Black Expressions

A poem written by Sheila Mack titled, A Tribute to Jackie Robinson, was published in the first issue of Northeastern’s African American student publication, The Onyx, dated November 3, 1972. Receiving more poems and believing that poetry is an important form of expression, The Onyx staff added a full page of poetry titled, Black Expressions, to the second issue of the newspaper. Black Expressions became a regular section, and The Onyx later received poems from Terri McMillan, now a renowned author and poet, and anti-war poems written by local, African American, teenage girls. Soon, Black Expressions required two full pages.

Tribute to Jackie Robinson
Black Expressions
Black Expressions Magazine

In January 1973, The Onyx announced its plans to publish a literary magazine, Black Expressions. Though The Onyx staff solicited criticisms, essays, reviews and short stories, they mainly received poetry, photographs and woodcuts from students at Northeastern, Emerson College, Boston University, and Tri-C Community College in Cleveland, Ohio; local community members; and Northeastern staff members. Joyce Clark, the paper’s managing editor, proposed that Black Expressions be a poetry magazine. After much work, Black Expressions went on sale in December 1973 for one dollar. A portion of the proceeds were sent to drought-stricken countries in West Africa. All the effort paid off when Black Expressions was mentioned in the April 1974 issue of Essence magazine.