W.E.B. Dubois, who with his 1920 short story “The Comet” may be the father of Afrofuturism. In “The Comet,” a valued black bank messenger emerges from a vault deep beneath the city to discover that he and the beautiful daughter of a white millionaire are the only people alive after poisonous gasses from a comet’s tail have killed the entire population of Manhattan, Harlem included. Written in, what was for DuBois, middlebrow prose, the story’s ending brings these two handsome people almost together as man and woman: “Silent, immovably, they saw each other face to face, eye to eye. Their souls lay naked to the night.” The story toys tantalizingly with sex across the color line, the great American fictional taboo. Suddenly, rapture is pierced by the honk of a car horn as the millionaire father and fiancee arrive from the uncontaminated suburbs. “I’ve always liked you people. If you ever want a job, call on me,” says the father as he hurries his daughter away from desecration and the city.