Publication date:15 May 2018
Length of book:272 pages
PublisherPenn State University Press
Poet, columnist, artist, and fiction writer Gwendolyn Bennett is considered by many to have been one of the youngest leaders of the Harlem Renaissance and a strong advocate for racial pride and the rights of African American women. Heroine of the Harlem Renaissance and Beyond presents key selections of her published and unpublished writings and artwork in one volume.
From poems, short stories, and reviews to letters, journal entries, and art, this collection showcases Bennett’s diverse and insightful body of work and rightfully places her alongside her contemporaries in the Harlem Renaissance—figures such as Zora Neale Hurston, Langston Hughes, and Countee Cullen. It includes selections from her monthly column “The Ebony Flute,” published in Opportunity, the magazine of the National Urban League, as well as newly uncovered post-1928 work that proves definitively that Bennett continued writing throughout the following two decades. Bennett’s correspondence with canonical figures from the period, her influence on Harlem arts institutions, and her political writings, reviews, and articles show her deep connection to and lasting influence on the movement that shaped her early career.
An indispensable introduction to one of the era’s most prolific and passionate minds, this reevaluation of Bennett’s life and work deepens our understanding of the Harlem Renaissance and enriches the world of American letters. It will be of special value to scholars and readers interested in African American literature and art and American history and cultural studies.
—Cary Nelson, author of Repression and Recovery: Modern American Poetry and the Politics of Cultural Memory, 1910–1945