Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Hostname: page-component-848d4c4894-jbqgn Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-06-25T07:09:51.676Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

Chapter 1 - Black Excesses and Deprivations in Literature and Photography of the 1930s

from Part I - Productive Precarity and Literary Realism

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  25 March 2022

Eve Dunbar
Affiliation:
Vassar College, New York
Ayesha K. Hardison
Affiliation:
University of Kansas
Get access

Summary

The decade of the 1930s reflects transitions in African American literary and photographic texts because of an emphasis on topics such as marriage, courtship, migration, childhood, as well as home in relationship to impoverishment and affluence. Discourse on aesthetics in African American literature also serves as a context for exploring representations of Black people in the 1930s. The chapter examines writings by authors such as Zora Neale Hurston, Langston Hughes, Arna Bontemps, and Marita Bonner, as well as other Black writers. Photographers James Van Der Zee and Carl Van Vechten depict Black people as prosperous, while Work Projects Administration and Farm Security Administration photographers portray Black people facing deprivation. Additionally, the chapter analyzes excess and deprivation in 1800s African American literature by Harriet Jacobs, William Wells Brown, and Frederick Douglass and post-1950 twentieth-century African American literature by Lorraine Hansberry as well as Toni Cade Bambara.

Type
Chapter
Information
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2022

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

References

“African American Children at a Turpentine Plantation in Brooksville, Florida.” State Library and Archives of Florida, www.floridamemory.com/items/show/259188 (accessed June 20, 2021).Google Scholar
Bascom, Lionel C.The Last Leaf: An Introduction.” In The Last Leaf of Harlem: Selected and Newly Discovered Fiction by the Author of The Wedding, ed. Bascom, Lionel C., xiiixxxii. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2008.Google Scholar
Bambara, Toni Cade. “The Lesson [1972].” In The Prentice Hall Anthology of African American Literature, eds. Smith, Rochelle and Jones, Sharon L., 802807. Upper Saddle, River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2000.Google Scholar
Bernard, Emily. Carl Van Vechten and the Harlem Renaissance: A Portrait in Black and White. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2012.Google Scholar
Birt, Rodger C.A Life in American Photography.” In Willis-Braithwaite, Deborah and Birt, Rodger, VanDerZee, Photographer: 1886–1983, 2673. New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc. and the National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, 1993.Google Scholar
Bonner, Marita. “The Whipping [1939].” In Ebony Rising: Short Fiction of the Greater Harlem Renaissance Era, ed. Gable, Craig, 475483. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2004.Google Scholar
Bontemps, Arna. “A Summer Tragedy [1933].” In Double-Take: A Revisionist Harlem Renaissance Anthology, eds. Patton, Venetria and Honey, Maureen, 546553. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2001.Google Scholar
Bordelon, Pamela. “Zora Neale Hurston: A Biographical Essay.” In Go Gator and Muddy the Water: Writings by Zora Neale Hurston from the Federal Writers Project, ed. Bordelon, Pamela, 149. New York; W.W. & Norton Co., 1999.Google Scholar
Bracks, Lean’tin L. Wynbush, Octavia Beatrice.” In Black Women of the Harlem Renaissance Era, eds. Bracks, Lean’tin L and Smith, Jessie Carney, 256. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 2014.Google Scholar
Brown, Sterling A.Our Literary Audience [1930].” In Within the Circle: An Anthology of African American Literary Criticism from the Harlem Renaissance to the Present, ed. Mitchell, Angelyn, 6978. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1994.Google Scholar
Brown, William Wells. “The Escape; or, a Leap for Freedom [1858].” In The Prentice Hall Anthology of African American Literature, eds. Smith, Rochelle and Jones, Sharon L., 4883. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2000.Google Scholar
Chronology.” In Folklore, Memoirs, and Other Writings, ed. Wall, Cheryl A., 961980. New York: Library of America, 1995.Google Scholar
