Eugene Bullard, Black Expatriate in Jazz-Age Paris

Craig Lloyd
With a new preface

A stirring account of how a multitalented African American man sought freedom abroad


"[An] unbelievable, Zelig-like tale . . . What makes it magical is the shear force of hope . . . in the face of hopelessness."
Athens Banner Herald

"There are plenty of reasons to read [Eugene Bullard]: not merely the rich details of Bullard's life, not merely the careful and thorough way in which Lloyd has researched and told his story, but also the things that story tells us about race, racism, and human courage."
Washington Post Book World

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Although he was the first African American fighter pilot, Eugene J. Bullard is still a relative stranger in his homeland. An accomplished professional boxer, musician, club manager, and impresario of Parisian nightlife between the world wars, Bullard found in Europe a degree of respect and freedom unknown to blacks in America. There, for twenty-five years, he helped define the expatriate experience for countless other African American artists, writers, performers, and athletes.

This is the first biography of Bullard in thirty years and the most complete ever. It follows Bullard's lifelong search for respect from his poor boyhood in Jim-Crow Georgia to his attainment of notoriety in Jazz-Age Paris and his exploits fighting for his adopted country, for which he was awarded the Croix de Guerre. Drawing on a vast amount of archival material in the United States, Great Britain, and France, Craig Lloyd unfolds the vibrant story of an African American who sought freedom overseas. Lloyd provides a new look at the black expatriate community in Paris, taking readers into the cabarets where Bullard rubbed elbows with Josephine Baker, Louis Armstrong, and even the Prince of Wales. Lloyd also uses Bullard's life as a lens through which to view the racism that continued to dog him even in Europe in his encounters with traveling Americans.

When Hitler conquered France, Bullard was wounded in action and then escaped to America. There, his European successes counted for little: he spent his last years in obscurity and hardship but continued to work for racial justice. Eugene Bullard, Black Expatriate in Jazz-Age Paris offers a fascinating look at an extraordinary man who lived on his own terms and adds a new facet to our understanding of the black diaspora.

Trim size: 6 x 9

Read more about Eugene Bullard at the New Georgia Encyclopedia.


List price: $26.95

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Craig Lloyd is a professor emeritus of history and former Director of Archives at Columbus State University.