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      ‘Watching the Waters’: Tropic flows in the Harlem Renaissance, Black Internationalism and other currents

      research-article
      Radical Americas
      UCL Press
      Harlem Renaissance, New Negro, United States, Caribbean, trans-American, literature, culture, politics, radicalism, black arts
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            Abstract

            The ‘Harlem Renaissance’ is now a dominant term for what is commonly used to describe a cultural movement that emerged between the First and Second World Wars. The term became the hegemonic around the early 1970s, displacing similar, yet distinct, alternatives including the New Negro, the New Negro movement and the Negro/Black Renaissance.

            This essay traces a genealogy of such terms, metanarratives and historiographical currents. The aim here is to demonstrate how the hegemony of the term Harlem Renaissance is linked to its institutionalization as a subject and the rise of Black studies in the United States. The weighting of Harlem as a geographical reference point both localized and nationalized the subject area which resulted in a selective historiography and diminished the transnational dimensions of the New Negro and the Negro Renaissance. The framework is trans-American and the scope transnational, while the chronology covers an inner 1890s–1940s period, and a broad outer period which begins in 1701 and spans post-WWII writing. In marking these flows, this essay problematizes the notion of distinct political or cultural channels of the ‘movement’ or ‘movements’. Recent scholarship attentive to some of the limitations of earlier Harlem Renaissance studies has illustrated the intertwined relationship of political, often radical, and artistic-aesthetic aspects of early twentieth-century black cultural activity and the key role played by Caribbeans. Drawing on these insights, this essay outlines that the transnational aspects of a black-centred cultural phenomenon have been better understood through a greater emphasis on Caribbean cross-currents.

            Main article text

            The Harlem Renaissance serves as a now well-established category in the fields of US, Black and modernism studies. Sedimented in various ways, this term functions as a periodizing label or cultural descriptor with a considerable corpus of critical texts, library shelves and curricula dedicated to it. A late 1930s invention, the Harlem Renaissance typically functions retrospectively, describing a period capped by the years around the First World War and the Great Depression of the 1930s.1

            In the latter third of the twentieth century many scholars used the term Harlem Renaissance unquestioningly. In the last two decades, however, the appropriateness of this label as a descriptor has come into question. Part of this recent hesitation may stem from a growing awareness of the alternative names predating the familiar one which apparently describe similar or related phenomena, such as the New Negro Movement, the Negro/New Negro Renaissance and the New Crowd Negro. This awareness has led to a number of recent studies which invoke the contemporaneous term ‘New Negro’, draw on a wider geographical reach than Harlem and promote the idea of a black-led cultural development that is more cross-cultural, regionally diverse and internationalist than was previously conceived.

            Barbara Foley, William J. Maxwell and Rafael Dalleo are among recent scholars who place the New Negro Movement in dialogue with anti-colonialism and the radical left, reading socialism and communism as formative and not antithetical to the New Negro. Davarian Baldwin has argued that the ‘“Renaissance” actually provided only one small piece of a much larger New Negro sociocultural transformation’.2 Looking further south, Lara Putnam has examined the significance of ‘black internationalisms’ in print and popular culture across a migratory sphere of the Circum- or Greater Caribbean in ways that intersect with the work of Brent Hayes Edwards, Minkah Makalani and Winston James among others.3 A good proportion of these scholars could be said to share a suspicion of the ‘Renaissance’ – in either a Negro or Harlem mould – querying its signification at the time, its later historicization and its relation to its apparent rival, or cousin, the ‘New Negro’. Through this line of research, the New Negro movement and the Negro Renaissance are often read in broader terms than those set by the culturalist agenda of Alain Locke, who has been represented as the authority on both. Such work raises questions about the emergence and eventual dominance of the ‘Harlem Renaissance’ as a term and, further, suggests that some disaggregation is required between this designation and its rivals to understand their particular resonances, connections and disconnections.

            This essay aims to show how the hegemony of the Harlem Renaissance not only institutionalized a subject area, but also nationalized the ‘New Negro’, circumscribing a figure, etymologically associated, in its late seventeenth- and early eighteenth-century origins, with both New York and the Caribbean. One could argue that the ‘New Negro’ is an especially global and modern figure, marked terminologically and symbolically by the transatlantic ‘Middle Passage’ from Africa to the Americas and produced by contact with the latter. Worldly, dispersed across the American hemisphere and historically oppressed, the New Negro features in cultural discourse in ways which parallel the image of the ‘Negro toiler’ which proliferated in the 1920s and 1930s in the communist magazines the Negro Champion and the Negro Worker, which were organs of the American Negro Labor Congress and International Trade Union Committee for Negro Workers, respectively (Figure 1). Towering over the Americas, a muscular black man in overalls stands looking towards Africa, his broken chains draped over the US and Africa and in freefall over the Caribbean. The Negro toiler, like the New Negro, represents an international figure with trans-American contours; both represent beings in a world system punctuated by uneven development, growth and capital – both economic and cultural. As transcultural products of a global system of literary circulation, both serve as appropriate entry points for conjectures on world literature.

            In his introduction to What Is World Literature?, David Damrosch proposes that ‘world literature’ encompasses ‘all literary works that circulate beyond their culture of origin, either in translation or in their original language’.4 While Damrosch accepts that there is a difficulty in defining an original culture in places like India and Brazil that contain a ‘multiplicity’ of cultures, languages and peoples, world literature in his view is guided by ‘an elliptical refraction of national literatures’.5 Yet what Damrosch’s theorization of world literature does not fully account for is that which is cross-cultural at the outset. How might we define the figure of the ‘New Negro’ whose etymological and historical development involved Caribbean and North American cross-fertilization? If one takes the multiple manifestations of the New Negro that emerged in the black periodical press of the 1900s–1930s in the United States, to which many Caribbean writers contributed, are the cities of publication the cultural points of origin? Or are the authors’ homelands the ‘source’ material? It may be that a new mode of thinking about the ‘world’ in literary studies is necessary, whereby the focus is less on discrete origins and more on points of contact, cross-fertilization, translation and transculturation.

            In marking the internationalist routes of the New Negro, this essay takes its cue from a line of Claude McKay’s ‘Home Thoughts’ and traces a genealogy of terms, metanarratives and historiographical currents that preceded and coexisted with the Harlem Renaissance until its increasing dominance from the 1970s onwards.6 There is some overlap with Henry Louis Gates’s writing on the trope of a New Negro.7 However, the framework of the present essay is trans-American and transnational in scope and its chronology consists of an inner 1890s–1940s period and a broad outer period which begins in 1701 and covers post-WWII writing about an earlier black-led ‘movement’ until the present day.8 The essay follows George Hutchinson’s Bourdieusian call for an expansion of the ‘cultural field’ of the ‘movement’, even as it departs from Hutchinson’s argument that ‘American national identity’ was ‘the dominant problematic structuring the literary field relevant to the Harlem Renaissance’.9 As such, it engages in an enquiry into the rhetorical frameworks and historiographies that created subject categories like the Harlem Renaissance. Special attention is paid to the crosscurrents between Caribbean and US writers; the competition between variant terms; the role that Black studies served in the hegemony and institutionalization of the Harlem Renaissance and its fashioning in US nationalist terms. In charting these flows, this essay aims to problematize the notion of distinct political or cultural channels of the ‘movement’ or ‘movements’. It follows in the footsteps of work which makes the case that radical components of the ‘New Negro’ have often been downplayed and argues that the political, and consequentially radical, aspects of this cultural development were indivisible from its apparently cultural–aesthetic elements.10

            Scanning for the New Negro

            The term ‘New Negro’ emerged from the 1890s as a trope or metaphor, as noted by Henry Louis Gates, Jnr., and was associated in US circles with a Reconstruction-era black figure who was also a figurative reconstruction: a ‘new’ societal type, distinct from his or her ‘old’ enslaved black ancestors.11 The choice of labelling is significant, as these ‘new’ symbolic figures roughly fit with a whole range of ‘new’ categorizing labels – the ‘New’ century ushered in by the twentieth century, the ‘New Russia’ birthed by the October 1917 Revolution, the ‘New Woman’, ‘New Verse’ and ‘New Poetry’. The latter three terms are roots of what are now thought of as ‘feminism’ and ‘modernism’, dominant categories in the academy which, much like the ‘Harlem Renaissance’, really only came into prominent scholarly usage in the 1970s.12

            Studies tracing the etymological roots or tropic turns of the term ‘New Negro’ have overlooked one of its earliest occurrences in the New York journal of Charles Wolley.13 Assigned to New York as the first chaplain of the Church of England, Wolley kept the journal from 1678 to 1670 and published it in 1701, while in the city. His journal entry, which represents the use of the phrase in mid to late seventeenth-century English, outlines a New York–Caribbean paradigm which bears a faint echo of the cross-cultural dynamics of the 1920s New Negro: ‘In Barbados (new Negro’s [sic] i.e. such as cannot speak English) are bought for twelve or fourteen pound a head, but if they can speak English sixteen or seventeen pound’.14 The term was first used to refer to newly enslaved Africans and related very much to the ‘new’ condition or transformation of Africans as human beings into pieces of capital, epitomized in Wolley’s account by the focus on the price of the enslaved at the auction block.

            It was in the early to mid 1890s, however, that the term ‘New Negro’ took on a new meaning and the seeds of its revision from its colonial past were sown. This reworking of the term is traceable to two Christian missionary-orientated publications, the Christian Union and the American Missionary. In 1891, Henry H. Proctor asserted in the Christian Union that ‘he who treats the negro as any other than a man in all respects has no mission to the New Negro’, while in 1894 Reverend W. E. C. Wright wrote in The American Missionary of ‘Christian education in making a new Negro’ as the greatest change in the US South in ‘[t]hirty years’.15 A point rarely emphasized in studies is that the template for subsequent versions of the New Negro, whereby education and an increased desire for civil liberties were portrayed as key traits of this identity, emanated from Christian circles in New York.

            An 1895 editorial in the Cleveland Gazette reinforced these transformational aspects of the New Negro, referring to ‘a class of colored people, the “New Negro”, … who have arisen since the war, with education, refinement, and money’.16 This article laid emphasis on aspects of education, racial and social uplift and economic self-betterment, ideals which were central to the figure of the New Negro in Booker T. Washington’s joint editorial project with Fannie Barrier Williams and N. B. Wood, A New Negro for a New Century (1900). A compendium of black histories, biographies, journalism and heroic narratives, A New Negro links a new black identity with the new century. In its introduction, J. E. McBrady wrote of the modern-day ‘Negro’ as ‘far advanced over the Negro of 30 years ago’ and defined the book as cataloguing ‘the progressive life of the Afro-American people’.17 ‘Progressive’ features as a dominant keyword in A New Negro and, consequentially, the New Negro, a post-emancipation figure, is represented as a figure of racial and social uplift within a teleological framework of progress. The book presents a variety of uplift narratives with an emphasis on black military prowess in US wars (the 1898 Spanish–American war, the Philippine–American war and the US Civil War) alongside issues of slavery, rebellion, education, heroism and women. On the front cover, Booker T. Washington’s portrait sits above three rectangles which read ‘War and Peace’, ‘Education’ and ‘Our Woman’s Part’, illustrative of the three main branches of the text (Figure 2).

            The anthology’s focus on black heroism countered the implications of an 1899 article by Theodore Roosevelt in Scribner’s Magazine, in which he claimed that he drew a revolver to stop ‘colored infantrymen… drift[ing] to the rear’ during his Rough Riders campaign in Cuba. Roosevelt implied that the black soldiers were shirking their duty and it was only through his authoritative, manly action that their desertion was prevented.18 A New Negro walks a fine line between overt criticism and subtle corrective to Roosevelt’s article. In a chapter on Afro-American regulars in Cuba, Sergeant Presley Holliday recollected that the soldiers moving to the rear had been instructed to do so by their Lieutenant, undercutting Roosevelt’s claims of near-insubordination.19 In presenting the African-American soldier’s counter-narrative, A New Negro offers a patriotic illustration of African-American soldiers serving in the US Army, indicating its compilers’ aims to regain the symbolic ground lost to the soon-to-be president.

            The portraits of Booker T. Washington and Mrs. Booker T. Washington frame the start and close of A New Negro, respectively (Figure 2 and Figure 3). Standing as symbols of ‘progress’, the two figures also indicate that the New Negro at some level might be a family affair, whereby marriage and even ancestry are conducive to success. In the chapter ‘Fathers of the race’, a racial and ‘patrilineal history’ is constructed in which both men and women emerge unusually as fathers. So alongside Frederick Douglass and Toussaint L’Ouverture, Phillis Wheatley and Sojourner Truth feature as female ‘fathers’.20 A New Negro’s final two chapters, by Fannie Williams, on the Club Movement, focus on black US women and highlight the different social strata that comprise this group.21 Williams set out that the Afro-American woman was ‘the real new woman [my emphasis] in American life’ who had ‘succeeded in lifting herself… from the stain and meanness of slavery as if a century had elapsed since the day of emancipation’.22 Williams placed a clear distance between the New Negro woman and her enslaved counterpart, with the emancipation proclamation representing a kind of year zero in which her race’s entry into ‘civilization’ is initiated.23 It is on these grounds that Williams made the bold claim that the New Negro woman was the ‘real new woman’, the implication being that black American women were newer arrivals to more egalitarian and liberated modes of behaviour than their white counterparts.

            The New Negro Movement and its ripples

            In 1916, Hubert Harrison, a Crucian émigré and renowned Harlem radical, spoke of a ‘New Negro Manhood Movement’ and, in 1917, of a ‘New Negro Womenhood Movement’ and a ‘New Negro Movement’, the latter of which became his preferred term in succeeding years. In 1917, Harrison also launched the Liberty League and The Voice: A Newspaper for the New Negro, credited as ‘the first organization and the first newspaper of the New Negro Movement’.24 In the ‘Red Summer’ of 1919, as the Voice newspaper came to a close, Harrison founded another, the New Negro, which ran for just a year. Harrison’s movement was envisaged as a ‘race conscious, internationalist, mass-based movement’ and represented, in Harrison’s words, ‘a breaking away of the Negro masses from the grip of the old-time leaders’.25 In a 1917 article, ‘The New Policies for the New Negro’, Harrison stated that the ‘new Negro … is no longer begging or asking’ but rather ‘is demanding elective representation in Baltimore, Chicago and other places’. In this article, Harrison outlined an ‘Africa first’ position, later reprinted as ‘Race First’, based on ‘the Swadesha movement of India and the Sinn Fein movement of Ireland’.26 Taking inspiration from anti-colonial movements around the globe, Harrison petitioned for an independent party for black residents in the US.

            Harrison’s militant ‘race first’ outlook and rejection of accommodationism had a significant influence on Cyril Briggs, the Nevis-born founder of the African Blood Brotherhood (ABB), Marcus Garvey, the Jamaican leader of the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) and A. Philip Randolph and Chandler Owen, the editors of the socialist magazine the Messenger. Writing in the ABB magazine, the Crusader, in October 1919, Briggs eschewed the ‘Old Negro and his futile methods’. The ‘abject crawling and pleading’ of the ‘Old Negro’, Briggs argued, had done nothing for black civil liberties. The editorial placed the ‘New Negro’ at ‘the helm’, posing the following challenge: ‘[I]f the New Negro, imbibing the spirit of Liberty, is willing to suffer martyrdom for the Cause, then … the Old Negro can … stay in the background … [or] die a natural death’.27 In the May–June 1919 issue of the Messenger, A. Philip Randolph’s article ‘A New Crowd – A New Negro’ positioned the ‘New Crowd’ as a radical group opposed to ‘lynch-law … jimcrowism and disenfranchisement’ in opposition to a conservative ‘Old Crowd’.28 Three months later, the Messenger published a cartoon with the caption, ‘The “New Crowd Negro” Making America Safe for Himself’, in which a gun-toting black radical was taking self-defence into his own hands.29 A similar militancy entered Garvey’s editorials, as he asserted: ‘The new Negro is no coward. He is a man, and if he can die in France or Flanders for white men, he can die anywhere else, even behind prison bars, fighting for the cause of the race that needs assistance’.30 Outside of New York, New Negroes were the topic of the black Chicago press in January 1920, when the Chicago Defender rejected the ‘new’ status of black people even as it acknowledged their ‘awakened’ consciousness, and the left-leaning Chicago Whip defined ‘New Negroes’ as originators of new thought and as unreliant on white preconceptions of beauty.31 The repercussions were still being felt in the extended Caribbean seven years later, when the Jamaican-born journalist Sidney Young, for the West Indian section of the Panama American, wrote of the Negro’s ‘new awakening’, a shift which, in his eyes, due to residual social inequality called for greater recourse to ‘race’.32 It was Garvey more than anyone else, Young wrote later in 1927, who was responsible for this ‘colossal awakening, this stirring of the soul of a people’.33

            At the turn of the twentieth century, Washington, Williams and others used the label ‘New Negro’ to symbolize a liberated Afro-American distinct from an enslaved ancestor, emphasizing the cultural acquisitions and bourgeois status of this new figure. From around 1916 onwards, Harrison, Briggs, Domingo, Garvey, Randolph and Owen moulded the figure into a black radical, setting this icon against an old counterpart who was no longer an enslaved ancestor but an old ‘Negro’ leader. Within half a generation, Washington, W. E. B. Du Bois and others associated with an accommodationist, integrationist or gradual approach to civil liberties – however accurate or otherwise – had come to symbolize to Harlem’s black radicals out-of-touch ‘Old Negro’ leaders with outmoded or failed political agendas. This changing signification, facilitated by a significant number of Caribbeans, was deeply impacted by the First World War and the spread of anti-colonialism worldwide. In this revitalized narrative of the ‘New Negro’, the rise of various nationalist groups in Ireland, Mexico and India, and the success of the Bolshevik revolution in Russia, served as new milestones, while the experiences of returning black soldiers from the United States and the colonial Caribbean helped shift the battleground to issues of equality back home. The arguments of Lenin and Woodrow Wilson for self-determination, emerging over the 1914–1917 period from different political trajectories, also galvanized many in the New Negro camp. Collectively, this mixture of world events signalled new developments to Harrison and others in radical circles, ones which required new strategies and methods of approach.

