By Maureen Honey
Most appearing for the first time since their original publication, the materials in Bitter Fruit feature black women operating technical machinery, working in army uniforms, entertaining audiences, and pursuing an education. The articles praise the women's accomplishments as pioneers working toward racial equality; the fiction and poetry depict female characters in roles other than domestic servants and give voice to the bitterness arising from discrimination that many women felt.
This anthology contains works from more than one hundred writers, the majority of them African American. Of particular note are poems and short stories anthologized for the first time, including Ann Perry's first story, Octavia Wynbush's last work of fiction, and three poems by Harlem Renaissance writer Georgia Douglas Johnson. Uniting these various writers was their desire to write in the midst of a worldwide military conflict with dramatic potential for ending segregation and opening doors forwomen at home.
Traditional anthologies of African American literature jump from the Harlem Renaissance to the 1960s with little or no reference to the decades in between. Bitter Fruit not only illuminates the literature of these decades but also presents an image of b