Those with a painful history are apt either to forget or rewrite their history. While some, like talk-show host Steve “I don’t really care for slavery” Harvey, prefer to forget the painful past, there’s a growing literary trend in which writers are crafting an alternate past with the hope of shaping a better future.

“It’s not that we want to forget the past. We want to own the past,” said Walter Mosley, one of the most read American novelists at work today.

The author of more than three dozen fiction and nonfiction books, Mosley gained famed through his Easy Rawlins mysteries, including “Devil in a Blue Dress,” which was made into a motion picture starring Denzel Washington. Science fiction allows African American writers to tell often ignored stories, Mosley says.

“Black people — we built America. We weren’t just here. Knowing that has really become important. We have great scientists — George Washington Carver isn’t science fiction,” says Mosley, referring to the Tuskegee Institute scientist famous for his groundbreaking work with peanuts.

“We have to be able to appreciate the past with all the pain, all the struggle,” he says. “We need to do that. That’s why science-fiction writers have become our most important writers.”

That importance is reflected in Mosley’s invitation to lecture at Florida A&M University’s “Black to the Future” conference this week. The Seventh Annual Spring Literary Forum Series from Wednesday through Friday, is what organizers call a celebration of “Afrofuturism and Black Speculative Fiction.” read more…