They called themselves the Niggerati and named their newspaper FIRE.
The Origin Story:
It was the height of the Harlem Renaissance.
Zora Neale Hurston was one of the most popular writers and one of THE founders of the very field of anthropology at Columbia University. A brilliant mind.
She sat in the middle of her glamorous Harlem neighborhood with her Florida overalls on. Like a farmer. She loathed the burn of White gaze on Black genius. She refused to perform respectability. She hated what it did to her spirit, her people, her freedom. People were drawn to her bravery. The way she laughed from her belly and cut with her eyes. The certainty of her critiques, the quickness of her wit and daring of her dreams.
She was attractive. Magnetic. And people were drawn to that porch, to her crew. The crew was big and loud and included:
Countee Cullen: a famous writer whose words inspired the creation of jazz music according to Duke Ellington. He, in his cufflink excellence, hated the crew name – for the record lol.
Wallace Thurman: Who wrote The Blacker the Berry is credited with advancing the very idea of colorism.
Dorothy West: Famed writer of The Living is Easy which chronicled the upper-class Black experience in Boston.
And of course, perhaps the most famous, Langston Hughes was there looking like Al B. Sure and spitting lyrics.
Together, their ideas were foundational to the Harlem Renaissance.
Disclaimer: We do not own the rights to the music or speech excepts played during this broadcast. Original content can be found here:
Countee Cullen Poem: