"The award-winning novelist discusses the intersection of race, sexual identity, and science fiction. By Cecilia D’Anastasio"
Among the questions D'Anastasio asks is this one:
CD: You have said, “For better or for worse, I am often spoken of as the first African-American science-fiction writer.” What did you mean by that?
Delany has a long and interesting response. Here's a pull of a single paragraph in this response:
". . . . But another set of ghosts are needed to make our own discussion here make sense—ghosts who come from the genre (and I used the word advisedly) we call “the literary.” For an idea of how much literature has changed since I first entered the field as a writer in 1962, or perhaps when, in 1966, I attended my first science-fiction convention in Cleveland, consider first what the academy that gives us our sense of what literature is teaches today—and then consider how that differed from what it taught in 1967. In that year, there were no virtually black studies classes (much less programs or departments); there were no women’s studies classes or programs, and no gay studies or queer studies classes or programs."
After reading that paragraph, I sat and thought about it for a long time. This is called living history, and Delany is very aware of doing so. Even the universities today aren't what they were when black studies, women's studies, gay studies, etc. were founded.
Checking out the interview is worthy it just to see the the very fine James Hamiltonphoto-portrait of Delany that illustrates the interview at the top.