Abstract

This article examines the interactions between the People's Republic of China (PRC) and African-American activists during the Cold War. Relying mostly on archival records and personal documents in English as well as Chinese, the article shows that the construction of the new “black bridge” was made possible because of the PRC's determination to achieve its policy objectives, the African-American activists' needs in fighting for racial equality, and the U.S. government's strict ban on travel to China. Both the PRC and the black activists were new to these transnational interactions, and they worked together in such an unprecedented manner that they redefined the nature and function of Sino-American cultural relations. The black bridge facilitated a limited flow of people and information but also carried misinformation that eventually led to greater misunderstanding and fiercer confrontation. The bridge began to fade in the late 1960s and early 1970s as Beijing was forced to readjust its policy toward the United States, which soon lifted its ban on travel to the PRC.

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