            On the crest of the Negro Renaissance

            A later designation than the ‘New Negro’, the ‘Negro Renaissance’ originates from the Bostonian poet, anthologist and critic William Stanley Braithwaite, who wrote in customary a review of Mary Weston Fordham’s poetry for the Colored American Magazine in 1901: ‘We are at the commencement of a “Negroid” renaissance … that will have in time as much importance in literary history as the much spoken of and much praised Celtic and Canadian renaissance’.34

            Braithwaite’s coinage points toward a vision of a cultural awakening that is both literary and political.35 Its linkage to other emergent literary and intellectual phenomena, such as the Celtic Renaissance, at a time when the term Bengal Renaissance was also in use, suggests its transatlantic connection to other renaissances with anti-colonial, national and ethnic dimensions.36 A dichotomy exists at the heart of Braithwaite’s idea of this renaissance, as ‘racial pride’ and ‘disinterested’ cultural production are both envisaged as key to its growth, suggesting that while racial affirmation is important, no special claim should be made in terms of the distinction of its output based on race. Crucially, in Braithwaite’s vision, the renaissance is defined as a cultural form only just emerging into the light after centuries of oppression.37

            In the first issue of the Atlanta-based Voice of the Negro, published in January 1904, Max Barber, its socialist-leaning editor, defined the journal’s potential contribution as attaining the ‘vanguard of a higher culture and a new literature’. Its work, in his view, would be comparable with the products of the Italian Renaissance, which accomplished ‘the enfranchisement of the human mind from the most cruel tyranny’.38 The analogy underscores the notion of the renaissance as capable of achieving mental freedom under oppression. Five months later (perhaps with emancipatory matters still on his mind), Barber urged his readers to vote for the Socialist Party candidate Eugene Debs.39 In that same year, W. H. A. Moore wrote about a ‘New Negro Literary Movement’ in the African Methodist Episcopal Church’s Washington D.C.-based magazine, AME Church Review.40 Echoing aspects of discourse on the Negro Renaissance, Moore wrote that the ‘New Negro Literary Movement is not the note of a reawakening’, but rather ‘a halting, stammering voice touched with sadness and the pathos of yearning’. Accentuating the notion of the movement as a birth as opposed to a rebirth, Moore disavowed the comparison to a ‘Celtic revival’ on the basis that the New Negro Literary Movement, unlike its Celtic counterpart, was not a ‘potent’ literary influence. With language full of ‘promise’, this movement was, like Braithwaite’s renaissance, pregnant with possibility and still waiting to be born.41 Furthermore, it is perhaps the closest link that associates the New Negro terminologically with the spirit of the renaissance as an artistic–aesthetic phenomenon. The socialist undercurrent linking these writers who conceived of new literature for the New Negro suggests an interplay between class consciousness, social revolution and New Negro art and culture.

            In a 1912 London Morning Post review of Ethiopia Unbound (1911), a novel by the Gold Coast barrister Joseph Ephraim Casely Hayford, the anthropologist A. C. Haddon wrote: ‘We hope that this book may help towards a Negro renaissance, and that the black man may win his way to a position of respect among the races of the world’.42 In this white scholar’s conception, the Negro Renaissance was both an international and a prospective societal phenomenon. While the term ‘renaissance’ does not feature in Ethiopia Unbound, Casely Hayford’s novel, with its dedication ‘[t]o the sons of Ethiopia the world wide over’ and three chapters on ‘Race Emancipation’, purveys civil and nationalist aspirations for black people across the globe: ‘Afric’s sons in the East and the West can do peculiar service unto one another in the common cause of uplifting Ethiopia and placing her upon her feet among the nations’.43 Casely Hayford’s Pan-Africanist writing, through A. C. Haddon’s reading, suggests an underexplored early socio–political conception of the renaissance not dissimilar to that of the New Negro. His relative obscurity within Black studies is undoubtedly a by-product of the historiography of the Harlem Renaissance, which has tended to exclude outlier material – in this case produced outside Harlem and prior to the First World War – and emphasize the movement’s artistic dimensions, at the expense of social and political strains.

            The breaking of the Negro Renaissance

            The Negro Renaissance was spoken of as a cultural phenomenon with political dimensions from 1901, and defined in even broader societal or civilizational terms in the 1910s by A. C. Haddon and William Pickens.44 This period could be considered one of pregnancy, in which the Negro Renaissance, repeatedly referred to as a prospective event whose future was still uncertain, had a due date sometime in the near future. In a November 1918 editorial in the Crusader, Cyril Briggs stated the magazine’s dedication to the ‘solution of the “Negro Problem”, and to a renaissance of Negro power and culture throughout the world’.45 Representing a cultural outflow but also a political strength – however ambiguous – the renaissance, in Briggs’s eyes, was an aspirational, prospective political and cultural condition. Around 1919 and the early 1920s, a few spokespeople, such as Fenton Johnson, an African-American writer and educator, and Robert T. Kerlin, a white professor of English literature, made observations that indicated that the Negro Renaissance had materialized. Both spoke of it in the present tense, though the latter wrote of the renaissance figuratively: ‘There has been in these years a renaissance of the Negro soul, and poetry is one of its expressions’.46 Du Bois was more cautious in his 1920 assessment, writing that a ‘renaissance of American Negro literature is due’, but evidently neither a birth, nor even the process of labour, had begun. In his view, there were ‘too few writers’ on account of the ‘small market for their ideas among whites’.47 In 1922, three years after the ‘revolutionary crucible’ of 1919 which saw the creation of the Communist International and Garvey’s Black Star Line, William Ferris equated the Negro Renaissance with ‘the rise and fall of the U.N.I.A.’, emphasizing the organization’s masculine revivalist ideology.48

            The years 1919 and 1920 represent an early phase in the deployment of the ‘Negro Renaissance’, with its manifestation or overdue status somewhat mixed between different signifiers along the cultural and socio–political axes. By the mid-1920s the ‘Negro Renaissance’ was more widely acknowledged as having arrived, with the publication of two landmark publications: a March 1925 special issue of Survey Graphic, entitled ‘Harlem, Mecca of the New Negro’, and a 1925 anthology, The New Negro: An Interpretation, published months later, both edited by the Rhodes Scholar and Havard-educated professor of philosophy, Alain LeRoy Locke.

            On 4 March 1924, Charles S. Johnson, the founding editor of the journal Opportunity, started a year before, met with a literary group in Harlem who became known as the Writers’ Guild, and subsequently wrote to Locke to propose ‘that something be done to mark the growing self-consciousness of this newer school of writers’. Johnson intimated that the launch of Jessie Fauset’s novel There Is Confusion was a ‘desirable’ date for the event, though the ulterior purpose of the gathering was to ‘include as many of the new school of writers as possible’. Johnson wrote to sound out Locke on the group’s proposal that he act as ‘Master of Ceremonies for the “Movement”’.49

            Locke quickly agreed to act as ‘Dean’ of the ‘movement’, and Johnson invited black and white intelligentsia to a major ‘coming-out’ dinner on 21 March 1924 at the Civic Club in lower Manhattan, one of the few downtown venues open to an interracial gathering.50 Attendees included important luminaries, such as W. E. B. Du Bois, Eugene O’Neill, H. L. Mencken, Joel Spingarn and Nation columnist Heywood Broun, while speeches were given by Carl Van Doren, Albert Barnes, Horace Liveright, James Weldon Johnson, Georgia Douglas Johnson, Countee Cullen and Gwendolyn Bennett.51

            Crucially, the night resulted in Paul Kellogg approaching Locke with the proposal, which the latter accepted, of his guest editing a special issue of Survey Graphic.52 Started in 1921, Survey Graphic was a rich illustrative sister publication of The Survey which had been established in 1909 as the rebranded version of two merged journals, Charities and Common Ground. While The Survey focused specifically on matters of social work and practice, Survey Graphic was geared towards sociological matters and a broad audience. Since the early 1920s, Survey Graphic had produced special issues on cultural nationalist movements, including the ‘New Ireland’, the ‘New Russia’ and the ‘New Mexico’.53 Featuring writing from the Harlem-based Writers’ Guild, the issue that Locke edited made Harlem its focus. Published in 1925, a year after the Mexican issue, the Harlem issue was a runaway success. A total of 42,000 copies were sold, more than double its regular circulation, making it the best selling issue in the magazine’s history.54

            Even prior to the release of Survey Graphic’s Harlem issue, Albert Boni secured the rights to republish material from the issue in book form with Locke as editor, a proposal which was realized with the publication of The New Negro: An Interpretation in late 1925. The New Negro expanded on what was a small section of poetry and short fiction by Du Bois and Rudolph Fisher in the 80-page issue, with over half of its 450 pages dedicated to fiction, poetry and drama. While Langston Hughes and Countee Cullen were the main Harlem Writers’ Guild authors featured in the Survey Graphic issue, The New Negro included more of its members’ writing – with contributions from Eric Walrond, Helene Johnson, Gwendolyn Bennett and Bruce Nugent. While mid-career and senior black writers like James Weldon Johnson, Claude McKay and Du Bois were staples in both texts, the number of white contributors was reduced from four to three, as Konrad Bercovici and Winthrop Lane were dropped and Paul Kellogg added. Locke also increased the number of heavyweight and senior black contributors in the anthology, as Robert R. Moton – Booker T. Washington’s successor at the Tuskegee Institute – the sociologist E. Franklin Frazier and William S. Braithwaite – Locke’s friend and, appropriately, the originator of the concept of the Negro Renaissance – were all included. The success of the Harlem issue undoubtedly led to an uptake of notable black spokespeople wanting representation in the anthology. Still relatively early in his career as a black cultural commentator and sacked from Howard University in the summer of 1925, Locke could ill afford to alienate any potential allies.55

            The New Negro exhibited a shift in content, from the sociological focus of its earlier incarnation in Survey Graphic to a more ‘literary’ publication, and registers a shift away from Harlem and towards a broader examination of the ‘Negro’. In both the Survey Graphic issue and The New Negro, Harlem is presented as a centrifugal locale for black people around the globe: ‘a race capital’ and ‘the home of the Negro’s “Zionism”’.56 Where the magazine leads with ‘Harlem’ and segues into ‘Enter the New Negro’, Locke amalgamated the two in the eponymous opening essay of The New Negro, foregrounding this new black figure in the anthology.

            In Survey Graphic, Winold Reiss’s illustrations of ‘Harlem Types’ open with a typology of a disembodied black head with big afro hair, entitled, ‘Congo: a familiar of the New York studios’, and close with the respectable image of ‘a college lad’ (Figure 4 and Figure 5).57 These types convey a teleology of progress from wild Afro-New Yorker to university educated sophisticate. In The New Negro, several of Reiss’s types are cut and replaced with colour portraits of notable figures – Alain Locke, Jean Toomer, Countee Cullen, W. E. B. Du Bois and others. This signals a shift from the generalities of type to individual representatives who were eminent, university educated and might be taken for models of what Du Bois had coined as the ‘Talented Tenth’ (Figure 6, Figure 7 and Figure 8). Locke and Du Bois were both graduates of Harvard and well-travelled; Locke had studied at both the University of Oxford and the University of Berlin on a Rhodes scholarship, following in the footsteps of Du Bois, who had preceded him on a fellowship to the University of Berlin. Visually speaking, the transition from Survey Graphic to The New Negro marks a transition from sociologically commonplace figures to literary or intellectual elites, from the subjects of art and culture to their producers and connoisseurs.

            In The New Negro’s foreword, Locke wrote of the collection’s turn towards ‘artistic self-expression of the Negro to-day a new figure on the national canvas and a new force in the foreground of affairs’. Locke pivoted between a cosmopolitan, internationalist framing of Harlem and a nationalist cultural pluralism in which the ‘self-expression’ and ‘self-determination’ of the ‘Negro’ are closely entwined with the ‘national canvas’ of the United States. Laying especial emphasis on the ‘gifts’ of black culture to a heterogeneous, national culture, The New Negro accents the importance of cultural pluralism – a concept which had gained prominence through the work of anthropologist Franz Boas and sociologist Robert E. Park among others. With a nod to the gifts bestowed by pluralism, Locke wrote of black literature in analogous terms to the New Negro; both emerge as sub-national entities before passing on national and potentially international contributions. Beginning life within ‘the main stream’ of ‘the special channels of “race literature” and “race” journalism’ and gradually gathering ‘momentum’, black writing is eventually ‘taken up into the general journalistic, literary and artistic agencies’.58

            In the Survey Graphic issue, the opening essay, ‘Harlem’, features as the source of the renaissance: ‘The special significance that today stamps it [Harlem] as the sign and center of the renaissance of a people lies, however, layers deep under the Harlem that many know but few have begun to understand’.59 Often thought to be the sole authorship of Locke, this sentence, opening the second paragraph, may have been written by Paul Kellogg, who according to correspondence between Locke and Kellogg apparently added ‘a generous and fine paragraph’ to Locke’s introduction.60 A year before the Harlem issue, the Mexico issue of Survey Graphic had included an article by Frank Tannenbaum which referred to the Mexican Renaissance.61 Whatever Kellogg’s role in authoring the opening of ‘Harlem’, Survey Graphic’s discourse on different renaissances places Locke’s article in dialogue with transnational ideas about cultural definition, nationalism and ethnicity.

            Locke’s Survey Graphic can also be placed in dialogue with a collaborative series of sketches and articles by Mexican illustrator Miguel Covarrubias and Guyanese-Barbadian-Panamanian émigré writer Eric Walrond, which featured in Vanity Fair in the mid-1920s.62 The December 1924 issue of Vanity Fair featured a two-page spread entitled ‘Enter, the New Negro, a Distinctive Type Recently Created by the Coloured Cabaret Belt in New York’. This most likely served as a reference to Locke’s opening essay in Survey Graphic, ‘Enter the New Negro’.63 While Locke’s essay would not be published until March 1925, Walrond most likely knew of or had read Locke’s essay before publication. In a similar vein to Locke’s and his predecessors’ focus on the New Negro, the Vanity Fair sketch casts off the shackles of the Old Negro – a stereotypical figure from the past, as its subtitle makes clear: ‘Exit, the Coloured Crooner of Lullabys, the Cotton-Picker, the Mammy Singer and the Darky Banjo-Player, for so Long Over-Exploited Figures on the American stage’. While the Old Negro is presented as an ‘over-exploited’ figure of the ‘American stage’, Walrond’s captions and Covarrubias’s illustrations stage a dramatic, cabaret-style introduction of the New Negro in New York. From the opening ‘Scene: “The Last Jump” Cabaret on a Saturday Night’ – which shows a couple, Nick Fie and his lukewarm partner, a ‘teasin’ brown’, at a table – to a flamboyantly dressed, cock-hatted ‘Strutter’, Walrond and Covarrubias’s work is tonally and visually distinct from both the sociological types that feature in Survey Graphic and the reserved, educated and literary icons of The New Negro.64 Departing from ‘uplift’ discourse and the decorum of Locke’s editorial projects, Walrond and Covarrubias’s intermedial art challenges the literary framing of the renaissance, placing dance centre stage, an embodied, social phenomenon which brought together varied strata of society, high and low, in dancehalls throughout New York and beyond. In February 1925, Walrond and Covarrubias’s sketch ‘The Increasing Vogue of the Negro Revue on Broadway’ was published in Vanity Fair. The text inside a right-hand box, most likely written by Vanity Fair editor Frank Crowninshield, reads as follows: ‘Rich in song and folk lore, Harlem has become the Mecca not only of the Negro poet and creative artist but of the writer of the musical revue’.65 The reference to Harlem as Mecca, just a month prior to the publication of the Survey Graphic’s ‘Harlem, Mecca of the New Negro’ issue indicates the editorial team’s awareness of Locke’s title for the special issue. Walrond probably had the most knowledge of the special issue, as he had been commissioned to write an essay for it, ‘The Mirrors of Harlem’, which never materialized. He served as something of an ambassador for the young members of the Writers’ Guild to whom, alongside Jessie Fauset, the Civic Club dinner was partly dedicated. Drawn to the ‘eccentric’ and away from any ‘Christian prattle that has been heaped upon the Negro’, as he wrote to Locke, Walrond may have treated the December 1924 and February 1925 sketches as both a creative outlet and as something of a ‘first word’ on the framing of Harlem and the New Negro prior to Locke.66

            As an extension of their collaboration, Covarrubias illustrated Walrond’s story, ‘The Adventures of Kit Skyhead and Mistah Beauty: An All-Negro Evening in the Coloured Cabarets of New York’ and his article ‘Charleston, Hey! Hey! An Attempt to Trace the Origin of America’s Newest Dance Madness’.67 In both fiction and nonfiction, Walrond focused on the cabaret and dance as a black phenomenon which was reshaping American culture. In his article on the Charleston, Walrond, seeking the origins for the dance – which he did not discount as having Caribbean roots – asserted its ‘unmistakably … Negro origin’ and emergence from the black peasant experience in the Southern United States. In his view, it was destined ‘to revolutionise the art in America’.68 Collectively, Walrond and Covarrubias’s cabaret collaborations – which often involved Crowninshield’s framing or introductory editorial commentaries – represent a significant reference for Locke’s Survey Graphic and an undercurrent which rarely surfaces in historiographies of the renaissance. In an article published in the Pittsburgh Courier on 28 May 1927, Harrison critiqued the gaze of prurient whites seeking exotic encounters in ‘The cabaret … the earliest and easiest point of contact for these discoverers of “The New Negro”’ where ‘not only a great variety of “types”’ could be found, but also the ‘“genuine” Negro’. It was white interests in Harlem cabarets, according to Harrison, which fuelled the ‘“new” art for the New Negro’, leading ‘the colored cognoscenti’ astray. Walrond and Covarrubias are not mentioned by name, but Harrison’s article hints at the inter-artistic dynamic of what he called the ‘Cabaret School of Negro Literature’, alluding to its ‘application [in] … portrait painting and magazine illustrations … fiction and poetry’.69 A year later in The Crisis, Allison Davis, then a teacher of literature at the Hampton Institute, contended that the fascination with ‘the Harlem cabaret and night life’ and ‘a return to the African jungles’ were part of a primitivist artistic impulse. Davis laid the blame at the door of artist, socialite and patron of the arts Carl Van Vechten for bringing this movement to its ‘complete fruition’, just as he asserted that Claude McKay’s ‘Harlem Dancer’ had initiated ‘an unhealthy obsession’ among ‘young writers’.70 Davis also suggested that the cabaret influenced Cullen, Hughes, Rudolph Fisher, James Weldon Johnson, Covarrubbias and Winold Reiss – curiously leaving out Walrond from this list.

