Harlem Renaissance Re-Examined

By Victor A. Kramer; Robert A. Russ | Go to book overview
Save to active project

"THE CANKER GALLS. . .," OR, THE SHORT PROMISING LIFE OF
WALLACE THURMAN

DANIEL WALDEN

Although New York City in the 1920s was for most whites a joyous, expanding metropolis, for many blacks, Wallace Thurman among them, it was a city of refuse, not a city of refuge. Growing up at a time when many Americans--after World War I--were eager to get back to what Warren Harding would call "normalcy," Thurman reached Harlem at the moment when white Americans looked to black America, north of 110th Street and along Lexington and Convent Avenues, as the bastion of primitivism and earthiness. Some whites came to gape, some to laugh, but many came to seek exuberant escape in the so-called exotic primitivism of Negro cabaret life. As Langston Hughes exclaimed in The Big Sea, "thousands of whites came to Harlem night after night, thinking the Negroes loved to have them there, and firmly believing that all Harlemites left their houses at sundown to sing and dance in cabarets, because most of the whites saw nothing but the cabarets, not the houses." 1

During these years, nearly all the black writers and artists drifted to New York. As might be expected, most were drawn by the promise of New York City as a center where art and literature would flourish. In Hughes' contemporary opinion, what was important was that black writers spoke their own words, their own truths, no matter whether blacks, or whites, were pleased or offended. For in this decade, publishers opened their doors to black authors and poets and artists. What was significant was that in New York City the NAACP, The Crisis, Opportunity, and several black newspapers flourished. As early as 1920, W.E.B. Du Bois pointed out, Claude McKay, Langston Hughes, Jean Toomer, Countee Cullen, Anne Spencer, Abram Harris and Jessie Fauset had already been published in The Crisis.

-229-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Harlem Renaissance Re-Examined
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 422

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?