Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Carl Van Vechten

Photo: Regina is in the front in the middle wearing the lightest colored dress. Louella Tucker is behind her on Regina's left (our right) and Ethel Ray is on our far left behind Langston Hughes. This is on the rooftop of their salon at 580 St. Nicholas Avene. Source: Photographs and Prints Division, Schomburg Center for Research in BlackCulture, The New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox and Tilden Foundations.

Regina’s Harlem Renaissance roommate Ethel Ray Nance recorded two oral histories. The following vignette describes a visit by Carl Van Vechten and “the girls” refers to Regina and Louella Tucker:

“I remember Van Vechten coming into our apartment this one evening and inquiring who was the hostess, well, the girls didn’t move, so I moved and he handed me this bottle of some exquisite wine. I took it to the kitchen, which was on the side of the living room and just left it there. Then later on when it was to be served, two of the women…their names escaped me not entirely, but we’ll just skip that, refused it when we passed the wine glasses. And then almost immediately, they came out in the kitchen and asked, ‘may we have some’ and I said ‘no,’ (Laughingly) ‘if you’re not willing to accept it in front of the group, I’m sorry.’"*

* Source: Ethel Ray Nance, interview by Anne Allen Shockley, tape recording, San Francisco, CA., 18 November 1970 and Nashville, TN., 23 December 1970. Black Oral History Collection, Fisk University, Nashville, TN., 32.

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