Friday, November 26, 2010

Re: A Royal Harlem Renaissance Wedding

This week there was a review in the New York Times about a play, Knock Me a Kiss, portraying the unsuccessful marriage between W. E. B. Du Bois' daughter, Yolande, and the poet Countee Cullen. The wedding was the major event in Harlem in 1928. Over 3,000 people attended the wedding with another 3,000 people lined up outside the church. The marriage was short-lived. Gossip suggested that the bridegroom was gay. Cullen spent most of his post-wedding time in Paris with the best man, actor Harold Jackman, who co-founded the Harlem Experimental Theatre with Regina and Dorothy Peterson.

Regina most likely attended this wedding. Cullen was the most frequent visitor to the literary salon that Regina hosted and she was a friend of W. E. B. Du Bois. Regina's husband was an assistant usher at the wedding and Regina's former roommate, Ethel Ray Nance, was invited to the wedding. Nance had a copy of the wedding invitation and the exclusive invite to the reception in her collection at the University of California - Berkeley's Bancroft Library.

1 comment:

sandra said...

Hi, Ethelene:

I just read the blog and wanted to mention that the actor in the photo for the Friday, November 26, 2010, post on the play, KNOCK ME A KISS, is Andre De Shields, who is a graduate of the UW-Madison and a UW-Madison Honorary Doctorate recipient.

The playwright is Charles Smith, who also wrote the play, THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JAMES, which is based loosely on the lynching story of James Cameron. The latter play was directed by Chuck Smith, an artistic director of the Goodman Theater in Chicago.