            While Harlem is the focal point in Walrond and Covarrubias’s intermedial art and clearly anchored to the New Negro in Locke’s Survey Graphic issue, Locke’s foreword in The New Negro announces both the arrival of the Negro Renaissance and the anthology’s manifestation of it in broad terms: ‘we speak of the offerings of this book embodying these ripening forces as culled from the first fruits of the Negro Renaissance’.71 In doing so, Locke firmly yoked the notion of the renaissance to the pre-existing terminology of the New Negro. Harlem in The New Negro is distinct from its rendition in Survey Graphic. Gone are the earlier comparisons to a ghetto which were only partially accepted by Locke in Survey Graphic.72

            If the Negro Renaissance required from Braithwaite’s early definition onwards both self-recognition and external recognition, then the Survey Graphic Harlem issue and The New Negro achieved this, receiving accolades from Marcus Garvey, Carl Van Doren, Joel Springarn, Carl Van Vechten, H. L. Mencken and the playwright Paul Green.73 Du Bois lauded the anthology as expressing ‘better than any book … in the last ten years the present state of thought and culture among American Negroes’, but also cautioned against what he saw as The New Negro’s pursuit of ‘Beauty rather than Propaganda’, which risked turning ‘the Negro Renaissance into decadence’.74 The print circuit extended to the Caribbean: on 28 March 1925, the Barbados Weekly Herald reproduced a 3 March article from the New York Sun about Locke’s forthcoming issue of Survey Graphic, with long excerpts from Alain Locke’s and James Weldon Johnson’s essays.75

            Terminological doubts and responses

            Locke’s 1925 editorial landmarks catalysed black literary production, prompting a variety of critical responses. In a June 1926 article, ‘The Negro-Art Hokum’, published in the Nation, George Schuyler undermined the very existence of the Negro Renaissance: ‘Eager apostles from Greenwich Village, Harlem … proclaimed a great renaissance of Negro art just around the corner waiting to be ushered on the scene. … Skeptics patiently waited. They still wait’. Schuyler’s main objection to the notion of the Negro Renaissance was that black American art is essentially European in influence and, more contentiously, that ‘the Aframerican is merely a lampblacked Anglo-Saxon’. However outré the expression, culture in Schuyler’s eyes was predicated upon regional rather than racial factors. The controversial nature of the article prompted the Nation’s editors to invite Langston Hughes to write a response piece on ‘Negro’ art the following week. Hughes’s submission would become one of his most well known essays, ‘The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain’.76 Schuyler’s influence is discernible in Gustavus Adolphus Stewart’s Social Forces article ‘The New Negro Hokum’, published two years after Schuyler’s. For Stewart, the New Negro had existed during slavery, while the Negro Renaissance was nothing ‘new’, but rather an overestimation of a gradual process of improved circumstances for black people.77

            Five months after Schuyler’s article was published, a group of black writers led by Wallace Thurman embarked on the publication of the radical journal Fire!! The creation of the journal may have been prompted by Locke’s attempts to represent black ‘folk’ in predominantly respectable ways, as its writers rejected the apparent propriety of Locke’s oeuvre. Visual codes link The New Negro and Fire!!, as Aaron Douglas supplied illustrations for both, though the content differs immeasurably, with the latter dealing in fictional portraits of prostitution, drug taking, sex, non-heteronormative sexuality and taboo breaking. As Douglas’s unpublished manifesto set out, the magazine was intended to represent new, younger New Negro artists: ‘We are all under thirty. … We espouse no new theories of racial advancement, socially, economically, or politically. … We are primarily and intensely devoted to art. We believe that the Negro is fundamentally, essentially different from their [sic] Nordic neighbors’.78 Unlike Locke’s projects, Thurman’s was an all black affair which advanced aesthetic, thematic and formally radical art even as it relied on last-minute patronage from a white peer, Carl Van Vechten.79

            Fire!! sold poorly, taking its toll on Thurman’s finances, and wound up operations after its first issue – consumed, so Hughes claimed, apocryphally in a fire.80 Most reviews in the black press were damning of the magazine. An elder statesman of the black literary establishment, Benjamin Brawley, felt the younger generation of writers exhibited in the magazine were ‘overpraised’ and brought the ‘so-called renaissance’ into doubt, as ‘their vulgarity … [was] mistaken for art’. He rebuked the younger generation’s apparent predilection for the sordid, a problem he related to the cabaret: ‘As the hectic, the reckless, or the vulgar became attractive, so did young authors tend to seek their themes in dives or cabarets or with ladies of easy virtue’. Ironically, Walrond, whose Vanity Fair work was deeply invested in the cabaret, garnered the highest praise for his short story collection, Tropic Death.81

            As one of the more tolerant reviewers of Fire!!, Locke offered tepid praise: ‘the youth section of the New Negro movement has marched off in a gay and self-confident manoeuvre of artistic secession’. For Locke, Fire!! was a ‘left-wing pivoting on Wilde and Beardsley’ and ‘more characteristic as an exhibit of unifying affinities in the psychology of contemporary youth than of any differentiating traits of a new Negro literary school’. Ironically, while Thurman’s group claimed an essentialist view of blackness and spurned white patronage, Locke found Fire!! lacking in terms of ‘racial’ distinction and, keen on hydrologic metaphors, judged its writers’ art to be submerged in murky waters: ‘The churning eddies of the young Negro mind in the revolt from conservatism … have not permitted this to come clearly and smoothly to the surface; one can only glimpse it in spots and feel it in the undercurrents … the racialism of this interesting young group is more of a drive than an arrival’.82

            Almost a year after the brief appearance of Fire!!, Thurman opined that ‘the results of the renaissance have been sad rather than satisfactory, in that critical standards have been ignored, and the measure of achievement has been racial rather than literary’.83 Sceptical of a focus on the ‘social’ and the belief that art can deliver social change, Thurman called for greater artistic freedom and qualitative discernment within the remit of the renaissance. In some respects, Thurman’s aspirations for the renaissance were a logical extension of Locke’s. Thurman desired more literariness and dismissed the role of the renaissance to affect social change. While espousing a kind of ‘art for art’s sake’ mantra, which on the surface appears depoliticizing, Thurman also argued for working-class representation which clearly challenged notions of the ‘Talented Tenth’ as espoused by Du Bois.84 In November 1928, Thurman produced the journal Harlem: A Forum of Negro Life, which was intended as a moderate successor to Fire!!. Like its predecessor, it lasted for just one issue.

            In a 1927 article ‘No Negro Literary Renaissance’, published in the Pittsburgh Courier, Hubert Harrison cast serious doubt on the Negro Renaissance. Arguing that the phenomenon was non-existent, Harrison instead asserted that a ‘stream of literary and artistic products … have flowed uninterruptedly from Negro writers from 1850 to the present’.85 Harrison also claimed in this article that white recognition fuelled this renaissance, insinuating that established black writers like Du Bois did not acknowledge such work until it had received white approval.86 This rejection of the term by Harrison anticipates later discourse about the different currents of the New Negro movement, including the notion that 1920s and 1930s black cultural production ought to be positioned in a long continuum.

            In a 1928 article, ‘La Bourgeousie Noire’, for the leftist Modern Quarterly, E. Franklin Frazier, who had contributed an article on Durham’s black economic advances to Locke’s The New Negro, did a volte-face on his attitudes towards bourgeois ideology. Critical of black radicals, the rising black middle class and the New Negro – typically viewed as a cultural figure – Frazier portrayed them as complicit in devaluing black economic advance. For Frazier, the ‘New Negro group’ had ‘restricted itself to the purely cultural in the narrow sense’, ignored ‘the Negro business man’ and ruled out competition ‘with the white man either politically or economically’.87

            Within three years of the publication of Locke’s Survey Graphic issue and The New Negro, a range of articles emerged, all undercutting the cultural relevance of the Negro Renaissance – with one questioning the validity of the New Negro. Added to this, a younger generation, represented by Thurman, Hurston and Hughes, seemed to be taking up where Walrond and Covarrubias had left off, suggesting an alternative modernist take on black art, one closer to the underbelly of peoples’ lives, unafraid to explore dives, cabarets, non hetero-normative sex and narcotics. Of the articles discussed, Thurman’s is the only one to directly reference Locke’s work, yet each implicitly responds to Locke’s cultural impact, prompting what modern scholars might term a ‘deconstructionist’ turn in writing about the Negro Renaissance and the New Negro. If in 1891, the New Negro and, ten years later, the Negro Renaissance, were being moulded or remoulded to represent something new, rising to a zenith in the mid-1920s, then by the late 1920s both were being written about as passing or suspect ephemera – as currents requiring critique or re-examination in a broad history of black, American and global cultural production. In short, as the fruits of the Negro Renaissance seemed to ripen and fall through Locke’s pioneering work among others, the ‘new dawn’ that the Renaissance supposedly represented was soon contested as a unique historical moment. Perhaps acknowledging such criticism, Locke, in the first of many retrospective annual reviews for the Opportunity, wrote in January 1929 of the previous year’s artistic output as ‘probably the floodtide of the present Negrophile movement’. As if pre-empting the disastrous effect of the Great Depression on the ‘movement’, he saw the interest in black writing as a likely ‘fad’ and argued that ‘[t]he real significance and potential power of the Negro renaissance may not reveal itself until after this reaction’. With the passing of the movement’s fashionable phase, he envisaged ‘a second hardier and richer crop’. Locke’s assessment acknowledges the limited success of the initial fruits of the ‘renaissance’ while adopting a hopeful tone with respect to successive harvests.88

            Harlem Influx: A school, a renaissance, a ghetto?

            By the early 1930s, Lloyd Morris and Martha Gruening, a journalist and assistant secretary to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in its early days, respectively, assessed the fruits of the renaissance with the distance that came with a new decade. Neither was entirely sceptical about the existence of the renaissance, yet neither was uncritical of its achievements. For Morris, the ‘contemporary Negro renaissance’ had made ‘a significant and interesting [cultural] contribution’, though it was ‘rather a renaissance of interest on the part of the white audience than a renaissance of production on the part of Negro artists’.89 Like Hubert Harrison, he stressed the longevity of black cultural production, making reference to a variety of black and mixed-race renaissance precursors, including Alexander Pushkin, Alexandre Dumas, Jupiter Hammond, Phillis Wheatley, Benjamin Banneker, William Wells Brown, Frederick Douglass and a figure of from an earlier renaissance, the sixteenth-century poet and Latin professor, Juan Latino.90 Similarly, Gruening, saw ‘some real achievement’ in the intervening years since Locke’s major 1925 publications, but argued that the ‘so-called Negro Renaissance … [had] been ballyhooed and exploited commercially and socially, until it has been … degraded into a racket’.91

            In her 1934 anthology, Negro, Nancy Cunard defined the ‘Negro Renaissance’ as ‘the literary movement of about 1925, now said to be at a halt’. The date suggests her probable linkage of the renaissance with Locke’s Survey Graphic issue and The New Negro; yet while Cunard raised the spectre of the renaissance’s close, she also cast doubt on this assumption, adding ‘one wonders on whose authority this is said’.92 In ‘Harlem Reviewed’ Cunard hypothesized that Harlem was the ‘so-called capital of the Negro world’, which reads as a paraphrase of Locke. In Cunard’s analysis, the Negro Renaissance and Harlem were connected, yet there are doubts about the former’s literary output to date. Where renaissance works represent the ‘bitter-sweet of Harlem’s glitter and heart-break’, Harlem itself resists such formulation.93 In an essay on the ‘American Moron’, Cunard wrote of the ‘“New Negro” movement’ as playing an educative role, ‘whereby Americans learnt with incredulous amazement that there is a distinct Negro literature’.94 If Locke’s The New Negro represents a cultural turn in both the spheres of New Negro and renaissance discourse towards the literary and aesthetic, then Cunard’s anthology – with its juxtaposition of disparate material and nods to montage and the scrapbook – points both towards the surreal, the ethnographic and communism.95

            Three years after the publication of Cunard’s Negro, the term ‘Harlem School/school’ was used by Sterling Brown and Richard Wright to describe both the writers who had emerged from Harlem’s literary scene and the characteristic style of the group’s work.96 Where Brown argued that the ‘Harlem School neglected the servitude … the drama of workday life’, Wright wrote dismissively in his manifesto-styled essay ‘Blueprint for Negro Writing’ of ‘the so-called Harlem school of expression’.97 In 1958, Robert Bone took up the term in The Negro Novel in America. For Bone the ‘Harlem School’ represented 1920s radical writers like Langston Hughes, Countee Cullen and Jean Toomer who ‘turned to the folk for their major characters and low-life milieu’.98 In doing this, Bone placed stylistic implications on aspects of Harlem literature, defining the Harlem School as more naturalistic and attuned to the black working class, distinct from the ‘rear-’ or ‘old guard’ who were more concerned with narratives of social uplift and reflective of bourgeois ideals.99

            In 1938 the words ‘New Negro’ and ‘Renaissance’ were amalgamated as a phrase in an article, ‘The Negro Literature Course’, by Fisk University graduate T. Thomas Fortune Fletcher, in The National Educational Outlook Among Negroes.100 Having apparently attended Alain Locke’s lectures while at Fisk, Fletcher looks back a decade to his early career as an English teacher and writes that ‘[t]he so-called “New Negro Renaissance” was in its ascendancy’.101 The term New Negro Renaissance is therefore something of a late arrival in renaissance discourse, rather than an early self-descriptor.102

            In early 1939, Alain Locke published an annual review of ‘Negro’ literature, entitled ‘The Negro: “New” or “Newer”’ in Opportunity. Here, Locke attempted to re-evaluate the New Negro legacy of the 1920s alongside the work of the newest ‘Negroes’, a comparison of roughly fifteen years or ‘half a generation’. He contended that the ‘“New Negro” movement’ had passed its ‘frothy adolescence’ and, rather than spawning a ‘counter-movement’, was now ‘matured’. An important consequence of this had led to a ‘deepening channel toward the mainstream of American literature and art as white and Negro artists in ever-increasing collaboration the growing interest in Negro life and subject matter’.103 Locke’s interest in this half-generational development had led to his planning a volume, provisionally titled The New Negro: Fifteen Years Later or The Newer Negro: 1939, which would include Richard Wright, a representative of the ‘Newer’ ‘Negroes’, alongside established New Negro writers like Hughes and Hurston.104

            Later in 1939, a June issue of The Commentator featured an article ‘Harlem Renaissance’, by Ollie Stewart, a prolific African-American journalist and war correspondent. Stewart’s article may stand as the first reference to the ‘Harlem Renaissance’ in print, as Langston Hughes – sometimes seen as the term’s originator – would not take up the term until a year later in The Big Sea.105 Cryptically, Stewart makes no reference in the body of his article to the Harlem Renaissance. It’s possible that the title had been suggested by the journal’s editors, Lowell Thomas and John B. Kennedy, or that he employed a term which was already in oral circulation if not in print. Whatever the rationale behind the title, his concerns in the article are largely socioeconomic, as is evident from the opening: ‘They say that every day in Harlem somebody gets murdered – gets shot, sliced with a switchblade knife or razor, or butted to death by a West Indian. This is a trifle misleading’.106 With a nod to the neighbourhood’s Caribbean inhabitants and their putative mode of attack (the headbutt), Stewart rejected the sensationalist claims of Harlem being a criminal hothouse, while partially accepting its ‘ghettoised’ condition.107 Registering the area’s ‘economic desperation’, he argued that ‘[a]bout 75 per cent of the Negroes who land in Harlem come from the most poverty-stricken, fear-ridden, disease-infested and opportunity-denied sections of the South and the West Indies’ and further described the neighbourhood as ‘a melting pot’ and ‘not all black’.108 Stewart’s ‘Harlem Renaissance’ comes into being in dialogue with the image of Harlem as a ghetto in which black migrants seek out the neighbourhood as a haven from economic hardship. The term, therefore, was possibly coined to counter the most sensationalist views of a ghettoized Harlem, which Stewart believed harmful to the area’s ‘meal ticket’.109

            Whether those soon to adopt the term Harlem Renaissance – principally Langston Hughes and Claude McKay – ever read Stewart’s article is difficult to ascertain. Established as a radio commentator’s news digest by wealthy New York patron Charles Shipman Payson, the Commentator, which merged with Scribner’s Magazine in November 1939, would not have been obvious reading material for either writer. Nevertheless, Ollie Stewart operated in a network which indicates some interconnection with Hughes; Stewart socialized with Hughes’s friends Richard Wright and Arna Bontemps in Paris after the Second World War, and like Hughes wrote for the Baltimore Afro-American. Hughes’s coverage of the Spanish Civil War through 1937–1938 overlaps with Stewart’s activities: he was the newspaper’s sports editor at the time and subsequently one of its chief foreign correspondents during the Second World War.110 The pair’s mutual professional and social spheres indicate that their paths might have crossed and that Hughes may have read Stewart’s article.111

            In his autobiography The Big Sea, published in August 1940, Hughes may have been acknowledging Stewart’s headline when he wrote: ‘That spring for me (and, I guess, all of us) was the end of the Harlem Renaissance. We were no longer in vogue, anyway, we Negroes’.112 Close on Hughes’s tail, McKay adopted the term in his nonfiction work, Harlem: Negro Metropolis, published just two months after Hughes’s autobiography: ‘The Harlem renaissance movement of the antic nineteen twenties was really inspired and kept alive by the interest and presence of white bohemians’.113

            A main current: When the Harlem Renaissance became hegemonic

            If the term Harlem Renaissance was known and in use in 1940, it did not initially dominate the lexicon. Reviewing Hughes’s autobiography both Ralph Ellison and Richard Wright adopted the term ‘Negro Renaissance’.114 It was not until around 1970 that the Harlem Renaissance emerged as a dominant descriptor, displacing various terms which had coexisted for around thirty years. While Hughes spoke of the Harlem Renaissance in his 1940 autobiography, he hesitated between this and the terms ‘Black Renaissance’, ‘Manhattan’s black Renaissance’, ‘New Negro Renaissance’, ‘the New Negro era’ and ‘the New Negro era in Harlem’.115 Similarly, McKay in 1940 alternated between the Harlem Renaissance and ‘the Negro Renaissance’.116

            The year 1947 saw the first publication of John Hope Franklin’s From Freedom to Slavery, which took as the title of its twenty-sixth chapter, ‘A Harlem Renaissance’.117 Like Hughes and McKay, Franklin vacillated between terms, writing that ‘the movement … has been variously called the “Harlem Renaissance”, the “Black Renaissance”, and the “New Negro Movement”’.118 The same year also saw the entry of the ‘Harlem Renaissance’ into the mainstream, with the publication of Arna Bontemps’ article ‘Heroes of the Harlem Renaissance’ in the Negro Digest. While Bontemps consistently applied ‘Harlem Renaissance’ as the cultural descriptor for the period and the movement, he referred to Countee Cullen and Langston Hughes as ‘new Negro’ poets.119 The unsettled nature of his naming could be seen as representative of a broad terminological trend over the post-war period and into the late 1960s, with the Harlem Renaissance gradually gaining the upper hand in scholarly and mainstream usage over a series of alternative overlapping terms.

