ANTHOLOGY OF AMERICAN
NEGRO LITERATURE

EDITED, WITH AN INTRODUCTION, BY

V. F. CALVERTON




THE MODERN LIBRARY

PUBLISHERS : NEW YORK




Copyright, 1929, by THE MODERN LIBRARY, INC.

First Modern Library Edition

1929




Manufactured in the United States of America
Bound for THE MODERN LIBRARY by H. Wolff




TO

WALTER WHITE

IN ADMIRATION OF HIS COURAGE IN THE CAUSE
OF HIS PEOPLE, AND IN TENDER APPRECIATION
OF THAT FINE, INSPIRING WARMTH WHICH
I HAVE FOUND IN HIS FRIENDSHIP.




PREFACE

THERE are a few words that ought to be said in explanation of the nature of this volume. It is an anthology which is representative above everything else. This does not mean that an attempt has not been made in every case to choose work of merit, but that in a number of instances it has been necessary to include material because of its representative value, although it is without fine, literary distinction. Certain nineteenth-century poems, for instance, which have been included are pathetically naïve and sentimental; yet in the development of Negro literature they undoubtedly have their place, and, therefore, have been used. In other words, these stories, poems, essays, and selected chapters from novels, purport simply to represent what the Negro in America has achieved in the art of literary forms.

Certain difficulties inherent in a volume of this kind should be obvious to every reader. In selecting chapters from various novels, there is always the danger that the chapters will seem strange and unconvincing when removed from their context. Naturally, in every case, those chapters have been chosen which stand most definitely apart, and convey meaning and movement within themselves, disengaged though they are from their surrounding substance. In the instance of the spirituals and blues, it is unfortunate that they must appear in this bare form, without notes, but in an anthology of this character the presence of scales would be somewhat incongruous.

Since this is the first anthology of Negro literature which, in terms of historical background as well as diversity of forms, has endeavored to be so inclusive, it is hoped that

vii


viii

it will be excused from inadequacies that are inevitable in such a work. It should be noted, also, that no selections were made from such recent novels as Banjo, Plum Bun, and Passing, or Walter White’s very significant social study, Rope and Faggot, because they appeared at a time when it was too late to insert anything from them in this anthology.

In order to organize this volume into its present form, it was necessary to have the aid of many writers and publishers, and to thank them all in this quiet, formal way bespeaks little of the depth of my gratitude. In many cases, the authors of selections included in this volume lent their aid generously in the way of advice and suggestion. It would be extremely ungenerous, indeed, not to mention also, my great indebtedness to Mr. W. C. Handy for his wonderfully kind cooperation in aiding me in the matter of securing certain rights to publish the Blues which appear in this collection. For material directly used I am indebted to the following publishers:

The Atlantic Monthly; A. & C. Boni; Century Magazine; Cornhill Publishing Co.; The Carolina Magazine; Duffield and Company; Dodd, Mead & Company; Doubleday, Doran and Company; Horace Liveright, Inc.; Harcourt, Brace and Co.; Harper Brothers; Houghton Mifflin Company; Alfred A. Knopf; McClurg and Company; Macaulay Company; The Modern Quarterly; Opportunity; Vanguard Press; Viking Press; The Lantern.

V.F.C.




CONTENTS

  PAGE
PREFACE vii
   
INTRODUCTION 1
     V. F. Calverton, “The Growth of Negro Literature”  
   
FICTION  
   
   Short Story  
   
     Jean Toomer, “Fern” 21
     Charles Waddell Chesnutt, “The Goophered Grapevine” 27
     Eric Walrond, “The Yellow One” 39
     Rudolph Fisher, “Blades of Steel” 53
   
   Novel  
   
     Walter White, “The Fire in the Flint” 73
     W. E. B. Du Bois, “The Dark Princess” 80
     Jessie Fauset, “There Is Confusion” 92
     Wallace Thurman, “The Blacker the Berry” 107
     Nella Larsen, “Quicksand” 121
     Claude McKay, “Home to Harlem” 128
     Rudolph Fisher, “Walls of Jericho” 136
   
