Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Re: New Biographies

There are several new biographies about African Americans who are loosely connected with Regina Andrews: Literary Sisters: Dorothy West and Her Circle, A Biography of the Harlem Renaissance by Verner Mitchell & Cynthia Davis (Rutgers University Press, 2011), Eugene Kinckle Jones, The National Urban League Black Social Work, 1910 - 1940 by Felix L. Armfield (University of Illinois Press, 2012), & Dorothy West's Paradise: A Biography of Class and Color by Cherene Sherrard-Johnson (Rutgers University Press, 2012).

Although I have not come across anything to suggest that Regina knew writer Dorothy West or her cousin poet Helene Johnson, they moved in the same circles. The cousins were friends of Zora Neale Hurston (who stayed on Regina's couch when she first moved to New York City), actress Edna Lewis (who starred in a play with Regina) and actress Rose McClendon who was the executive director of the Harlem Experimental Theatre group that Regina co-founded.

Regina cited Eugene Kinckle Jones as an influence on her career and he advocated on her behalf along with W.E.B. DuBois in her fight against the New York Public Library. Regina was also an active member of the National Urban League under Jones, Lester Granger, and Whitney Young.

I've read the first two biographies and have pre-ordered Sherrard-Johnson's. I look forward to reading another biography about African Americans living extraordinary lives during the last century.

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