            Locke’s death in 1954 prompted reflection on his legacy and the cultural developments of thirty years before. A year later, Howard University hosted an honorary conference for Locke, ‘The New Negro Thirty Years Afterward’, which was published as a memorial volume.120 Sterling Brown in his essay, ‘The New Negro in Literature (1925–1955)’, the longest contribution in the volume, made the observation that history had been unfair to Locke, noting that ‘biographers of eminent Negroes have commented only scantily on Alain Locke’. To counter this, Brown offered a challenge to conference delegates to make his ‘place [in history] even clearer’.121 He also questioned the notion of either the ‘Harlem Vogue’ or even a ‘renaissance’ as adequate descriptors in ways reminiscent of Hubert Harrison, who in 1927 argued against the concept of a Negro Renaissance:

            I have hesitated to use the term Negro Renaissance for several reasons: one is that the five or eight years generally allotted are short for the life-span of any ‘renaissance’. The term New Negro is not to me a group of writers centred in Harlem during the second half of the twenties. Most of the writers were not Harlemites; much of the best writing was not about Harlem, which was the show-window, the cashier’s till, but no more Negro America than New York is America. The New Negro has temporal roots in the past and special roots elsewhere in America, and the term has validity, it seems to me, only when considered to be a continuing tradition.122

            While omitting the term ‘Harlem Renaissance’, Brown drew attention to the inadequacies of this label, for its weighting of Harlem above all other geographies. He also asserted the disjunction between a ‘renaissance’ and a short periodization, emphasizing a ‘continuing tradition’. After Brown delivered his paper, professors John Hope Franklin, Charles S. Johnson and Rayford Logan held a discussion, ‘The Negro Renaissance and Its Sign’.123 Hearing of the talk from Johnson, Bontemps wrote to Hughes to relay the news of the ‘panel in DC … [where] the subject was the Harlem Renaissance’. Bontemps referred to Brown as ‘vocal heckler from the floor, denying that there was any such movement’, adding: ‘But young Negroes are increasingly intrigued by that era and the people who created it, and a little argument, I find, is all to the good’.124

            Bontemps continued to use ‘Harlem Renaissance’ in his correspondence with Hughes into the 1960s. Bontemps and Hughes adopted ‘Negro Renaissance’ with greater frequency, but in ways that made it interchangeable with the ‘Harlem Renaissance’.125 Hence, the Negro Renaissance – what for Locke had been a broad cultural phenomenon with a long chronology – is generally associated with Harlem in the 1920s and 1930s.126 In 1961, Arna Bontemps published another article on the ‘Harlem Renaissance’ in the Negro Digest, ironically titled ‘The New Black Renaissance’ – indicative of a lingering uncertainty about the name.127 In 1963, the illustrated quarterly magazine Freedomways ran with a summer issue, Harlem: A Community in Transition, which was also published as book by one of the magazine’s associate editors, John Henrik Clarke, the following year. Much of the focus is on Harlem’s ghettoization, however several of the articles discussed Harlem in the 1920s, an era which three of them referred to as the ‘Harlem Renaissance’. In one article, ‘Africa Conscious Harlem’, the Barbados-born socialist Richard B. Moore described ‘the Harlem Literary Renaissance’ developing in tandem with ‘the Garvey movement’. Another, by Langston Hughes, ‘My Early Days in Harlem’, adopts both ‘New Negro Renaissance’ and ‘Negro Renaissance’ – the latter being Hughes’s preferred term throughout his life despite his early use of the phrase ‘Harlem Renaissance’.128

            In 1971, literary critic Addison Gayle’s collection The Black Aesthetic was published. Often seen as the manifesto of the Black Arts Movement (BAM), it contained short selections from Locke, Hughes, Du Bois and Richard Wright.129 A year before, Gayle had sought to link the cultural outpouring of half a century before to a 1970s ‘renaissance’ in an article ‘The Harlem Renaissance: Towards a Black Aesthetic’, published in the Midcontinent American Studies Journal.130 In Gayle’s revisionist analysis, the earlier renaissance bore many ‘seeds’ resulting in two principal fruits, one peaceful and assimilationist, the other bellicose and nationalist. In Gayle’s recasting, Locke, Hughes, Jean Toomer and James Weldon Johnson became the precursors to a militant 1970s cultural nationalism in which assimilationist ‘American Negro’ writers were branded rather contentiously as ‘American’ writers in contrast to ‘Black’ (nationalist) writers.131

            In 1974, John Hope Franklin made substantial revisions to the fourth edition of From Slavery to Freedom, redaction that he found ‘extremely difficult’.132 The original 31 chapters were trimmed to 25 and a number of chapter titles were changed along with their content. As well as incorporating post-1970 research, the word black is used more frequently in place of ‘Negro’, with the chapter once called ‘The Negro Revolution’ changed to ‘The Black Revolution’. Significantly, the chapter once titled ‘A Harlem Renaissance’ became ‘The Harlem Renaissance’, marking a shift from an indefinite to a definite article, just as quote marks disappeared from references to the ‘Harlem Renaissance’, indicative of a new confidence in the term.133 Where a Harlem Renaissance might be read as one choice among several others, such as the New Negro movement or Negro Renaissance, the Harlem Renaissance suggests a kind of equivalence with the other terms, while its role as a chapter title also indicates its role as the dominant moniker. In addition to the title change, Franklin’s fourth edition onwards used the Harlem Renaissance to replace the Negro Renaissance in more instances than previous editions and made reference to Nathan Huggins, whose book Harlem Renaissance had been published three years before. While the fourth edition makes passing reference to Nathan Huggins, the fifth edition (1980) quotes him directly and includes Huggins’s Harlem Renaissance along with Harold Cruse’s The Crisis of the Negro Intellectual (1967) in its bibliographical notes to ‘The Harlem Renaissance’. In broad terms, the editorial decisions that lay behind Franklin’s fourth edition signal his response to critics like Huggins who were writing about the Harlem Renaissance, combined with a shift in terminology vis-à-vis black people that occurred in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

            A terminological drift from ‘Negro’ to black, evident in Franklin’s work among others, which runs parallel to the rising dominance of the term Harlem Renaissance and ultimately informs the emerging subject, is related in part to the institutionalization of Black studies. Developed in the wake of the civil rights movement of the 1960s, this field created subject matter, histories and curricula that required foundational narratives and frameworks. In early 1968, Yale held a Black studies symposium, while San Francisco State College began the first ever Black studies program the same year and founded the Africana Studies Department the year after.134 Cornell and Harvard shortly followed suit, the former establishing the Africana Studies and Research Center and the latter an Afro-American Studies program, both in 1969.135 These, along with a number of other Black studies departments and study programs, were established after waves of student activism and protest. The early iterations of Black studies departments indicate two pathways for the emerging field and its institutionalization, with Africana Studies suggestive of Black studies in a global sense and Afro-American studies of Black studies in a US sense. In a field soon populated by African-American scholars, the US aspects of such study unsurprisingly dominated.

            The late 1960s Black Power movement and BAM were key to a new embracing of the word ‘Black’ over ‘Negro’ – a word entangled with the racial codes of the plantation and Jim Crow. This preference may have inadvertently boosted the appeal of the ‘Harlem’ renaissance over its ‘Negro’ counterpart.136 In 1968, Amiri Baraka, in the same year that he underwent his name change as part of his conversion to Islam, co-edited Black Fire: An Anthology of Afro-American Writing and had his play Home on the Range performed at a benefit for the Black Panthers. In 1968, then, blackness was making significant cultural and political headway. In May 1970, the previously titled Negro Digest became Black World.137 Many participants in BAM saw in the black writing of half a century before a mirror or connection to their own period in history. Yet this was taking place as the term black was being nationalized in US circles, with both ‘negro’ and ‘black’ often equated with African American.

            In 1967, Harold Cruse’s The Crisis of the Negro Intellectual was published, an important work with a significant proportion of its pages dedicated to ‘Negro’ cultural production of the 1920s and 1930s and politics in Harlem. Crucially, Cruse adopted the term Harlem Renaissance to define a ‘Negro cultural movement’, using the phrase with far greater frequency than he did its pre-existing rivals ‘Negro renaissance’ and ‘new Negro movement’. Nevertheless, an early reference shows some hesitancy: ‘the Negro renaissance (often called the Harlem Renaissance)’.138 Four years later Nathan Huggins’s Harlem Renaissance was published, the first full-length work of its kind on the subject.139 Both books were influential in shaping Black studies and were informed by the scholars’ careers, which were entwined with Harlem.140

            Born in Petersburg, Virginia in 1916, Cruse moved with his father to New York during his formative years. Drawn to journalism and the theatre, he acted as an arts critic for a communist newspaper, the Daily Worker, dabbled with playwriting and worked as a technician for a Harlem YMCA drama group. Cruse served in the US Army during the Second World War and returned on the GI Bill, attending, but not graduating from, the City College of New York, located on a hill just west of Harlem’s St. Nicholas Park and referred to during a tumultuous period of student protest in 1969 as ‘Harlem University’.141 In 1953, Cruse left the Communist Party, claiming it ‘had no program for American blacks’. Throughout the 1950s and 1960s Cruse trafficked between Harlem and Lower East Side intellectual circles, travelling to Cuba in 1960 with John Henrik Clarke, Robert F. Williams and LeRoi Jones (later Amiri Baraka) and joining the latter’s short-lived Harlem-based Black Arts Repertory Theater as an instructor around its inception in 1965.142 The Crisis of the Negro Intellectual, however polemical and widely criticized today, dramatically altered Cruse’s career trajectory, leading to a lectureship in the History Department at the University of Michigan in 1968, where he would go on to establish the Center for Afro-American and African Studies. Cruse, like his book, was a product of Harlem and prone to put a Harlem-centric gloss on matters. In The Crisis, for example, Harlem is designated as a metonym for black America: ‘The way Harlem goes … so goes all black America’.143

            Like Cruse, Huggins served in the US Army and returned on the GI Bill, studying at Berkeley and completing his doctorate in history at Harvard in 1962. At some stage around the mid- to late 1960s, Huggins’s early research focus on American poverty and charitable institutions in the late nineteenth century switched to Harlem-centred black cultural history. This research move precipitated a career leap to Harlem, as in 1970 he gained a history professorship at Columbia, where he began to teach a course called ‘The Harlem Renaissance’. This step signalled the growth of a critical term into an academic subject, a trend dawning at other universities across the US around this time.144 In 1971, Huggins’s landmark book, Harlem Renaissance, was published to considerable critical acclaim, becoming a finalist for the National Book Award the following year.

            Both Huggins and Cruse were impacted by their experiences of living and teaching in Harlem and both envisaged what had often been represented in broader terms as a black renaissance or movement as a Harlem phenomenon. Five years after the publication of Harlem Renaissance, Huggins admitted reservations about the phraseology, which he later claimed ‘like other historical “watersheds” … is merely a convenient fiction’.145 Nevertheless, the text, as Arnold Rampersad has stated, ‘virtually invented a sub-field in American and African-American intellectual history’ and accordingly should be understood as initiating a paradigm shift in which the Harlem Renaissance not only began to dominate as a term, but also emerge as a discipline with its own historical codes, contours and vocabulary.146 John Hope Franklin’s fourth and fifth editions of From Slavery to Freedom can be read as his response to Huggins’s near invention of this field. Countless scholarly works followed incorporating the name, which was rapidly expanding as a field in its own right. Once the Harlem Renaissance had become the hegemonic term, then writers with a partial or non-existent connection to Harlem were no longer as visible within ‘the movement’ or cultural trend (whether ‘New Negro’, ‘New Negro movement’ or ‘Negro/black Renaissance’) with which they had been associated.

            A few scholars, such as Arthur Paul Davis and Michael W. Peplow bucked the trend, by preferring ‘New Negro’ as a term, asserting that it was ‘more historically accurate’, if less ‘fashionable’, than the Harlem Renaissance. However over the next few decades, the vast majority, even when opting for a New Negro/Negro label, did so while largely accepting that these choices were synonymous with the dominant moniker.147 In 1981, Knopf’s publication of David Levering Lewis’s When Harlem Was in Vogue sent the Harlem Renaissance beyond the academe into popular public discourse, shaping curatorial practices in museums and galleries.148 In 1987, Harlem’s Studio Museum organized a Harlem Renaissance exhibition and published an accompanying visual and essay-based exhibition catalogue, featuring an excerpted chapter from Lewis’s When Harlem Was in Vogue, ‘Home My Home’.149

            Looking for crosscurrents:Broadening the Harlem Renaissance

            From the 1970s onwards, the term Harlem Renaissance was commonly used ex post facto to define events of fifty years before. For example, Bontemps’s 1972 essay ‘The Awakening: A Memoir’ opens with ‘The Harlem Renaissance, so called, was publically recognized in March of 1924’.150 This hegemony of the term tended to operate in a number of ways: backdating the term’s existence and consequentially shaping historical narratives to fit the naming of the concept; nationalizing a phenomenon that had at different moments been imagined as transnational; relegating non-Harlem matters to the lesser channels of history; or redetermining the New Negro movement as one split into two currents, one political and the other cultural–aesthetic, with a Negro, New Negro or Harlem Renaissance very much associated with the latter.

            Harlem’s significance and attachment to an early twentieth-century, black-centred cultural development is undoubtedly important, but its reification in studies as a centre or centrifugal point is worth some reflection. While Locke partly contributed to Harlem’s hegemonic position in New Negro and Negro Renaissance discourse, defining the area as the heart of black ‘Zionism’ and a New Negro ‘Mecca’, he also wrote of Harlem as comprising ‘the African, the West Indian, the Negro American’.151 Locke hesitated, however, over presenting both the New Negro and Harlem as US entities, allowing in each case for the possibility of their transnational or cosmopolitan status: ‘we are now presenting the New Negro in a national and even international scope. Although there are few centers that can be pointed out approximating Harlem’s significance, the full significance of that even is a racial awakening on a national and perhaps even a world scale’.152 Locke also adopted a US vanguardist position, whereby African Americans stand as the ‘advance-guard’ of ‘rehabilitating the race’ worldwide.153 Nevertheless, even where strains of US cultural chauvinism are evident, Locke’s conceptualization of the New Negro is transnational, just as his view of the Negro Renaissance is one of interracial collaboration.

            By the 1940s, Locke’s trans-Americanism was particularly evident as he commissioned his Howard colleague and future Trinidad and Tobago premier Eric Williams to write The Negro in the Caribbean (1942) as part of the Bronze Booklet series, which was typically US focussed. That year Locke also emphasized the inevitability of closer US–Caribbean integration and a year later undertook a lecture series in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on a Pan-American theme.154 In Locke’s latter years, the Caribbean inflected both his internationalism and his Americanism.

            Thirty years after the publication of Locke’s The New Negro, Sterling Brown made an especial point of emphasizing that the geography of the New Negro extended beyond Harlem and was part of a ‘continuing tradition’. In his 1955 essay, Brown conceded that ‘the most frequent setting for New Negro fiction was the urban North’, while highlighting that a broad variety of writing on black topics had connections to the US South, the Caribbean and the world.155

            What is particularly striking about ‘New Negro’ discourse is its close concatenation with the Caribbean at different historical moments. From its seventeenth-century colonial roots, where in Wolley’s journal the ‘new Negro’ is associated with Barbados, through to its early reclamation in Booker T. Washington’s co-edited anthology A New Negro, in which the Haitian revolutionary Toussaint L’Ouverture, is defined as a father of the race, the Caribbean looms large. While the editors of A New Negro envisaged the book as a ‘national’ project, it presents a peculiarly trans-American outlook, with the Caribbean and US portrayed as allies against a European aggressor (Spain). However supportive its contributors and editors were of US intervention in the Caribbean and the Philippines, US militarism, a neighbourly Caribbean vulnerability and racial rhetoric combine in ways that present allegiances between Afro-Caribbeans and African Americans. Thus, alongside the lionization of ‘Afro-American’ soldiers serving in Cuba and Puerto Rico and Caribbean leaders in the Cuban war like Máximo Gómez and José Martí, the Cuban generals Antonio Maceo and Quintin Bandera receive especial praise as ‘the Phil Sheridan of the Cubans, the invincible mulatto leader’ and ‘the black thunderbolt’, respectively (Figure 9).156 In short, this early text on the New Negro illustrates how the figure was ineluctably bound up with Afro-Cubans and contained an ‘Afro-American’ vision that extended to the Caribbean.

            The Pan-Africanist Gold Coast intellectual J. E. Casely Hayford saw Caribbeans as playing a key role in the liberational struggles of black people internationally. Casely Hayford was a leading West African nationalist and disciple of the St. Thomas-born intellectual, Liberian ambassador and Pan-Africanist Edward Wilmot Blyden, who educated him in Sierra Leone. In Ethiopia Unbound, the protagonist Kwamankra extols Blyden, Casely Hayford’s real-life mentor, above Booker T. Washington and W. E. B. Du Bois, for his inclusivity and universalism.157 A longstanding friend of the Garveyite John E. Bruce, Casely Hayford was much admired in black radical circles in Harlem, receiving accolades from Hubert Harrison, Cyril Briggs, Marcus Garvey, Eric Walrond and William Ferris, among others. A leading member of the Hamitic League of the World (HLW) alongside Briggs, Casely Hayford publicly praised Garvey, who knighted him in 1922. His second wife, née Adelaide Smith, a Sierra Leonean of part Jamaican heritage, was also president of the women’s division of the UNIA branch in Freetown, Sierra Leone.158 Casely Hayford stands as an important node in a burgeoning network of Pan-African intellectuals, whereby his influence by and on Caribbeans was not only crucial to his own political development, but also formed a particular transoceanic exchange between the Gold Coast and the Caribbean.

            In 1916, William Pickens wrote of both the New Negro and a Negro Renaissance in internationalist terms informed by a particularly Pan-American perspective which included the Caribbean. In 1919, Fenton Johnson, a Midwest-born African American who had lived in New York City and taught in the South, wrote of Caribbeans and Caribbean-Americans as integral to the ‘Negro renaissance’ in his editorial for The Favorite Magazine, ‘Credit is Due the West Indian’. Praising Marcus Garvey and the comedian Bert Williams, both Jamaicans, and the critic William Stanley Braithwaite, whose father hailed from British Guiana, Johnson wrote:

            When the great day of our liberation comes, we will find the West Indian foremost in the ranks of those fighting with his armor on and his sword raised aloft. In fact, this Negro renaissance is due largely to the aggressive mind of our brother from the islands, and for it we thank him[.]

            Johnson’s inclusion of both Braithwaite, ‘the foremost living American critic’, and Marcus Garvey, ‘who has presented the world the magnificent plan of a Black Star’, situates the renaissance within the ambit of both politics and the arts.159 In the late teens and twenties of the twentieth century, African Americans like James Weldon Johnson, Du Bois, Alain Locke, Charles S. Johnson and Walter White also made reference to the significant contribution of Caribbeans to black culture and politics. Marcus Garvey features in many articles as a significant figure of interest, sometimes as an idol, but more often than not is defined by elite African-American writers as a demagogue; criticism became more acute in the run up to and following Garvey’s January 1922 arrest for mail fraud.

            The March 1924 Civic Club dinner, which fomented the Survey Graphic Harlem issue, included three Caribbean authors – Eric Walrond, Joel Rogers and Arthur Schomburg – all of whom Locke commissioned for the Survey Graphic issue and The New Negro.160 Though Walrond’s essay was dropped from the magazine, his story ‘The Palm Porch’ was included in the successor anthology.161 Among this trio, Walrond, who became business manager of Opportunity in August 1925, was heavily involved in the organization of the dinner. Caribbean contributors – three of whom had been at the opening event – were clearly represented in Locke’s Survey Graphic issue and The New Negro, yet Locke’s editorial control of the visual content of both publications indicates his desire to represent the New Negro as predominantly African American. Only one overtly Caribbean portrait, by the German artist Winold Reiss, features in both publications. Noticeably a ‘race type’ in black and white in both publications, as opposed to a ‘representative’ printed in colour in the anthology – in the vein of the illustrations of Du Bois, Locke, Johnson, Cullen and others – the portrait’s caption in Survey Graphic, ‘A Woman from the Virgin Islands’ became ‘From the Tropic Isles’ in The New Negro: An Interpretation (Figure 10).162 This translation turned the female figure into a vague tropical representative. Situated within Domingo’s revised essay on Caribbean migrants in the US, she might well have been associated in readers’ minds with the Caribbean, but could just as likely be a resident of the Cape Verde or Zanzibar archipelagos. It’s possible that Locke wanted to avoid reminding readers of the United States’ role in the annexation of the Virgin Islands and the imperial implications of his nation’s foreign policy. Survey Graphic featured a more covert Caribbean ‘type’ picture in ‘A college lad’, as the second-generation Barbadian Harold Jackman, a bon vivant and member of the Writers’ Guild, was the model for the illustration (Figure 5). Sojourning in Toulon and Paris in the mid-1920s, Claude McKay would not have been available for a sitting with Reiss and hence does not feature as a visual representative in The New Negro. Nevertheless, his work is referenced more than that of any other writers’ in the anthology, being quoted by Locke in the opening essay, ‘The New Negro’, as well as by W. S. Braithwaite and W. A. Domingo and featuring prominently in four sections of the text: ‘Negro Renaissance’, ‘Poetry’, ‘Music’ and ‘The New Scene’.