DRAMA  
   
     Georgia Douglas Johnson, “Plumes” 147
     Jonathan Matheus, “'Cruiter 157
   
POETRY  
   
     Phyllis Wheatley, “Imagination”  175
     Albert A. Whitman, “Rape of Florida” 175
     Frances E. Harper, “Poem Addressed to Women” 176
     James Madison-Bell, “The Progress of Liberty”   176
   
ix
   
     Joseph S. Cotter, Jr., “The Band of Gideon”    178
     James D. Corrothers, “At the Closed Gate of Justice” 179
     Paul Laurence Dunbar  
          “Robert Gould Shaw” 180
          “Ode to Ethiopia” 181
          “When Malindy Sings” 182
     Fenton Johnson, “The New Day”  184
     Georgia Douglas Johnson, “I Want to Die While You Love Me” 186
     Angelina Weld Grimke, “For the Candle Light” 187
     Countee Cullen  
          “To You Who Read My Book”   187
          “To John Keats, Poet, At Springtime” 191
          “Heritage” 192
          “To a Brown Girl” 196
          “To a Brown Boy” 197
          “Tableau” 197
          “In Memory of Colonel Charles Young” 198
     William Stanley Braithwaite, “Scintilla” 198
     James Weldon Johnson, “The Creation—A Negro Sermon” 199
     Jean Toomer  
          “Georgia Dusk”  202
          “Song of the Son” 203
     Claude McKay  
          “If We Must Die” 203
          “The Harlem Dancer” 204
          “Spring in New Hampshire” 205
          “The Lynching” 205
     Jessie Fauset, “La Vie C’est La Vie” 206
     Lewis Alexander, “The Dark Brother” 206
     Frank Horne, “Nigger—A Chant for Children” 207
     Gwendolyn B. Bennett, “To a Dark Girl” 208
     Sterling A. Brown, “Long Gone” 209
     Langston Hughes  
          “I, Too” 210
          “Song for a Dark Girl” 211
          “Mulatto” 211
          “Weary Blues” 213
   
x
   
SPIRITUALS  
   
     “Swing Low Sweet Chariot” 217
     “Go Down Moses” 217
     “All God’s Chillun Got Wings” 218
     “Dere’s No Hidin’ Place Down Dere” 219
     “Deep River” 220
   
BLUES  
   
     “St. Louis Blues” 223
     “Friendless Blues” 224
     “Mountain Top Blues” 225
     “The Blues I’ve Got”  226
     “Loveless Love” 227
   
LABOR SONGS  
   
     “Work Song” 231
     “Water Boy” 231
     “Casey Jones” 232
     “John Henry” 232
     “Rain or Shine” 233
   
ESSAYS  
   
   Literary  
   
     Benjamin Brawley, “The Negro in American Fiction” 237
     Alain Locke, “The Negro in American Culture” 248
     Clarence Cameron White, “Negro’s Gift to American Music 267
   
   Historical  
   
     W. E. B. Du Bois, “The Freedmen’s Bureau” 277
     Arthur A. Schomburg, “The Negro Digs Up His Past” 299
   
   Sociological  
   
     Charles S. Johnson, “The Negro Migration”  309
     Abram L. Harris, “The Negro and the New Economic Life” 324
   
xi
   
     Charles Wesley, “Organized Labor and the Negro” 339
     Kelly Miller, “The Disgrace of Democracy”  363
     E. Franklin Frazier, “La Bourgeoisie Noire” 379
     Walter White, “I Investigate Lynchings” 389
     George S. Schuyler, “Our Greatest Gift to America” 405
     Carter G. Woodson, “Fifty Years of Negro Citizenship” 413
     Thomas Dabney, “Dominant Forces in Race Relations” 436
   
AUTOBIOGRAPHY  
   
     Frederick Douglass, “Autobiography” 447
     Booker T. Washington, “Up from Slavery” 471
     James Weldon Johnson, “The Autobiography of an Ex-coloured Man” 497
   
BIOGRAPHICAL NOTES 529
   
xii


The Book of American Negro Poetry, James Weldon Johnson, ed.: Contents: 1922 & 1931

Negro Poetry in America by Lena Beatrice Morton
[Excerpts & Summary]

Black Studies, Music, America vs Europe

Offsite:

The Poetry Of The Negro 1746-1949
edited by Langston Hughes & Arna Bontemps


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