Coleman, Anita Scott. “Two Old Women A-Shopping Go! A Story of Man, Marriage, and Poverty [1933].” In Double-Take: A Revisionist Harlem Renaissance Anthology, eds. Patton, Venetria and Honey, Maureen, 317321. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2001.Google Scholar
“Couple, Harlem.” Library of Congress, www.loc.gov/pictures/item/2002711328/ (accessed June 20, 2021).Google Scholar
Davis, Cynthia, and Mitchell, Verner D.. “Introduction: Anita Scott Coleman in the Southwest.” In Western Echoes of the Harlem Renaissance: The Life and Writing of Anita Scott Coleman, eds. Davis, Cynthia and Mitchell, Verner D., 343. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2008.Google Scholar
Deutsch, Tracey. “Great Depression.” Encyclopedia of Chicago, www.encyclopedia.chicagohistory.org/pages/542.html (accessed June 20, 2021).Google Scholar
Dickson-Carr, Darryl. “Introduction.” In Ebony Rising: Short Fiction of the Greater Renaissance Era, ed. Gable, Craig, xxixlii. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2004.Google Scholar
Dolinar, Brian. “Federal Writer’s Project.” Oxford Bibliographies, last modified June 28, 2016, www.oxfordbibliographies.com/view/document/obo-9780190280024/obo-9780190280024-0021.xml (accessed June 20, 2021).Google Scholar
Douglass, Frederick. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave [1845]. www.docsouth2021.unc.edu/neh/douglass/douglass.html (accessed June 20, 2021).Google Scholar
Editors of Encyclopedia Britannica, “Harlem race riot of 1935,” Britannica Online Encyclopedia, last modified October 23, 2020, www.britannica.com/topic/Harlem-race-riot-of-1935 (accessed June 20, 2021). Note: According to the article, “This article was most recently revised and updated by Adam Augustyn, Managing Editor, Reference Content.”Google Scholar
Greenberg, Cheryl Lynn. “Or Does It Explode?”: Black Harlem in the Great Depression. New York: Oxford University Press, 1991.Google Scholar
Griffin, Farah Jasmine. “Who Set You Flowin’?”: The African-American Migration Narrative. New York: Oxford University Press, 1995.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Hansberry, Lorraine. A Raisin in the Sun [1959]. In The Prentice Hall Anthology of African American Literature, eds. Smith, Rochelle and Jones, Sharon L., 594657. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2000.Google Scholar
Hughes, Langston. “Why, You Reckon [1934].” In Ebony Rising: Short Fiction of the Greater Harlem Renaissance Era, ed. Gable, Craig, 370381. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2004.Google Scholar
Hull, Gloria T. Color, Sex, & Poetry: Three Women Writers of the Harlem Renaissance. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1987.Google Scholar
“Hurston and the Turpentine Camps.” Florida Memory. Zora Neale Hurston and the WPA In Florida: Photos and History, www.floridamemory.com/learn/classroom/learning-units/zora-neale-hurston/photos/ (accessed June 20, 2021).Google Scholar
Hurston, Zora Neale. “Characteristics of Negro Expression [1934].” In Within the Circle: An Anthology of African American Literary Criticism from the Harlem Renaissance to the Present, ed. Mitchell, Angelyn, 7994. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1994.Google Scholar
Hurston, Zora NealeDiddy-Wah-Diddy.” In Go Gator and Muddy the Water: Writings by Zora Neale Hurston from the Federal Writers Project, ed. Bordelon, Pamela, 107 (New York: W. W. Norton & Co., 1999).Google Scholar
Hurston, Zora Neale Dust Tracks on a Road. In Folklore, Memoirs, and Other Writings [1942/1995], ed. Wall, Cheryl A., 557808. New York: Library of America, 1995.Google Scholar
Hurston, Zora Neale Jonah’s Gourd Vine [1934]. In Novels and Stories, 1171. New York: Library of America, 1995.Google Scholar
Jacobs, Harriet. Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl [1861]. Mineola, NY: Dover, 2001.Google Scholar
Johnson, Georgia Douglas. “Tramp Love [1937].” In Double-Take: A Revisionist Harlem Renaissance Anthology, eds. Patton, Venetria and Honey, Maureen, 159163. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2001.Google Scholar
Johnson, James Weldon. Black Manhattan. New York: Atheneum, 1968.Google Scholar
Kuperman, David. “Dying: The Shape of Victory in ‘A Summer Tragedy.’” MELUS 5, no.1 (Spring 1978): 6668. www.jstor.org/stable/763415 (accessed June 20, 2021).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Levine, Lawrence. “Photography and the History of the American People in the 1930s and 1940s.” In Documenting America, 1935–1943, eds. Fleischhauer, Carl and Brannon, Beverly W., 1542. Berkeley: University of California Press/Library of Congress, 1988.Google Scholar