            While Locke’s ‘Harlem Number’ of Survey Graphic is generally read as a major ‘New Negro’ and ‘Renaissance’ document, its inter- and para-artistic connection to Walrond and Covarrubbias’s work complicates its status. Neither entirely sui generis nor wholly a product of the United States, the special issue operates in an ambiguous trans-American exchange with the inter-artistic work of tropical American émigrés Walrond and Covarrubbias. Alerting Vanity Fair readers to black dancers and dancehalls as opposed to literary doyens, Walrond and Covarrubias signposted a different entrepôt to the New Negro and one in which music was clearly a backdrop. While their work for Vanity Fair makes few references to the Caribbean, it may not have escaped either’s notice that one of Harlem’s prime music venues, the Renaissance Casino and Ballroom – perhaps the closest thing in semantic terms to the Harlem Renaissance in the 1920s – was owned by Caribbean businessmen and led by the Panama-born Andrade Vernon and his house band, which often comprised Caribbean musicians.163 Whatever their intentions, Walrond and Covarrubbias were both incorporated into the successor to Survey Graphic’s Harlem issue, The New Negro: An Interpretation. Their contribution upped the number of Caribbean contributors from four in Survey Graphic – Claude McKay, W. A. Domingo, Arturo (Arthur) Schomburg and J. A. Rogers – to five in the anthology or six if one includes Mexico as part of an extended Caribbean. The era’s most talked about black arts events and documents bore a significant Caribbean imprint and discursive praxis which often operated in trans-American and black internationalist modes.

            In his re-evaluation of the renaissance for Opportunity in January 1929, Locke notably held up Nella Larsen, Claude McKay and Rudolph Fisher as leading ‘representatives’ of the second wave of the ‘movement’ for their books Quicksand, Home to Harlem and Walls of Jericho, respectively. Their portraits take centre-spread over consecutive pages, while Du Bois and Van Vechten are dismissed. Locke’s aesthetic selection placed two authors of Caribbean descent with two novels featuring first- and second generation Caribbean migrants centre stage, as part of the ‘hardier’ second crop of the ‘Renaissance’.164

            By 1967, however, Harold Cruse had cast considerable doubt on the Caribbean component of the ‘Harlem Renaissance’. Labelling West Indians ‘Afro-British’, he argued that they were ‘conservatives fashioned in a British mold’ with ‘ “divided” loyalties’ who only became revolutionary when on US soil and had no real interest in either the American ‘Negro’ or with revolutionary action back home.165 Nathan Huggins, who had read Cruse, did not make such an ultra-nationalist argument, but nevertheless contended in 1970 that ‘the true Negro renaissance awaits Afro-Americans’ claiming their patria, their nativity’.166 In doing so, Huggins recast the renaissance as Braithwaite had done – as a cultural event over the horizon – and in patriotic terms not entirely distinct from Booker T. Washington. Huggins, however, was not consistent in his nationalized position, describing the Harlem Renaissance in 1976 as both ‘an important moment in the Afro-American experience’ and as part of ‘a worldwide phenomenon’.167

            Cruse was undoubtedly most responsible for nationalizing a phenomenon previously described with broad intercultural and transnational currents in US terms; Huggins, while acknowledging the global reach of this cultural development, nevertheless emphasized its US aspects. In 1976, Huggins also came up with a foundational notion, that ‘though black political radicalism subsided, the ‘New Negro’ lived on … the Harlem Renaissance seems to have been a channelling of energy from political and social criticism into poetry, fiction, music, and art’.168 This motif, of the renaissance diverting or siphoning off what had been a political current, informs the work of a number of scholars, including Henry Louis Gates and, more recently, Gene Andrew Jarrett, who have argued that the term ‘New Negro’ ‘implied a tension between strictly [my emphasis] political concerns and strictly [my emphasis] artistic concerns’.169 They contend that it is ‘[t]hrough Locke’s popular 1925 collections’ that ‘New Negro discourse shifted from political radicalism to romantic culturalism’ and that this ‘ideological turn within the New Negro movement pivoted on Locke’s hegemonic tropes of the “folk”’.170

            Broadly speaking, scholarship has looked upon the Negro or Harlem Renaissance post-Locke as a largely cultural affair, with its political ends blunted after the publication of the Survey Graphic Harlem issue and The New Negro. Gates’s and Jarrett’s proposition perpetuates this model, with Locke’s 1925 publications splitting what had been imagined as a movement of political dimensions into two currents, a mainstream aesthetic cultural one and a fading political undercurrent. Alternatively, one might argue that the apparently ‘cultural’ renaissance and the ‘political’ New Negro were always two distinct currents, running up against one another, converging and diverging; but this would necessitate a separation of terms which are more often than not thoroughly entangled. However, this layering of a new dominant current after 1925 spearheaded by Locke was not so certain in post-WWII histories up until the early 1970s, with John Hope Franklin’s From Slavery to Freedom (1948) and Harold Cruse’s The Crisis of the Negro Intellectual (1967) making little mention of Locke. Addison Gayle clearly looked back to Locke as a seed-bearer of the late 1960s and 1970s black cultural ‘renaissance’, but even in Gayle’s work his name is invoked alongside many others typically associated with the period: Hughes, McKay, Jean Toomer, James Weldon Johnson and Jessie Fauset.171

            Matters are not entirely clear-cut on consulting the archive either. Langston Hughes described Locke as one of three midwives of ‘New Negro literature’, alongside Charles S. Johnson and Jessie Fauset, but he did not define this literature as representative of the whole movement.172 Furthermore, when reviewing the period, the impact of Locke’s 1925 publications on a wider sphere of black publication was undoubtedly considerable, but not monolithic. Walrond and Covarrubias and the collective behind Fire!! moved against the current of writing by Locke, and Du Bois in particular, in an attempt to construct a new, bohemian-style modernist art and literature. The Messenger, which has been represented as having three phases – an early radical period (1917–1923), a cultural-aesthetic period (1923–1925) and a labour period (1925–1928) – initiated its cultural–aesthetic phase prior to Locke’s 1925 publications. In fact, the periodical entered a second political stage after 1925 on account of one of its main editors, A. Philip Randolph, joining the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters. Similarly, while Cyril Briggs’s Crusader magazine ceased publication in 1922, Briggs’s radical writing continued in the Negro Champion, organ of the communist-supported American Negro Labor Congress, from the mid-1920s, and in its successor the Liberator from 1929 until 1933. Contributing editors to the Negro Champion included the Barbadian Richard B. Moore, the Suranimese Otto Huiswoud and the Texan Lovett Ford-Whiteman, with the publication taking as its motto ‘The New Negro Acknowledges No “Superior’ Race”.173 The notion then that Locke’s 1925 publications shifted the New Negro movement en masse away from political signification seems chimerical, or only apparent, if one turns away from political black periodicals or black radicals like Hubert Harrison, who was still writing in 1927 (the year of his death) about New Negro demands to ‘take his future in his own hands’.174

            This severance of the New Negro movement into an aesthetic wing and a political wing is a product of its historiography, which has a bearing on the way that political material is read historically – seen as more of a weak pulse in the wake of Locke’s 1925 publications. This has a knock-on effect on the way that Caribbean radicals have been read, relegating them also to a slower current than the apparent mainstream, Locke-derived flow. Christopher Buck’s entry for ‘New Negro Movement’ in Leslie Alexander and Walter Rucker’s Encyclopedia of African American History is instructive in this respect:

            The New Negro movement should be distinguished from Hubert Harrison’s radicalist ‘new Negro manhood’ movement. … Harrison (d. 1927) edited the ephemeral New Negro magazine, but stood outside [my emphasis] the mainstream new Negro movement. Although it championed many of the political ideals of black activists of the time, the new Negro movement itself was not political [my emphasis].

            Alexander and Rucker’s entry situates Locke in the mainstream as ‘the effective leader of the new Negro movement’ and Hubert Harrison, founder of the New Negro Movement, as standing in a backwater or perhaps on the bank, watching history go by, outside of the predominant current.175 This raises significant questions about who exactly was mainstream and within which particular New Negro movement. The assertion of an apparently apolitical New Negro literary movement and political Harrisonian movement does little justice to the broader cultural outpouring which contained both literary and political aspects. Organizations like the Negro Society for Historical Research indicate a degree of interconnectedness between Locke’s circle and a sphere of radicals like Marcus Garvey, Hubert Harrison and others. Headed by John Edward Bruce (‘Bruce Grit’), who became Garvey’s secretary, and Arthur Schomburg, a Garvey sympathizer, the society included Alain Locke and Du Bois as corresponding members. It was following a lecture by Locke to the society in December 1911 that Bruce and Locke became more closely acquainted and the latter could count himself among several distinguished guests, including Harrison and Schomburg, to Bruce’s home, Sunny Slope Farm, in Yonkers.176 Locke also had articles republished in Garvey’s Negro World.177 Significantly, the original plan of Locke’s Survey Graphic issue included a piece by Hubert Harrison, ‘The White Man’s War’, culled in part because Paul Kellogg deemed the section to which it belonged too long. Locke also approached the editor of the Messenger, A. Philip Randolph, with a commission. Randolph did not submit an article perhaps on account of the removal of Harrison who he considered a mentor.178 In short, the cultural–aesthetic sphere of Locke’s compilations on the one hand and the cultural–political sphere of Negro World, the Messenger, the Modern Quarterly, the Nation, the Crusader, the Voice, the New Negro and the Emancipator on the other, interpenetrated one another.179

            As to the aesthetic component of the ‘movement’, defined often as the Harlem Renaissance from 1970 onwards, Caribbean writers like Claude McKay and Eric Walrond are often defined as key renaissance figures. McKay’s ‘If We Must Die’ brought him worldwide fame and is often seen as the poem par excellence of the renaissance, while his debut novel, Home to Harlem (1928), was much admired by a younger set of black writers who contributed to Locke’s The New Negro and Thurman’s Fire!!. W. S. Braithwaite, the Baltimore-born second-generation Caribbean who dreamt up the Negro Renaissance, described McKay as ‘the poet who leads his generation’.180 Walrond, a member of the Writers’ Guild and admirer of McKay’s, published his short story collection Tropic Death (1926) to great critical acclaim and won a series of prestigious literary awards, including a Guggenheim. As business manager of Opportunity, Walrond was also largely responsible for a November 1926 issue of the magazine focusing on the Caribbean, which included writing by Claude McKay, Casper Holstein, Arthur Schomburg and W. A. Domingo. Published just a year after The New Negro, it extended the intra-racial considerations between Afro-Caribbeans and African Americans opened up by Locke’s anthology and sought to create, in Johnson’s words, an ‘essential friendship’ between the two groups.181 Claimed as belonging to the United States, Walrond, like McKay, had a complex relationship with the US. Both writers spent much of their life outside the country, McKay residing in Europe and North Africa for much of the 1920s and Walrond moving to live in England in 1932. Walrond started but did not complete an application for US citizenship, while McKay acquired US citizenship in 1940. Together, their works evoke geographies beyond Harlem: Bridgetown, Havana, New Orleans, Liverpool, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Georgetown, Kingston, Marseilles, London, Colón, the Carolinas, the Gulf of Florida, South Africa, the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean.182

            In McKay’s case, his peripheral status in relation to Harlem and its literary circles at the height of what most studies consider the renaissance’s flourishing in the 1920s, threatens to undermine Harlem’s supposed pre-eminence as a titular term for a movement alternatively labelled as ‘New Negro’ and a ‘Negro Renaissance’ among other terms; McKay’s positioning within a Harlem framework is therefore ambiguous. In 1927, Du Bois, unable to understand McKay’s living in near poverty in Europe, advised the poet to return to the United States and to his literary work. Less generously, a decade later, Alain Locke would accuse McKay, in a review of the latter’s autobiography entitled ‘Spiritual Truancy’, of being a ‘longer way from home than ever’.183 Where home lay for McKay was up for debate, as he had seemingly staked his lot in uptown New York with the publication of his debut novel, Home to Harlem, while simultaneously embracing international vagabondage in both his fictional and autobiographical writing.

            In many respects scholarship has played out the conundrum of McKay’s placement – foreshadowed by Du Bois and Locke – representing him paradoxically as both central to the Harlem Renaissance and yet simultaneously outside it. While McKay’s distant relationship to Harlem in the 1920s is unquestionable, studies are divided as to his location within the Harlem Renaissance, a moniker which irrefutably weights Harlem’s significance within his and other writers’ oeuvres. If the scales are tipped towards terms either incorporating the ‘New Negro’ or ‘Negro’ with an internationalist framework, then the problems concerning McKay’s placement vanishes. Robert Bone’s concept of a ‘Harlem School’ is useful in that it suggests just one branch of a larger cultural movement, which focuses on the undoubted importance of the area and writers’ relationships to it, without casting adrift those with more distant or non-existent connections to Harlem. In this sense, McKay’s centrality to a black-led global phenomenon need not be in doubt, even if his connection to a ‘Harlem’ branch was sometimes tangential.

            David Levering Lewis represents Harlem’s cultural outreach as something of a one-way valve, flowing out to Greenwich Village, Washington, D. C. and the Left Bank of the Seine.184 However, the cultural flow could be seen as operating in other directions as well. Haiti, as the only black-led republic to have emerged from a successful revolution, occupied a special place in a marketplace where black themes were gaining popularity, a factor that was only heightened after the US occupation of Haiti in 1915. As such, Haiti became a special focal point for journalists, ethnographers, writers and playwrights in Manhattan and across the US. Caribbean radicals Hubert Harrison and Cyril Briggs contested the US occupation, as did Du Bois, virtually at the outset. James Weldon Johnson, not immediately critical of the occupation, would become one of its fiercest critics after carrying out an NAACP investigation of Haiti in 1920. His findings were published in a series of four articles in the Nation and a further article in the Crisis in August and September of that year.185 Johnson’s articles reinvigorated discourse on Haiti among Caribbean radicals, with Hubert Harrison and ABB members Briggs and W. A. Domingo all referencing Johnson’s reports in their journalism. A Communist Party cell by around 1922, the ABB pushed for Haitian, as well as Liberian, independence, shaping the policies of the Communist International and Communist Party USA (CPUSA) organ the American Negro Labor Congress (ANLC) – a move which placed Haitian and Liberian independence on the world political stage. In 1925, Briggs became editor of the ANLC newspaper, the Negro Champion, with George Padmore becoming its assistant editor in 1928 and on-off editor of the International Trade Union Committee for Black Workers, the Negro Worker, from 1929. Both publications kept alive matters concerning Haitian independence, with the Negro Worker recycling the image of the ‘Negro toiler’ used by the ANLC in ways which emphasized Haiti’s centrality globally speaking.186 The cross-fertilization between Afro-Caribbeans, African Americans and white radicals made Haiti both a cause and a lens through which anti-colonial opposition to US occupation was fought.

            From 1920 onwards, Haiti travelled virtually to New York regularly via the city’s art world and press. New York, however, while being a significant node in a network of Haiti-related topoi, was by no means the only destination, as Haiti was staged, discussed or written about in St. Louis, Washington, D.C., Paris, Berlin, Hamburg, London, Soviet Russia and the US. Eugene O’Neill’s play Emperor Jones, which premiered in Greenwich Village in 1920 and was performed in Harlem and Washington, D.C., presented a thinly veiled portrait of a Garvey-esque, African-American trickster seizing control of an atavistic and primitive Haiti. For all its stereotypical representation, the play made issues of US occupation, Caribbean independence and black nationalism internationally prominent. O’Neill’s work was succeeded by others as Haiti became a world subject: the Harlem-staged plays, Orson Welles’s voodoo Macbeth (1936), set in Haiti, and William DuBois’s Haiti (1938); C. L. R. James’s London-staged Toussaint Louverture (1934), starring Paul Robeson; fiction including Claude McKay’s Home to Harlem (1928), Arna Bontemps’s Drums at Dusk (1939) and Faulkner’s Absalom, Absalom! (1936); ethnographical works including Jean Price-Mars’s Ainsi Parla l’Oncle [So Spoke the Uncle] (1928), Nancy Cunard’s Negro (1934), Melville Herskovits’s Life in a Haitian Valley (1937) and Zora Neale Hurston’s Tell My Horse (1938); travelogues such as Blaire Niles’s Black Haiti (1926) and William Seabrook’s The Magic Island (1929); studies like Erwin Rusch’s Die Revolution von Saint Domingue (1931) and C. L. R. James’s Black Jacobins (1938); the film Zou Zou (1934), which featured Josephine Baker as a caged Haitian songbird; Jacob Lawrence’s series of 41 paintings dedicated to Toussaint L’Ouverture, produced over 1937–1938; biographies like Percy Waxman’s The Black Napoleon (1931), Karl Otten’s Der Schwarze Napoleon (1931), John Vandercook’s Black Majesty (1928) and Anatoli Vinogradov’s Chernyi konsul [The Black Consul] (1932).

            The circulation of Vandercook’s Black Majesty is particularly illustrative of Haiti’s transnational appeal, as it inspired a May 1928 issue of Opportunity dedicated to the book, featuring an eponymous Countee Cullen poem in homage to Vandercook’s text, and led to a St. Louis play adaptation with a 100-strong black cast. The play also starred Frederick O’Neal, who would later become the first black president of the Actors’ Equity Association. Tantalizingly, Vandercook’s text, and later Vinogradov’s The Black Consul, inspired Sergei Eisenstein to direct a film about the Haitian Revolution, prompting a meeting between the director and Paul Robeson in Moscow in 1934. While the film did not attain funding and remained unrealized, Vandercook’s travelling text reveals that Haiti and its revolution were very much part of a global zeitgeist.

            Research over the past two decades on the New Negro movement has begun to etch away at what increasingly seems a parochial view of a broad worldwide movement encompassing an extended Caribbean (the Caribbean Basin, Mexico and parts of South America) and cities like Chicago, Washington, D.C., Berlin, Paris, London and Moscow.187 Studies by Brent Hayes Edwards and Michel Fabre also indicate that relations between the US and France were particularly operative through writers like McKay, whose work appeared in La Revue du Monde Noir, the bilingual French–English journal co-founded in Paris by the Martinican Paulette Nardal and the Haitian dentist Léo Sajous. In the first issue of La Revue du Monde Noir, a poem of Claude McKay’s features alongside articles on Haiti, Liberia and both Cambridge and Geneva by, respectively, Jean Price-Mars, Paulette Nardal and Léo Sajous. Strikingly, the title of McKay’s poem, first published as ‘America’ in the Liberator in 1921, is changed to ‘A L’Amerique/To America’. The shift in register from ‘America’ to ‘To America’ transforms the message to something like a postcard to the US, placing emphasis on the poetic speaker’s – and by implication McKay’s – position elsewhere.188 If the Caribbean aspects of a broad black-led movement have been lost in US national discourse, then the traces of such international links and detours in the movement have been doubly obscured.

