Project

Indiscernibles in Arizona is part of The Great Migration in Arizona History, a multidisciplinary project that seeks to interpolate Black narratives into Arizona history for a more accurate and honest state chronicle, organized by the Heritage Square Foundation and Emancipation Arts LLC with support from Arizona Humanities.

To learn more about The Great Migration, you can visit Heritage Square's website. For questions about the anthology, reach out to Coordinator Senior Jake Friedman at 240.593.1757 or jake.friedman@asu.edu

Our Funders

Indiscernibles in Arizona and The Great Migration project are made possible by a project grant from Arizona Humanities, a statewide 501(c)3 nonprofit organization and the Arizona affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Since 1973, Arizona Humanities has supported public programs that promote understand of the human experience with cultural, educational, and nonprofit organizations across Arizona. To learn more about Arizona Humanities, visit their website at https://azhumanities.org/.

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