(August 16, 1902-December 26, 1934)
Born in Salt Lake City, Utah
Harlem Renaissance author
Editor of the magazines 'Outlet,' 'The Looking Glass,' 'The Messenger,' 'World Tomorrow,' 'Fire!! Devoted to the Younger Negro Artists' and 'Harlem: A Forum of Negro Life'
Wrote the play 'Harlem' (1929) and the novels 'The Blacker the Berry' (1929) and 'Infants of the Spring' (1932)
Why he might be annoying
He was a pre-med student in college until he suffered a nervous breakdown.
Shortly after his arrival in Harlem, he was arrested for having sex with a male hairdresser in a subway station restroom.
His marriage to activist/professor Louise Thompson broke up in six months.
He said the Harlem Renaissance produced no outstanding literature.
He said that the Harlem Renaissance authors who became famous did so by letting themselves be exploited by whites.
He called himself and his fellow black authors 'the Niggerati.'
Searching for him on Google Images produces few pictures of him, but tons of Uma Thurman as Mia Wallace in 'Pulp Fiction.'
Why he might not be annoying
When he was a month old, his father abandoned the family; the two would not meet until Thurman was thirty.
His novel 'The Blacker the Berry' was the first to focus on prejudice within the black community against dark-skinned people.
He challenged the views of W.E.B> Du Bois and others who felt black literature should serve as propaganda for civil rights.
He felt literature should show the real lives of black people, both good and bad: 'The time has come when the Negro artist can be his true self and pander to the stupidities of no one, either black or white.'
The 'Saturday Review' wrote, 'No other Negro writer has so unflinchingly told the truth about color snobbery within the color line, the ins and outs of 'passing,' and other vagaries of prejudice.'
Credit: C. Fishel
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