            In a reprint edition of La Revue du Monde Noir, Louis Achille – cousin of the Nardals and Locke’s colleague at Howard University in the 1930s – discussed the interpenetration of transatlantic cultures, defining the New Negro movement as an important US influence on the salons held at Paulette and Jane Nardal’s residence in Clamart in the Parisian suburbs. In his view, these salons inspired the creation of the journal. Washington, Atlanta and Harlem are all important reference points. Yet Achille also referred to the Nardal sisters’ multicultural influences which included transatlantic, African, US and Caribbean exchanges:

            It owes its very design to the culture of these young Francophone Caribbean women pursuing English studies at the Sorbonne or familiar with the language through holidays in the British West Indies. They offered the opportunity to speak freely with writers from these islands, and especially those from the United States, who knew little French. Added to this were Haitians and Africans, not well-versed in English, and their revolutionary values that infused the readings of poems, essays and American novels.189

            While based in Washington D.C. in the 1930s, Achille may have used Martinique as a place for socializing with other Caribbeans, as his Fort-de-France address is scrawled in the April 1937 notebook of Jamaican-American historian, Joel Rogers.190 Such island exchanges and extra-Harlem literary activity in journals like La Revue du Monde Noir complicate Harlem’s centrality if the optic is adjusted to an internationalist framework of black topoi. In 1928, Jane Nardal’s article ‘internalisme noir’ was published in La Dépêche Africaine, a term that both predates and foreshadows négritude and which suggests that cultural production by and about black people might at least be repositioned within an international framework of black-centred and modernist cultural activity.191 In effect, this black-led, early twentieth-century cultural phenomenon tessellates with modernist circles in Havana and Mexico City, for example, and could be said to either include or relate to aspects of indigenismo, negrismo, internalisme noir and négritude in Hispanophone and Francophone spheres among others.

            Conclusion

            If from around 1970 until the mid-1990s the Harlem Renaissance enjoyed a hegemonic position as a subject and term and was commonly nationalized in US terms, then the late 1990s and turn of the twenty-first century may represent a small turning point whereby certain assumptions about the Harlem Renaissance came under scrutiny. In Holding Aloft the Banner of Ethiopia (1998), Winston James took Harold Cruse to task for an anti-West-Indian streak, a sentiment shared in Heather Hathaway’s Caribbean Waves: Relocating Claude McKay and Paule Marshall (1999), which also registered Cruse’s ‘vituperative assault’ on West Indian intellectuals from the 1920s through to the 1960s. Hathaway sought, as her title indicates, to relocate McKay and Marshall, black American immigrants who risked becoming, in her estimation, ‘profoundly homeless’ through a homogenizing process of ‘Americanization’.192 From around this pre-millennial period into the twenty-first century, a gradual flow of scholarship has broadened the national scope of Harlem Renaissance studies by interrogating the Caribbean, cross-cultural components of early twentieth-century black cultural production.193

            It is through this Caribbean wave that broader cross-currents have been sighted, leading to an examination of cultural expressions of blackness in a global context. Brent Hayes Edward’s The Practice of Diaspora: Literature, Translation, and the Rise of Black Internationalism (2003) is a notable example of a path-breaking scholarly work which seeks to reframe the ‘New Negro’ movement as a ‘new’ black internationalism, with Caribbeans like McKay, the Nardal sisters and René Maran serving as crucial nexuses.194 Noticeably, Edwards places the term ‘Harlem Renaissance’ in parenthesis in the majority of instances, framing it as a category in doubt. In a footnote, he adds: ‘I will use the term ‘Harlem Renaissance’ at times in this book, despite my dissatisfaction with it, partly as a means to approach critically the scholarship that has accepted it’.195 Since the turn of the millennium, a range of scholars like Edwards have drawn on the transnational dimension of black representation in the early twentieth century in which the Caribbean features as a significant node.196 Recently, Lara Putnam has explored the literary circulation of New Negro print culture in a Circum-Caribbean which includes Panama and Costa Rica. She demonstrates how newspapers such as the Panama Tribune, Panama American, Panama Star and Herald, Central American Express, Limón Searchlight and Atlantic Voice all contributed to black discourse throughout the diaspora.197

            The historiography of any cultural phenomenon is often tricky to pin down, its classifications always dependent on particular views of certain trends, eddies and ripples. Battles for cultural terrain are often waged, resulting in ideas, terms and concepts being uprooted, destroyed, invented or sold down the river. In the case of the array of terms used to describe black cultural trends in the early twentieth century, the moment of reckoning was not so much 1925, but 1971, when the Harlem Renaissance, owing in large part to Nathan Huggins, was invented as a subject, institutionalizing the way black cultural phenomena from half a century before would be read in successive decades.

            Nearly a century on from a period often represented as having kick-started a major new phase in black representational art and politics, the current of the Harlem Renaissance is more sluggish than it once was – with fresher discursive cross-currents emerging all the time. While the term still enjoys considerable mileage, doubts about its usage have caused scholars to reflect seriously on its historiographical baggage and relation to the categories which preceded it. This critical trend indicates an interest in paying close attention to what the historical actors thought they were doing and how they saw themselves. Categorizing efforts need not be abandoned entirely. Whether the scholar returns to older terms, like the New Negro movement, to alternatives like ‘black internationalism’ (‘internalisme noir’) and ‘jazz age’ arts or adopts newer ones centred on black representation, diasporic association, anti-colonialism, radicalism and so on, he or she is inevitably faced with a choice and cannot afford to take the terminological determinant lightly. If fifty years ago the Harlem Renaissance was moulded in a national image, its once convenient fictions may now be unravelling to reveal a more internationalist and plural history – one in which representations of blackness were certainly shaped by Harlem, but also Chicago, Kingston, Washington, Havana, Pittsburgh, Mexico City, Colón, Limón, Berlin, Paris and London.

            Declarations and conflict of interests

            The author declares no conflicts of interest.

            Notes

            • 1 I am indebted to Peter Hulme’s careful reading of earlier drafts of this article and to his numerous email exchanges, in which we discussed among other things the New Negro, Modernism and key haunts in and around 1910s–1920s New York. In particular, I would like to acknowledge his role in highlighting Eric Walrond’s and Miguel Covarrubias’s Vanity Fair collaboration, which led me to Martha Nadell’s Enter the New Negroes and to James Davis’s excellent biography of Walrond.

              2 Davarian L. Baldwin, Chicago’s New Negroes: Modernity, the Great Migration, and Black Urban Life (Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 2009), 5.

              3 Lara Putnam, Radical Moves: Caribbean Migrants and the Politics of Race in the Jazz Age (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2013), 11.

              4 David Damrosch, What Is World Literature? (Princeton, N.J.; Oxford: Princeton University Press, 2006), 4.

              5 Damrosch, What Is World Literature? 26, 281.

              6 The full line from which I borrow my title reads, ‘Watching the waters downward dash and foam’. I am also much indebted in my enquiry to Andrew Fearnley. See Claude McKay, Complete Poems: Claude McKay, ed. William J. Maxwell (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2008), 156; Andrew M. Fearnley, ‘When the Harlem Renaissance Became Vogue: Periodization and the Organization of Postwar American Historiography,’ Modern Intellectual History 11, no. 1 (2014): 57–89, https://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S1479244313000334.

              7 Henry Louis Gates, ‘The Trope of a New Negro and the Reconstruction of the Image of the Black,’ Representations 24, (1988): 129–55, https://dx.doi.org/10.2307/2928478.

              8 This is obviously dependent on whether cultural phenomena like the New Negro movement or a black renaissance are conceived of as part of a continuum or not. Both Hubert Harrison and Sterling Brown resisted the notion of a Renaissance, preferring to see black cultural production in terms of a long, gradual process, possibly without an end.

              9 George Hutchinson, The Harlem Renaissance in Black and White (Cambridge: The Belknap Press, 1997), 3, 13.

              10 Barbara Foley, Spectres of 1919: Class and Nation in the Making of the New Negro (Urbana; Chesham: University of Illinois Press, 2008), 2.

              11 Gates, ‘The Trope of a New Negro and the Reconstruction of the Image of the Black,’ 129–55.

              12 ‘New verse’ was the inspiration behind the title of the journal, Others: A Magazine of the New Verse, founded by Alfred Kreymborg in 1915, that published the work of Djuna Barnes, William Carlos Williams, Marianne Moore, T. S. Eliot and Man Ray among others. The magazine championed free verse over metrical or rhymed forms and doing so represented a symbolic shift away from the old to the new. While some discussion of literary ‘modernism’ and literature and the ‘modern’ is discernible in the 1950s and 1960s, very few books on literary ‘Modernism’ existed prior to Malcolm Bradbury and James McFarlane’s Modernism: 1890–1930, first published in 1974. Some exceptions exist when it comes to the history of Hispanic literature and Modernism, which is often connected with the modernismo of Nicaraguan poet, Rubén Darío, and Cuban writer, José Martí, in the 1880s, and could be said to have a unique relationship with the term. As such, Ned Davison’s 1966 book, The Concept of Modernism in Hispanic Criticism, while a precursor to Bradbury and MacFarlane’s, concerns a different contextual framework. See Malcolm Bradbury and James McFarlane, eds., Modernism: 1890–1930 (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1976); See also L. Shaw Donald, ‘Hispanic Literature and Modernism,’ in The Oxford Handbook of Modernisms, eds. Brooker Peter, Gasiorek Andrzej, Longworth Deborah and Thacker Andrew (Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 2010); Ned J. Davison, The Concept of Modernism in Hispanic Criticism (Boulder: Pruett Press, 1966).

              13 In his influential 1988 essay on the trope of the New Negro, which is revised as the introduction of his co-edited anthology with Gene Andrew Jarrett The New Negro, Henry Louis Gates traced the early signification of the term ‘New Negro’ to a 1745 article in the London Magazine. This essay is often cited as the principal authority for the history of the term. See, for example, Gabriel A. Briggs, The New Negro in the Old South (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 2015), 181–2.

              14 Charles Wolley and Edward Gaylord Bourne, A Two Years’ Journal in New York, and Part of Its Territories in America (Cleveland: Burrows Bros. Co., 1902), 40.

              15 Henry H. Proctor, ‘The Color Line as Seen by a Negro,’ The Christian Union 44, no. 4 (1891); W. E. C. Wright, ‘The New Negro,’ The American Missionary 48, (1894): 9; This is reproduced in a 2007 evaluation of the New Negro by Henry Louis Gates and Gene Andrew Jarrett but the broad influence of Christian missionaries over the re-appropriation of the term goes undiscussed: see Henry Louis Gates and Gene Andrew Jarrett, eds., The New Negro: Essays on Race, Representation, and African American Culture, 1892–1938 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2007), 23–5.

              16 Cleveland Gazette, 28 June 1895. Quoted in Gates, ‘The Trope of a New Negro and the Reconstruction of the Image of the Black,’ 136.

              17 Gates, ‘The Trope of a New Negro and the Reconstruction of the Image of the Black,’ 136–7; Booker T. Washington, Fannie Barrier Williams and Norman B. Wood, eds., A New Negro for a New Century: An Accurate and Up-to-Date Record of the Upward Struggles of the Negro Race (Chicago: American Pub. House, 1900), 3.

              18 Theodore Roosevelt, ‘The Rough Riders,’ Scribner’s Magazine 25, no. 4 (April 1899): 435–6; Quoted in Washington, Williams and Wood, eds., A New Negro for a New Century: An Accurate and Up-to-Date Record of the Upward Struggles of the Negro Race, 53.

              19 Washington, Williams and Wood, eds., A New Negro for a New Century: An Accurate and Up-to-Date Record of the Upward Struggles of the Negro Race, 57.

              20 As Anna Pochmara asserts, this ‘ambiguous gesture… acknowledges the central role of black women in the struggle for equality, yet simultaneously masculinizes Truth and Wheatley’. Booker T. Washington, Fannie Barrier Williams and Norman B. Wood, ‘Fathers of the Race,’ in A New Negro for a New Century: An Accurate and Up-to-Date Record of the Upward Struggles of the Negro Race (Chicago: American Pub. House, 1900); Anna Pochmara, The Making of the New Negro: Black Authorship, Masculinity, and Sexuality in the Harlem Renaissance (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2011), 60.

              21 Williams argues that this group comprises ‘linguists, mathematicians, musicians, artists, authors, newspaper writers, lecturers and reform agitators’. See Washington, Williams and Wood, eds., A New Negro for a New Century: An Accurate and Up-to-Date Record of the Upward Struggles of the Negro Race, 424.

              22 Washington, Williams and Wood, eds., A New Negro for a New Century: An Accurate and Up-to-Date Record of the Upward Struggles of the Negro Race, 424.

              23 Washington, Williams and Wood, eds., A New Negro for a New Century: An Accurate and Up-to-Date Record of the Upward Struggles of the Negro Race, 379, 382.

              24 Jeffrey Babcock Perry, Hubert Harrison: The Voice of Harlem Radicalism, 1883–1918 (New York: Columbia University Press, 2009), 282.

              25 Harrison probably had both Booker T. Washington and W. E. B. Du Bois in mind as ‘old-time leaders’, as he had disagreed with the former’s accommodationism and taken umbrage at an article by the latter in which he encouraged black soldiers to set aside their grievances over race and sign up to fight in the First World War. Perry, Hubert Harrison: The Voice of Harlem Radicalism, 1883–1918, 8; See also Hubert H. Harrison, ‘The Liberty League of Negro-Americans: How It Came to Be,’ The Voice, 4 July 1917; Reprinted in Jeffrey Babcock Perry, ed., A Hubert Harrison Reader (Middletown: Wesleyan University Press, 2001), 86–8.

              26 Hubert H. Harrison, ‘The New Policies for the New Negro,’ The Voice, 4 September 1917; Reprinted with minor changes as Hubert H. Harrison, ‘The New Politics for the New Negro,’ When Africa Awakes (Baltimore: Black Classic Press, 1997), 40.

              27 Cyril Briggs, ‘The Old Negro Goes: Let Him Go in Peace,’ The Crusader 2, no. 2 (October 1919); Reprinted in Louis J. Parascandola, ‘Look for Me All around You’: Anglophone Caribbean Immigrants in the Harlem Renaissance (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 2005), 205.

              28 A. Philip Randolph, ‘A New Crowd – A New Negro,’ The Messenger, May–June 1919; Reprinted in Nathan Irvin Huggins, ed., Voices from the Harlem Renaissance (New York: Oxford University Press, 1994), 18–20.

              29 ‘The “New Crowd Negro” Making America Safe for Himself,’ The Messenger 2.9 (September 1919); Reprinted in Gates, ‘The Trope of a New Negro and the Reconstruction of the Image of the Black,’ 134.

              30 Marcus Garvey, The Negro World, 14 June 1919; Reprinted as Marcus Garvey, ‘Editorial Letter from Marcus Garvey,’ in The Marcus Garvey and Universal Negro Improvement Association Papers, ed. Robert A. Hill (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1983).

              31 ‘The Old and the New,’ Chicago Defender, 3 January 1920; ‘The Cause of the New Negro,’ Chicago Whip, 17 January 1920; Quoted in Baldwin, Chicago’s New Negroes: Modernity, the Great Migration, and Black Urban Life, 7.

              32 Sidney Young’s article, ‘A New Awakening’, originally published in the Panama American on 23 March 1927 is reprinted in Sidney Adolphus Young, ‘A New Awakening,’ in Isthmian Echoes: A Selection of the Literary Endeavors of the West Indian Colony in the Republic of Panama, from Articles Contributed to the West Indian Section of the Panama American from February 1926 to December 1927 (Panama: n.p., 1928).

              33 Sidney Young’s article, ‘Garvey’s Task’, published in the Panama American on 5 December 1927 is reprinted in Young, ‘Garvey’s Task,’ 300.

              34 While Gates attends to the tropic associations of the New Negro and its various associations in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, its precise association with a Renaissance is left only partially explored. William Stanley Braithwaite, ‘Book Reviews,’ Colored American Magazine 4, no. 1 (1901): 73; Gates, ‘The Trope of a New Negro and the Reconstruction of the Image of the Black,’ 134–5, 140.

              35 Braithwaite makes reference to William Hannibal Thomas who made use of the word ‘Negroid’ in his book, The American Negro (1901) which infuriated many black writers in the period, including W. E. B. Du Bois, Booker T. Washington and Charles Chesnutt among others, for its portrait of ‘the negro’ as ‘an intrinsically inferior type of humanity’. See William Hannibal Thomas, The American Negro: What He Was, What He Is, and What He May Become (New York: MacMillian, 1901), 139.

              36 See, for example, Subrata Dasgupta, Twilight of the Bengal Renaissance: R.K. Dasgupta & His Quest for a World Mind (Kolkata: Dey’s Publishing, 2005).

              37 As Michael Soto argues, this is ‘a watershed in the history of American cultural criticism’ and would set a new cultural template as it prepared the ground for a new dawn of black cultural achievement. Michael Soto, The Modernist Nation: Generation, Renaissance, and Twentieth-Century American Literature (Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2004), 80; Braithwaite, ‘Book Reviews,’ 74.

              38 Max J. Barber, ‘The Morning Cometh,’ Voice of the Negro 1, no. 1 (January 1904): 38.

              39 See subheading ‘The Spread of Socialism’ in Max J. Barber, ‘Our Monthly Review,’ Voice of the Negro 1, no. 6 (June 1904), 259.

              40 It is quite possible that W. H. A. Moore was a relative of J. M. Moore, pastor of the AME Church of West Pratt, Alabama and the only publicly avowed black Social Democrat from 1897 until 1900. Philip S. Foner, American Socialism and Black Americans: From the Age of Jackson to World War Ii (Westport: Greenwood Press, 1977), 88.

              41 W. H. A. Moore, ‘The New Negro Literary Movement,’ AME Church Review 21 (1904): 49–54.

              42 A. C. Haddon, ‘The Self-Realisation of the Negro,’ The Morning Post, 5 September 1912.

              43 J. E. Casely Hayford, Ethiopia Unbound (London: C. M. Phillips, 1911), 171.

              44 A similar designation of a Negro ‘Renaissance’ features in William Pickens’s The New Negro (1916) which describes the Negro ‘on the threshold of a renaissance of civilization and culture after four hundred years of… captivity, slavery and oppression’. As with earlier discourse on the Negro Renaissance, Pickens writes of the Negro being on the verge of a cultural awakening after years of injustice. As Marlon Ross writes, Pickens’s outlook in The New Negro is masculinist, and most likely influenced, by Booker T. Washington. Haddon, ‘The Self-Realisation of the Negro.’ William Pickens, The New Negro: His Political, Civil, and Mental Status; and Related Essays (New York: Neale, 1916), 14, 224; Quoted in Gates, ‘The Trope of a New Negro and the Reconstruction of the Image of the Black,’ 144–5; Marlon Bryan Ross, Manning the Race: Reforming Black Men in the Jim Crow Era (New York: New York University Press, 2004), 37–8.

              45 ‘Aims of the Crusader,’ The Crusader, November 1918.

              46 Fenton Johnson, ‘Credit Is Due the West Indian,’ in The Favorite Magazine, December 1919; Robert Thomas Kerlin, Contemporary Poetry of the Negro (Hampton: The Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute, 1921), 7.