Lowe, John. Jump at the Sun: Zora Neale Hurston’s Cosmic Comedy. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1994.Google Scholar
Marsh, John. “Sympathy and Poverty.” In American Literature in Transition, 1930–1940, ed. Takayoshi, Ichiro, 7594. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018.Google Scholar
McDannell, Colleen. Picturing Faith: Photography and the Great Depression. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2004.Google Scholar
McKay, Claude. “Harlem Runs Wild [1935].” In Voices from the Harlem Renaissance, ed. Huggins, Nathan Irvin, 381384. New York: Oxford University Press, 1976.Google Scholar
Mitchell, Verner D., and Davis, Cynthia. “Introduction.” In Where the Wild Grape Grows: Selected Writings, 1930-1950 [Dorothy West], eds. Mitchell, Verner D. and Davis, Cynthia, 348. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 2005.Google Scholar
Mitchell, Verner D., and Davis, Cynthia Literary Sisters: Dorothy West and Circle, A Biography of the Harlem Renaissance. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2012.Google Scholar
Morgan, Stacy I. Rethinking Social Realism: African American Art and Literature, 1930–1953. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2004.Google Scholar
Orvell, Miles. American Photography. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003.Google Scholar
Ostrom, Hans. Langston Hughes: A Study of the Short Fiction. New York: Twayne, 1993.Google Scholar
Patton, Venetria, and Honey, Maureen, “Introduction.” In Double-Take: A Revisionist Harlem Renaissance Anthology, eds. Patton, Venetria and Honey, Maureen, xixxxxix. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2001.Google Scholar
Perry, Regina A.Introduction.” In James Van Der Zee, eds. De Cock, Liliane and McGhee, Reginald, 817. Dobbs Ferry, NY: Morgan and Morgan, 1973.Google Scholar
Rauchway, Eric. The Great Depression and the New Deal: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008.Google Scholar
Sherrard-Johnson, Cherene. Dorothy West’s Paradise: A Biography of Class and Color. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2012.Google Scholar
Taketani, Etsuko. “Black Culture at Home and Abroad.” In American Literature in Transition, 1930–1940, ed. Takayoshi, Ichiro, 95111. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018.Google Scholar
“Turpentine Industry Workers.” Florida Memory State Library and Archives of Florida, www.floridamemory.com/items/show/11005 (accessed June 20, 2021).Google Scholar
Varlack, Christopher Allen. “West, Dorothy.” In Black Women of the Harlem Renaissance Era, eds. Bracks, Lean’tin L and Smith, Jesse Carney, 250-251. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 2014.Google Scholar
“Wedding Party #1.” https://artgallery.yale.edu/collections/objects/92459 (accessed June 20, 2021).Google Scholar
West, Dorothy. “Pluto.” In The Last Leaf of Harlem: Selected and Newly Discovered Fiction by the Author of The Wedding, ed. Bascom, Lionel C., 8993. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2008.Google Scholar
Willis, Deborah. Reflections in Black: A History of Black Photographers 1840 to the Present. New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 2000.Google Scholar
Willis, DeborahPhotography.” In The Harvard Guide to African-American History, eds. Higginbotham, Evelyn Brooks, Litwack, Leon F., Hine, Darlene Clark, and Burkett, Randall K., 167176. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2001.Google Scholar
Willis-Braithwaite, Deborah, and Birt, Rodger. Van Der Zee, Photographer: 1886–1983. New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc. and the National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, 1993.Google Scholar
Wright, Richard. 12 Million Black Voices. New York: Thunder’s Mouth Press, 1988.Google Scholar
Wright, RichardBlueprint for Negro Writing [1937].” In Within the Circle: An Anthology of African American Literary Criticism from the Harlem Renaissance to the Present, ed. Mitchell, Angelyn, 97106. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1994.Google Scholar
Wynbush, Octavia B.The Return of a Modern Prodigal [1937].” In Ebony Rising: Short Fiction of the Greater Harlem Renaissance Era, ed. Gable, Craig, 444453. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2004.Google Scholar

Save book to Kindle

To save this book to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats
×

Save book to Dropbox

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Available formats
×