Greetings, literature-loving Dharmenians! Last time we met over the wreckage of the Civil War and acid humor of one of its most famous veterans. This week we’ll stay in the United States, but jump ahead a few generations to an almost-forgotten writer who merits a closer look.
After World War I, black soldiers returning from the front were disgusted by the treatment they received from countrymen they’d fought and died defending. At the same time, black intellectuals like W.E.B DuBois and Alain Locke began to envision a cultural project that would elevate the African American experience in the eyes of its otherwise cultural oppressors, while political activists like Marcus Garvey brought pan-Africanism to the streets of New York. Throw in a sudden burst of artistic imagination and some seriously talented writers, and you’ve got all the ingredients for the Harlem Renaissance.
Today we’re going to talk about one of its most fascinating personalities.