              47 W. E. B. Du Bois, ‘Negro Writers,’ The Crisis 19, no. 6 (April 1920): 299.

              48 I have borrowed Barbara Foley’s phrase describing the revolutionary moment of 1919. William T. Ferris, ‘Negro Renaissance,’ The Negro World, 11 February 1922; Quoted in Tony Martin, ed., African Fundamentalism: A Literary and Cultural Anthology of Garvey’s Harlem Renaissance (Dover: Majority Press, 1991), 6–8; Foley, Spectres of 1919: Class and Nation in the Making of the New Negro, vii.

              49 Charles S. Johnson, Johnson to Locke, 4 March 1924, Alain Locke Papers. Quoted in Hutchinson, The Harlem Renaissance in Black and White, 390.

              50 Charles S. Johnson, Johnson to Locke, 7 March 1924, Alain Locke Papers. See also Hutchinson, The Harlem Renaissance in Black and White, 390.

              51 A good many historical accounts of the Civic Club dinner are based on Johnson’s or Du Bois’s accounts. Hutchinson gives a broad, reflective overview of the event. See ‘The Debut of the Younger School of Negro Writers,’ Opportunity 2, no. 17 (May 1924): 143–4; W. E. B. Du Bois, ‘Our Book Shelf,’ The Crisis, 31, no. 3 (January 1926); Hutchinson, The Harlem Renaissance in Black and White, 390–2.

              52 Kellogg may have intended Charles S. Johnson to be a co-editor of the ‘Harlem’ Survey Graphic issue, as he had been included in the initial meetings. When Johnson was unavailable for a meeting on 19 April, Kellogg ploughed ahead with Locke alone, a factor which possibly cemented Locke’s solo editorship of the issue. See Jeffrey C. Stewart, The New Negro: The Life of Alain Locke (New York: Oxford University Press, 2018), 434–5.

              53 Hutchinson, The Harlem Renaissance in Black and White, 392.

              54 George Hutchinson, ed., The Cambridge Companion to the Harlem Renaissance (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2007), 34.

              55 Stewart, The New Negro: The Life of Alain Locke, 507.

              56 Alain Locke, ‘Enter the New Negro,’ Survey Graphic 6, no. 6 (March 1925): 633; Alain Locke, ‘Harlem,’ Survey Graphic 6, no. 6 (March 1925): 629–30; Alain Locke, ‘The New Negro,’ in The New Negro: An Interpretation, ed. Alain Locke (New York: A. and C. Boni, 1925), 6–7, 14.

              57 Alain Locke, ‘Harlem Types: Portraits by Winold Reiss,’ Survey Graphic 6, no. 6 (March 1925): 651–4.

              58 Locke, ‘Foreword,’ ix–x.

              59 Locke, ‘Harlem,’ 629.

              60 ‘Harlem’ does not explicitly list Locke as the author, but it is signed off with the initials A. L. Alain Locke, Locke to Kellogg, 8 October 1925, reel 39, part 1, Survey Associates. Quoted in Foley, Spectres of 1919: Class and Nation in the Making of the New Negro, 233.

              61 Frank Tannenbaum, ‘Mexico – A Promise,’ Survey Graphic 52, no. 3 (1924): 132.

              62 These include: Miguel Covarrubias and Eric Walrond, ‘Enter, the New Negro, a Distinctive Type Recently Created by the Coloured Cabaret Belt in New York,’ Vanity Fair 23, no. 4 (December 1924); Miguel Covarrubias and Eric Walrond, ‘The Increasing Vogue of the Negro Revue on Broadway,’ Vanity Fair 23, no. 6 (February 1925); Eric Walrond, ‘The Adventures of Kit Skyhead and Mistah Beauty: An All-Negro Evening in the Coloured Cabarets of New York,’ Vanity Fair 24, no. 1 (March 1925); Eric Walrond, ‘Charleston, Hey! Hey! An Attempt to Trace the Origin of America’s Newest Dance Madness,’ Vanity Fair 26, no. 2 (April 1926); Walrond’s April 1926 Vanity Fair article is accompanied by Covarrubias’s drawing, see Miguel Covarrubias, ‘A Charleston Lesson in the Great Metropolis,’ Vanity Fair 26, no. 2 (April 1926).

              63 According to Richard A. Long, Locke had completed much of the Survey Graphic issue by mid-December 1924. See Richard A. Long, ‘The Genesis of Locke’s The New Negro,’ Black World 25, no. 4 (1976): 15.

              64 Covarrubias and Walrond, ‘Enter, the New Negro, a Distinctive Type Recently Created by the Coloured Cabaret Belt in New York’.

              65 Covarrubias and Walrond, ‘The Increasing Vogue of the Negro Revue on Broadway’.

              66 Eric Walrond, Walrond to Locke, undated, Alain Locke Papers, Box 164-91, Folder 38. Quoted in James C. Davis, Eric Walrond: A Life in the Harlem Renaissance and the Transatlantic Caribbean (New York: Columbia University Press, 2015), 125–7. Davis also provides an account of Walrond’s struggles with Locke’s commission, his correspondence with Locke and his depression.

              67 Walrond, ‘The Adventures of Kit Skyhead and Mistah Beauty: An All-Negro Evening in the Coloured Cabarets of New York’; Walrond, ‘Charleston, Hey! Hey! An Attempt to Trace the Origin of America’s Newest Dance Madness’.

              68 Walrond, ‘Charleston, Hey! Hey! An Attempt to Trace the Origin of America’s Newest Dance Madness,’ 73.

              69 I have borrowed this term denoting work which foregrounds the interplay between word and image from Martha J. Nadell, who in turn borrowed this from Wendy Steiner. See Martha Jane Nadell, Enter the New Negroes: Images of Race in American Culture (Cambridge; London: Harvard University Press, 2004), 7; Wendy Steiner, The Colors of Rhetoric: Problems in the Relation between Modern Literature and Painting (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1982), xi; Hubert H. Harrison, ‘Cabaret School of Negro Writers Does Not Represent One-Tenth of Race,’ Pittsburgh Courier, 28 May 1927; Reprinted in Perry, ed., A Hubert Harrison Reader, 355–7.

              70 Allison Davis, ‘Our Negro “Intellectuals”,’ The Crisis 35, no. 8 (August 1928); Reprinted in Gates and Jarrett, eds., The New Negro: Essays on Race, Representation, and African American Culture, 1892–1938, 246.

              71 Locke, ‘Foreword,’ xi.

              72 James Weldon Johnson thought that the inclusion of Winthrop Lane’s ‘Ambushed in the City’ in Survey Graphic was ‘a serious slip’, as it drew attention to vice and degradation in Harlem – gambling, poverty, racism, ‘hooch joints’ and rent hikes fostered by racial segregation. Tellingly, Locke omitted the article from The New Negro, indicative of a desire to smooth over unpalatable representations of black life in Harlem. The one reference Locke makes to a ghetto in The New Negro situates it as a thing of the past: ‘Liberal minds to-day cannot be asked to peer… into the darkened Ghetto of a segregated race life. That was yesterday’. Alain Locke, ed., ‘Harlem: Mecca of the New Negro,’ Survey Graphic 6, no. 6 (March 1925): 630; Charles S. Johnson, Johnson to Locke, 9 March 1924, Alain Locke Papers; Quoted in Hutchinson, The Harlem Renaissance in Black and White, 394; See also Winthrop D. Lane, ‘Ambushed in the City: The Grim Side of Harlem,’ Survey Graphic 6, no. 6 (March 1925): 694; Locke, ‘Foreword,’ xxvi.

              73 Carl Van Vechten described The New Negro as ‘a remarkable book’ and H. L. Mencken said that ‘[t]he book is… of immense significance’. See Gates and Jarrett, eds., The New Negro: Essays on Race, Representation, and African American Culture, 1892–1938, 223, 227, 229–31; Derek C. Maus, ‘Alain Locke,’ Advocates and Activists, 1919–1941: Men and Women Who Shaped the Period, ed. David Garrett Izzo (West Cornwall: Locust Hill Press, 2003), 491.

              74 Du Bois, ‘Our Book Shelf,’ 140; Quoted in Amritjit Singh, The Novels of the Harlem Renaissance: Twelve Black Writers 1923–1933 (Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1976), 28.

              75 A month later, Wilfred A. Domingo’s essay from the March 1925 Survey Graphic issue also featured in the Barbados Weekly Herald with the headline, ‘West Indians in the USA’; See ‘Harlem Is Largest Negro City,’ Barbados Weekly Herald, 28 March 1925; ‘West Indians in the USA,’ Barbados Weekly Herald, 18 April 1925; For more on this, see Lara Putnam, ‘Provincializing Harlem: The ‘Negro Metropolis’ as Northern Frontier of a Connected Caribbean,’ Modernism/Modernity 20, no. 3 (2013): 477, https://dx.doi.org/10.1353/mod.2013.0085.

              76 George Schuyler, ‘The Negro-Art Hokum,’ The Nation, 16 June 1926; Replicated in George S. Schuyler, ‘The Negro-Art Hokum,’ Within the Circle: An Anthology of African American Literary Criticism from the Harlem Renaissance to the Present, ed. Angelyn Mitchell (Durham: Duke University Press, 1994); Langston Hughes, ‘The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain,’ The Nation, 23 June 1926.

              77 Gustavus Adolphus Stewart, ‘The New Negro Hokum,’ Social Forces 6, no. 3 (1928): 438–40, 445.

              78 Aaron Douglas, New York Public Library, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Box 1, Folder 9. Quoted in Amy H. Kirschke, ‘Oh Africa! The Influence of African Art During the Harlem Renaissance,’ Temples for Tomorrow: Looking Back at the Harlem Renaissance, eds. Geneviève Fabre and Michel Feith (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2001), 78.

              79 Jeffrey Stewart, ‘The New Negro’, 537.

              80 Hughes recounted in his autobiography that the bulk of Fire!! magazines burned in a Harlem basement, however correspondence attributed to Hughes sent to Thurman indicates that he later doubted this narrative, believing that a black actor-singer, ‘Service Bell’, had acquired them. Langston Hughes, The Big Sea: An Autobiography (New York: Hill and Wang, 1993), 237; See also Faith Berry, ‘Black Poets, White Patrons: The Harlem Renaissance Years of Langston Hughes,’ in Analysis and Assessment, 1980–1994, ed. Cary D. Wintz (New York: Garland Pub., 1996), 392.

              81 Benjamin Brawley, ‘The Negro Literary Renaissance,’ Southern Workman 56, no. 4 (April 1927): 178–9, 184; Reprinted in Gates and Jarrett, eds., The New Negro: Essays on Race, Representation, and African American Culture, 1892–1938, 233–4, 237.

              82 Alain Locke, ‘Fire: A Negro Magazine,’ The Survey 58 (15 August–15 September 1927): 563.

              83 Wallace Thurman, ‘Nephews of Uncle Remus,’ The Independent, September 24, 1927, 296.

              84 See Wallace Thurman, ‘Negro Artists and the Negro,’ The New Republic, August 31, 1927, 38.

              85 Hubert H. Harrison, “‘No Negro Literary Renaissance”, Says Well Known Writer,’ Pittsburgh Courier, March 12, 1927; Replicated in Perry, ed., A Hubert Harrison Reader, 351–4.

              86 As the instigator of the New Negro Movement a decade earlier, Harrison was perhaps a less than disinterested party, sensing a rival phenomenon, spearheaded by Locke and a young set of black writers that threatened to eclipse his more overtly political movement. Both Locke and Harrison used the symbol of ‘New Negro’ to different effect and the admission of a Negro renaissance in 1927 on Harrison’s part might have felt as if he were ceding ground to a Locke and his interpretation of this ‘new’ black identity. Harrison also wrote, with some derision, about what he saw as an exoticist ‘Cabaret School of Negro Literature and Art’, which he implied had begun to influence writers with ‘sound artistic impulse[s]’ like Zora Neale Hurston and Helene Johnson. Harrison also augurs another prospective discussion point about the Negro Renaissance: that its artists had been overly reliant on white patronage and endorsement. Perry, ed., A Hubert Harrison Reader, 351–7.

              87 Locke’s work is not referred to directly, but a dismissive reference to Arthur Schomburg’s article which first featured in Survey Graphic, and subsequently The New Negro, suggests a connection between Locke’s anthology and Frazier’s critique of the New Negro’s narrow culturalism. ‘In spite of the efforts of those who would… dig up his African past, the Negro is a stranger to African culture’. In putting forward his view that there was nothing African about the African American, Frazier clearly takes aim at Schomburg’s article (‘The Negro Digs Up his Past’). Privately, Frazier thought his Howard colleague Locke a ‘dilettante’ and as ‘vain as a popinjay’. See E. Franklin Frazier, ‘La Bourgeoisie Noire,’ Modern Quarterly 5, no. 1 (1928). Replicated in Gates and Jarrett, eds., The New Negro: Essays on Race, Representation, and African American Culture, 1892–1938, 139–40; Richard H. King, Race, Culture, and the Intellectuals: 1940–1970 (Washington: Woodrow Wilson Center Press, 2004), 132.

              88 Alain Locke, ‘1928: A Retrospective Review,’ Opportunity 7, no. 1 (January 1929): 8.

              89 Lloyd Morris, ‘The Negro “Renaissance”,’ Southern Workman 59 (February 1930): 82, 86; Reprinted in Gates and Jarrett, eds., The New Negro: Essays on Race, Representation, and African American Culture, 1892–1938, 237, 240.

              90 Morris’s essay pre-empts another by John Matheus, ‘Some Aspects of the Negro Interpreted in Contemporary American and European Literature’ featured in Nancy Cunard’s 1934 anthology, Negro, which examines the representation of the Negro in literature on a world scale. John Matheus, ‘Some Aspects of the Negro Interpreted in Contemporary American and European Literature,’ Negro: An Anthology, eds. Nancy Cunard and Hugh D. Ford (New York: Continuum, 1996).

              91 Martha Gruening, ‘The Negro Renaissance,’ Hound and Horn 5, no. 3 (April–June 1932): 505.

              92 Nancy Cunard, ‘Harlem Reviewed,’ Negro: An Anthology, eds. Nancy Cunard and Hugh D. Ford (New York: Continuum, 1996), 53; Reprinted in Gates and Jarrett, eds., The New Negro: Essays on Race, Representation, and African American Culture, 1892–1938, 241.

              93 Cunard, ‘Harlem Reviewed,’ 47, 53.

              94 There is an ambiguity as to whether the New Negro movement and the Negro Renaissance are synonymous, as the Renaissance is associated with Harlem, and may function along lines similar to or as a subset of the New Negro movement.

              95 Cunard, ‘The American Moron and the American of Sense – Letters on the Negro,’ 120.

              96 Fearnley traces the conception of Harlem school to white writers, such as Carl Van Doren and John Chamberlain, both of whom linked the development in black writing directly with Harlem in 1926 and 1930 respectively. Fearnley, ‘When the Harlem Renaissance Became Vogue: Periodization and the Organization of Postwar American Historiography,’ 63.

              97 In the 1940s, Ralph Ellison wrote of ‘the “Harlem” writers of the twenties’ in ways which suggest something like a Harlem school. Richard Wright, ‘Blueprint for Negro Writing,’ in New Challenge: A Literary Quarterly (Fall 1937); Reprinted here: Richard Wright, ‘Blueprint for Negro Writing,’ in The New Negro: Essays on Race, Representation, and African American Culture, 1892–1938, eds. Henry Louis Gates and Gene Andrew Jarrett (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2007), 273; Sterling A. Brown, The Negro in American Fiction (Washington: The Associates in Negro Folk Education, 1937), 149; Ralph Ellison, ‘Recent Negro Fiction,’ New Masses, August 5, 1941.

              98 Robert Bone, The Negro Novel in America (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1958), 65, 97.

              99 Bone saw both the Harlem School and Old Guard as contributors to a ‘Negro Renaissance’, which he saw as a growth of black writing in the United States in the 1920s and 1930s. Reading between the lines, Bone’s categories roughly factored in some indicative generational distinctions, with the Rear or Old Guard generally being older than the Harlem School, although White, a Rear Guarder, was younger than McKay (a dean of the Harlem School).

              100 Hutchinson, ed., The Cambridge Companion to the Harlem Renaissance, 7.

              101 T. Thomas Fortune Fletcher, ‘The Negro Literature Course,’ The National Educational Outlook Among Negroes 1, no. 9 (May 1938): 10–11.

              102 See, for example, Shelly Eversley, The Real Negro: The Question of Authenticity in Twentieth-Century African American Literature (London; New York: Routledge, 2014), 25; Craig Gable, Ebony Rising: Short Fiction of the Greater Harlem Renaissance Era (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2004), xxi.

              103 Alain Locke, ‘The Negro: “New” or Newer? A Retrospective Review of the Literature of the Negro for 1938,’ Opportunity 17, no. 1–2 (January–February 1939): 4–5.

              104 For further discussion of this, see Nadell, Enter the New Negroes: Images of Race in American Culture, 160–1; See also Martha Jane Nadell, ‘Alain Locke,’ in Harlem Speaks: A Living History of the Harlem Renaissance, ed. Cary D. Wintz (Naperville: Sourcebooks, 2006), 429.

              105 Michael Soto, for example, writes ‘For better or for worse, we inherit the phrase [Harlem Renaissance] from Langston Hughes’. See Michael Soto, ‘Mapping the Harlem Renaissance in the Americas,’ in A Companion to the Harlem Renaissance, ed. Cherene Sherrard-Johnson (Hoboken: Wiley Blackwell, 2015), 441.

              106 Ollie Stewart, ‘Harlem Renaissance,’ The Commentator 5, no. 5 (1939): 108.

              107 Claude McKay, Home to Harlem (Massachusetts: Northeastern University Press, 1987), 309.

              108 Stewart, ‘Harlem Renaissance,’ 110, 112.

              109 Stewart, ‘Harlem Renaissance,’ 108–9.

              110 See Arnold Rampersad, The Life of Langston Hughes: Volume I: 1902–1941, I, Too, Sing America (New York: Oxford University Press, 2002), 351; Jinx Coleman Broussard and Newly Paul, ‘Ollie Stewart: An African American Looking at American Politics, Society and Culture,’ The Journal of Pan African Studies 6, no. 8 (March 2014): 231; Thomas G. Smith, ‘Outside the Pale: The Exclusion of Blacks from the National Football League, 1934–1946,’ From Jack Johnson to Lebron James Sports, Media, and the Color Line, ed. Chris Lamb (Lincoln; London: University of Nebraska Press, 2016), 142.

              111 Hayward Farrar, The Baltimore Afro-American: 1892–1950 (Westport: Greenwood Press, 1998), 15–16.

              112 Hughes, The Big Sea: An Autobiography, 334; This exhibition book about the Harlem Renaissance, for example, claims that Franklin first coined the phrase ‘Harlem Renaissance’: Richard J. Powell, David A. Bailey and Joanna Skipwith, Rhapsodies in Black: Art of the Harlem Renaissance (London: Hayward Gallery; Berkeley: Institute of International Visual Arts, University of California Press, 1997), 17; Andrew Fearnley’s asserts that the ‘Harlem Renaissance’ was ‘erratically’ invented between 1940 and 1947 and cites Hughes and Franklin as coining the term in 1940 and 1947 respectively. See Fearnley, ‘When the Harlem Renaissance Became Vogue: Periodization and the Organization of Postwar American Historiography,’ 68–9; The implications of Sherrard-Johnson’s companion to the Harlem Renaissance are that Hughes was the first person to coin the term. See Cherene Sherrard-Johnson, ed., A Companion to the Harlem Renaissance (Hoboken: Wiley Blackwell, 2015), 2.

