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Life & Arts

'Miss Anne In Harlem' Looks at Women Who Crossed Race Lines

Robin Hultgren
Carla Kaplan, author of Miss Anne In Harlem

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with Carla Kaplan, Professor of American Literature at Northeastern University and author of "Miss Anne In Harlem: The White Women of the Black Renaissance."

Little could be more unusual in the 1920’s than for white, upper-class women to seek to become, in effect, honorary blacks. "Miss Anne in Harlem," is the first book to tell the story of a number of spirited white women who did just that: crossing race lines to play seminal roles in the great black cultural movement of the early twentieth century that came to be called the Harlem Renaissance.

Often viewed with suspicion by persons on both sides of the color line, these women were patrons and participants, friends and sometimes lovers - and frequently lightning rods for controversy as their motives for embracing blackness were misinterpreted, misrepresented, and ridiculed.

Kaplan’s engrossing group biography gives these women their due, exploring the intentions, contributions, and lasting significance of six women who left their mark on an emerging black cultural shift. 

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