Harlem On Their Minds: Life In America’s Black Capital
NPR - 09/10/2013
With her story Miss Anne in Harlem: The White Women of the Black Renaissance, historian Carla Kaplan, who teaches at Northeastern University, introduces readers more fully to those women. (“Miss Anne” is a generic term within the black community for white women, especially those who rely on the privilege of their race. Kaplan’s use of it in the book’s title signifies her insider’s knowledge — as well as her intent to be purposefully provocative.) Many of us who read about the works of Hurston and Hughes, two of the most famous Harlem Renaissance figures, knew that they and other writers had white women who helped support them while they produced their art. But these women were seen as ancillary to the process, referred to in the black writers’ letters and papers as the holders of purse strings that, when loosened, allowed the artist to continue his work. Although, as we discover through Kaplan’s book, that support was not unconditional.