              113 Claude McKay, Harlem: Negro Metropolis (New York: Harvest, 1968), 248.

              114 Ralph Ellison, ‘Stormy Weather’ New Masses, September 24, 1940, 20; Richard Wright, ‘Forerunner and Ambassador,’ New Republic October 28, 1940, 601.

              115 Hughes, The Big Sea: An Autobiography, 221, 223, 247, 275, 273.

              116 McKay, Harlem: Negro Metropolis, 105.

              117 John Hope Franklin, From Slavery to Freedom: A History of American Negroes, 1st ed. (New York: Knopf, 1947), 489–511.

              118 Franklin, From Slavery to Freedom: A History of American Negroes, 490.

              119 Arna Bontemps, ‘Heroes of the Harlem Renaissance,’ Negro Digest, 5, no. 8 (1947): 20–24.

              120 Rayford W. Logan, Eugene C. Holmes and G. Franklin Edwards, eds., The New Negro Thirty Years Afterward (Washington: Howard University Press, 1956).

              121 Sterling Brown, ‘The New Negro in Literature (1925–1955),’ Remembering the Harlem Renaissance, ed. Cary D. Wintz (New York: Garland Pub., 1996), 203.

              122 Brown, ‘The New Negro in Literature (1925–1955),’ 203.

              123 Logan, Holmes and Edwards, eds., The New Negro Thirty Years Afterward, iii.

              124 Arna Bontemps and Langston Hughes, Bontemps to Hughes, 25 April 1955; See Charles Harold Nichols, ed., Arna Bontemps-Langston Hughes, Letters 1925–1967 (New York: Paragon House, 1990), 332.

              125 Ernest Julius Mitchell, “‘Black Renaissance”: A Brief History of the Concept,’ Amerikastudien/American Studies 55, no. 4 (2010): 651.

              126 The Negro Renaissance in Locke’s view had a long history ahead of it: ‘we are still in the hill-town stage, and the mellowness of maturity has not yet come upon us’. Alain Locke, ‘Our Little Renaissance,’ in Ebony and Topaz: A Collectanea, ed. Charles Spurgeon Johnson (New York: Opportunity, National Urban League, 1927), 118.

              127 Arna Bontemps, ‘The New Black Renaissance,’ Negro Digest XI, no. 1 (November 1961): 54.

              128 Richard B. Moore, ‘Africa Conscious Harlem,’ in Harlem: A Community in Transition, ed. John Henrik Clarke (New York: Citadel Press, 1964), 85; Langston Hughes, ‘My Early Days in Harlem,’ in Freedomways: A Quarterly Review of the Negro Freedom Movement 3, no. 3 (1963): 313–4; See also Mitchell, “‘Black Renaissance”: A Brief History of the Concept,’ 651.

              129 Addison Gayle, The Black Aesthetic (Garden City: Anchor Books, 1971).

              130 Addison Gayle, ‘The Harlem Renaissance: Towards a Black Aesthetic,’ Midcontinent American Studies Journal 11, no. 2 (1970): 86.

              131 Gayle contradicted himself, as he also branded Ellison and Johnson assimilationist writers elsewhere. Gayle, ‘The Harlem Renaissance: Towards a Black Aesthetic,’ 81; See King, Race, Culture, and the Intellectuals: 1940–1970, 289.

              132 John Hope Franklin, From Slavery to Freedom: A History of Negro Americans, 4th ed. (New York: Knopf, 1974), vii.

              133 Franklin, From Slavery to Freedom: A History of Negro Americans, 372–93.

              134 Chandra Talpade Mohanty, ‘On Race and Voice: Challenges for Liberal Education in the 1990s,’ in Between Borders: Pedagogy and the Politics of Cultural Studies, eds. Henry A. Giroux and Peter McLaren (Abingdon: Routledge, 2014), 149; Talmadge Anderson and James B. Stewart, Introduction to African American Studies: Transdisciplinary Approaches and Implications (Baltimore: Inprint Editions, 2007), 30–1.

              135 Matthew C. Whitaker, Peace Be Still: Modern Black America from World War II to Barack Obama (Lincoln; London: University of Nebraska Press, 2014), 155.

              136 For a brief account of the preference of the word ‘Black’ over ‘Negro’ and of the context of 1970s black cultural and political programmes, see entries on ‘Black Power Movement’ and ‘Black Arts Movement’ in Richard M. Juang and Noelle Anne Morrissette, eds., Africa and the Americas: Culture, Politics, and History (Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, 2012), 165–7, 175–7.

              137 Walter C. Daniel, Black Journals of the United States (Westport: Greenwood Press, 1982), 93.

              138 Harold Cruse, The Crisis of the Negro Intellectual (New York: Morrow, 1967), 22.

              139 Nathan Irvin Huggins, Harlem Renaissance (New York: Oxford University Press 1971).

              140 Cruse, The Crisis of the Negro Intellectual.

              141 Kristen Gallagher, ‘Teaching Freire and Cuny Open Admissions,’ in Class and the College Classroom: Essays on Teaching, ed. Robert C. Rosen (New York: Bloomsbury Academic, 2013), 52.

              142 King, Race, Culture, and the Intellectuals: 1940–1970, 268–9.

              143 Cruse, The Crisis of the Negro Intellectual, 12.

              144 Huggins taught ‘The Harlem Renaissance’ as a class in 1970–1971 and, after a sabbatical in 1974–1975, again in 1975–1976; see Columbia University, Columbia College: 1970–1971, Columbia Course Bulletins, New York. Columbia University, Columbia College: 1975–1976, Columbia Course Bulletins, New York. Both located in Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University, NY. Fearnley makes reference to similar courses being taught at University of Massachusetts–Amherst, Vassar College and the University of Florida, see: Fearnley, ‘When the Harlem Renaissance Became Vogue: Periodization and the Organization of Postwar American Historiography,’ 79.

              145 Huggins, ed., Voices from the Harlem Renaissance, 5.

              146 Arnold Rampersad, ‘Foreword,’ in Harlem Renaissance, ed. Nathan Irvin Huggins (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007), xxv.

              147 Arthur Paul Davis and Michael W. Peplow, The New Negro Renaissance: An Anthology (New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1975), xix–xx.

              148 According to Fearnley, David Levering Lewis’s book proposal for When Harlem Was in Vogue states that it was aimed at the ‘popular market’. See Fearnley, ‘When the Harlem Renaissance Became Vogue: Periodization and the Organization of Postwar American Historiography,’ 85.

              149 The exhibition catalogue, first published in 1987, ran to a second edition in 1994: David C. Driskell, Mary Schmidt Campbell, David L. Lewis and Deborah Willis Ryan, Harlem Renaissance: Art of Black America (New York: Abradale Press, Harry N. Abrams, 1994).

              150 Arna Bontemps, ‘The Awakening: A Memoir,’ in The Harlem Renaissance Remembered: Essays (New York: Dodd, Mead, 1972), 1.

              151 Survey Graphic. Locke, ‘The New Negro,’ 6, 14.

              152 Locke, ‘Foreword,’ xxvii.

              153 Locke, ‘The New Negro,’ 14.

              154 The main arguments were contained in his final lecture, which was published as an article, ‘The Negro in Three Americas’, in the Journal of Negro Education in 1944. See Charles Molesworth, ed., The Works of Alain Locke (Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 2012), xxxiv, 546; Leonard Harris and Charles Molesworth, Alain L. Locke: The Biography of a Philosopher (Chicago; Bristol: University of Chicago Press, 2010), 349–50.

              155 Brown, ‘The New Negro in Literature (1925–1955),’ 206, 208.

              156 Washington, Williams and Wood, eds., A New Negro for a New Century: An Accurate and Up-to-Date Record of the Upward Struggles of the Negro Race, 15.

              157 Casely Hayford, Ethiopia Unbound, 163.

              158 Adelaide M. Cromwell, An African Victorian Feminist: The Life and Times of Adelaide Smith Casely Hayford 1848–1960 (Hoboken: Taylor and Francis, 2014), 120.

              159 Johnson, ‘Credit Is Due the West Indian’. Quoted in Mitchell, “‘Black Renaissance”: A Brief History of the Concept,’ 642.

              160 For a list of some of the Civic Club dinner attendees, see ‘The Debut of the Younger School of Negro Writers’.

              161 Eric Walrond, ‘The Palm Porch,’ in The New Negro: An Interpretation, ed. Alain Locke (New York: A. and C. Boni, 1925).

              162 Survey Graphic, 685; Alain Locke, ed., The New Negro: An Interpretation (New York: A. and C. Boni, 1925), 342.

              163 Andrade, according to one source, had become a band leader at the Renaissance complex in 1923. Harlem’s Renaissance Theater and the Renaissance Casino and Ballroom were located on the corner of Seventh Avenue and 137th and 138th streets. Unlike other Harlem cabarets and nightspots, the Renaissance buildings did not bar blacks entry. Eric Walrond evokes the Renaissance complex in his essay ‘Black City’, while McKay wrote of the buildings in Harlem: Negro Metropolis as a familiar fixture of Harlem, ‘where the top-hatted gentleman and his lady… a Pullman porter… or just a big time procurer’ might enjoy ‘a formal dance’. [SOURCE TBA]. See McKay, Harlem: Negro Metropolis, 23; Eric Walrond, ‘The Black City,’ The Messenger 6, (January 1924); Reprinted in Parascandola, ‘Look for Me All around You’: Anglophone Caribbean Immigrants in the Harlem Renaissance, 334–6; Putnam, Radical Moves: Caribbean Migrants and the Politics of Race in the Jazz Age, 162.

              164 Locke, ‘1928: A Retrospective Review’.

              165 Cruse, The Crisis of the Negro Intellectual, 119, 124–5, 207.

              166 Nathan Irvin Huggins, Harlem Renaissance (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007), 309.

              167 Huggins, ed., Voices from the Harlem Renaissance, 4, 8.

              168 Huggins, ed., Voices from the Harlem Renaissance, 9.

              169 The strictness here is questionable, as it suggests two discrete tracks, one political, the other cultural, with little or no grey areas – a move which flattens out the complexities of often discrepant and multifaceted New Negro discourse.

              170 Gates and Jarrett, eds., The New Negro: Essays on Race, Representation, and African American Culture, 1892–1938, 9.

              171 Gayle, ‘The Harlem Renaissance: Towards a Black Aesthetic’.

              172 Hughes, The Big Sea: An Autobiography, 218.

              173 Negro Champion, June 1926; Quoted in Glenda Elizabeth Gilmore, Defying Dixie: The Radical Roots of Civil Rights, 1919–1950 (New York; London: W.W. Norton, 2008), 56.

              174 Hubert H. Harrison, ‘Programs and Principles of the International Colored Unity League,’ The Voice of the Negro 1, no. 1 (April 1927); Reprinted in Perry, ed., A Hubert Harrison Reader, 399–402.

              175 See ‘New Negro Movement,’ in Encyclopedia of African American History, eds. Leslie M. Alexander and Walter C. Rucker (Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, 2010), 926.

              176 Stewart, The New Negro: The Life of Alain Locke, 230, 235; Perry, Hubert Harrison: The Voice of Harlem Radicalism, 1883–1918, 87, 92.

              177 See Stewart, The New Negro: The Life of Alain Locke, 401; Tony Martin, Literary Garveyism: Garvey, Black Arts and the Harlem Renaissance (Dover: The Majority Press, 1983), 156.

              178 Outline of ‘The Survey Graphic Harlem Issue’, reel 39, part 1, Survey Associates 1925; Quoted in Foley, Spectres of 1919: Class and Nation in the Making of the New Negro, 225; Hutchinson, The Harlem Renaissance in Black and White, 393–4.

              179 While it has been noted that black radicals were omitted from the invitation list of the 1924 Civic Club dinner, Johnson did send Hubert Harrison an invitation – though it seems unlikely that he attended.

              180 William Stanley Braithwaite, ‘The Negro in American Literature,’ in The New Negro: An Interpretation, ed. Alain Locke (New York: A. and C. Boni, 1925), 40.

              181 Charles S. Johnson, ‘Editorials,’ Opportunity 4, no. 47 (November 1926): 334.

              182 In The Practice of Diaspora, Brent Hayes Edwards raises ‘questions about the role of outer-national sites even in texts that are putatively the canonical literature of “Harlem”’, pinpointing some of the complexities inherent in the naming of the movement as a ‘Harlem’ phenomenon. See Brent Hayes Edwards, The Practice of Diaspora: Literature, Translation, and the Rise of Black Internationalism (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2003), 4.

              183 W. E. B. Du Bois to Claude McKay, March 16, 1927, in the Claude McKay Papers, Beinecke Library, Yale University. See also Wayne F. Cooper, Claude McKay: Rebel Sojourner in the Harlem Renaissance: A Biography (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State U.P., 1996), 234; Alain LeRoy Locke, ‘Spiritual Truancy,’ in New Challenge: A Literary Quarterly 2, no. 2 (Fall 1937); Quoted in Huggins, ed., Voices from the Harlem Renaissance, 404–5.

              184 David L. Lewis, When Harlem Was in Vogue (New York: Penguin Books, 1997), xvi.

              185 Reprinted in James Weldon Johnson, ‘Self-Determining Haiti,’ in The Selected Writings of James Weldon Johnson, ed. Sondra Kathryn Wilson, vol. 2 (New York; Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995); James Weldon Johnson, ‘The Truth About Haiti,’ The Crisis 20.5 (September 1920).

              186 For a summary of Johnson’s influence on Afro-Caribbean New York radicals and of Haiti’s ad Liberia’s prominence in Communist circles, see Raphael Dalleo, American Imperialism’s Undead: The Occupation of Haiti and the Rise of Caribbean Anticolonialism (Charlottesville; London: University of Virginia Press, 2016), 52–8, 60–2.

              187 See Edwards, The Practice of Diaspora: Literature, Translation, and the Rise of Black Internationalism. Davarian L. Baldwin and Minkah Makalani, eds., Escape from New York: The New Negro Renaissance Beyond Harlem (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2013); David Luis-Brown, ‘Cuban Negrismo, Mexican Indigenismo: Contesting Neocolonialism in the New Negro Movement,’ in Escape from New York: The New Negro Renaissance Beyond Harlem, eds. Davarian L. Baldwin and Minkah Makalani (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2013); Shelley Streeby, Radical Sensations: World Movements, Violence, and Visual Culture (Durham; London: Duke University Press, 2013); Dalleo, American Imperialism’s Undead: The Occupation of Haiti and the Rise of Caribbean Anticolonialism.

              188 Claude Mac Kay [sic], ‘A L’Amerique/To America,’ in La Revue Du Monde Noir/The Review of the Black World, 1931–1932: Collection Complète, No. 1 À 6, ed. Jean-Michel Place (Paris: Jean-Michel Place, 1992), 38.

              189 This is my own translation: ‘Elle doit sa conception même à la culture de ces jeunes Antillaises francophones poursuivant des études d’anglais à la Sorbonne ou familliarisées [sic] avec cette langue au cours de vacances aux Antilles anglaises. Elles surent offrir l’occasion de s’exprimer librement aux écrivains issus de ces îles et surtout à ceux des Etats-Unis, connaissant peu le français. Démultipliant ainsi auprès des Haïtiens et des Africains, peu entraînés à parler l’anglais, les valeurs révolutionnaires que leur livrait la lecture des poèmes, essais et romans américains.’ Louis Thomas Achille, ‘Préface,’ in La Revue Du Monde Noir/The Review of the Black World, 1931–1932: Collection Complète, No. 1 À 6, ed. Jean-Michel Place (Paris: Jean-Michel Place, 1992), ix–x.

              190 Joel A. Rogers, April 1937 notebook, Box 8, Joel Augustus Rogers Collection.

              191 Jane Nardal, ‘Internationalisme Noir,’ La Dépêche Africaine, February 15, 1928.

              192 Heather Hathaway, Caribbean Waves: Relocating Claude McKay and Paule Marshall (Bloomington; Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1999), 5, 7.

              193 Scholars working in this vein include: Louis Parascandola, Jeffrey Perry, Joyce Moore Turner and W. Burghardt Turner, Michelle Ann Stephens, Jeff Karem, James Davis, Rafael Dalleo and Lara Putnam.

              194 Edwards, The Practice of Diaspora: Literature, Translation, and the Rise of Black Internationalism, 2–3.

              195 Edwards, The Practice of Diaspora: Literature, Translation, and the Rise of Black Internationalism, 322, fn. 8.

              196 See nt. 119.

              197 Putnam, Radical Moves: Caribbean Migrants and the Politics of Race in the Jazz Age, 131–2.

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            Figures

            Figure 1

            Cover illustration, American Negro Labor Congress: A Call to Action, 1925 (Courtesy: Tobias Higbie).

            Figure 2

            Front cover of A New Negro for a New Century (1900) with portrait of Booker T. Washington.

            Figure 3

            Portrait of Mrs. Booker T. Washington from A New Negro for a New Century.

            Figure 4

            Winold Reiss, ‘Congo: a familiar of the New York studios’, Survey Graphic 6, No. 6 (March 1925), 651 (Courtesy: London School of Economics Library).

            Figure 5

            Winold Reiss, ‘A college lad’, Survey Graphic 6, No. 6 (March 1925), 654 (Courtesy: London School of Economics Library).

            Figure 6

            Winold Reiss, ‘Portrait sketch: Alain Locke’, The New Negro: An Interpretation (1925), facing page 6 (Courtesy: National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution).

            Figure 7

            Winold Reiss, ‘Portrait: Charles S. Johnson’, The New Negro: An Interpretation (1925), facing page 278 (Courtesy: National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution).

            Figure 8

            Winold Reiss, ‘Portrait: W. E. Burghardt Du Bois’, The New Negro: An Interpretation (1925), facing page 386 (Courtesy: National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution).

            Figure 9

            Portrait of Antonio Maceo from Booker T. Washington, Fannie Barrier Williams and Norman B. Wood, A New Negro for a New Century (1900), 25.

            Figure 10

            Winold Reiss, ‘A Woman from the Virgin Islands’, Survey Graphic 6, No. 6 (March 1925), 685 (Courtesy: London School of Economics Library); reprinted as Winold Reiss, ‘From the Tropic Isles’, The New Negro: An Interpretation, facing page 342.

            Author and article information

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            Radical Americas
            UCL Press
            2399-4606
            21 September 2018
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            RA-3-13
            10.14324/111.444.ra.2018.v3.1.013
            beb47ac2-cd07-4bf3-8564-4c2b2317b824
            © 2018, Jak Peake.

            This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY) 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/, which permits unrestricted use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited • DOI: https://doi.org/10.14324/111.444.ra.2018.v3.1.013.

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            Peake, J. ‘“Watching the Waters”: Tropic flows in the Harlem Renaissance, Black Internationalism and other currents.’ Radical Americas 3, 1 (2018): 13. DOI: https://doi.org/10.14324/111.444.ra.2018.v3.1.013.

            Sociology,Political science,Anglo-American studies,Americas,Cultural studies,History
            literature,black arts,radicalism,politics,culture,trans-American,Caribbean,United States,New Negro,Harlem Renaissance

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