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Encyclopedia of African American Society

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Encyclopedia of African American Society

Gerald D. Jaynes

Pub. date: 2005 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI:http://dx.doi.org/10.4135/9781412952507 | Print ISBN: 9780761927648 | Online ISBN: 9781412952507 | Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.

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Harlem Writers Guild

Group of African American writers who have addressed ethnic experiences and history in their work. The guild's first members were young, ambitious black authors who felt excluded from the mainstream literary culture of New York in the late 1940s. The success that established black authors such as Langston Hughes had enjoyed during the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s and 1930s seemed unobtainable to this new generation of writers. John Henrik Clarke, Rosa Guy, Walter Christmas, and John Oliver Killens were among the emerging talents who sought an alternative forum in which to develop their craft. Unlike the previous generation, young African American writers in the 1950s interacted often with their white peers. Some had attended prestigious universities; others joined white-led writing workshops in New York's Greenwich Village. Such experiences, however, led many blacks to conclude that white critics, however progressive, could not fully appreciate African American literature. A young writer ...

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