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Black Mystique: Miss Anne in Harlem

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Formats: Hardcover, 2013,


Author: Carla Kaplan Biography:

Genre: Black History, Harlem Renaissance

Synopsis: Devotees of The Harlem Renaissance period will find that this book focuses upon the lure and mystique of Harlem as a mecca for Black culture. Indeed, this book offers the reader the chance to explore the very mystique of Blackness and the lure of Black men. Yet, this text goes much further. The author explains and illustrates through pictures and research the attraction that Harlem has for Blacks and Whites, all. Many White women, in this text, found a kinship within the music, literature, and spirit of people of color. It may be stated as being a ‘voluntary blackness’ that many White women adopted. But, a romantic case is made by those who professed to feel a union. Readers will find that the development of Black intellectualism and art may have been funneled through the input and influence of Miss Anne during the golden period.
Etta Duryea (Jack Johnson’s first wife), Nancy Cunard, and Libby Holman echo the yearnings of the ‘outsiders’ fighting to be ‘Harlem insiders’ and their voices were not quelled. In fact, the voices of these women resonate today, intermingled, with the famed, Black heroes of this era.
This book will be a welcome addition to any university library.

Critique: Carla Kaplan, the author, seizes a time, a culture, and a symphony of voices to tell the hidden stories of Miss Anne in Harlem. Skillfully, she writes of the unsung, White heroines who fought to be a part of the Harlem Renaissance. The women of this text truly admired the people and the golden era of Black intellectualism and aesthetics. The author presents the sexual issues that were part of the attraction of Miss Anne to Black men and their world. But, Kaplan focuses beyond the obvious and brings us a full picture of the attracted and the attraction. I will enjoy reading this book again and again. I hope that scholars of this period will not miss the chance to discover new territory too.


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