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Miss Anne in Harlem: The White Women of the Black Renaissance

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  • 2 weeks later...

I got a hold of a copy of this massive non fiction work and am revving up my motor to drive though it.  The book itself is over 600 pages of small print, but about half of these pages are devoted to a long introduction, author notes, an extensive index and bibliography, acknowledgements, photographs, and excerpts from other sources, etc. 


I am a Harlem Renaissance buff, perennially fascinated with an era that not only focuses on the life and times of the fledgling black artistic community but also calls attention to the historical backdrop this movement was set against.  The 1920s and 30s were such an interesting period in this country not only in regard to the blatant racism but to the blooming aestheticism  that neither the gloom of the Great Depression or the illicitness of Prohibition could deter.  The output of Literature, Drama, Art and Music indigenous to America all came into their own during this time.


So far I am finding "Miss Anne In Harlem"  quite engrossing.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Hummm. I don't remember seeing the post providing a link to the NPR interview but I'm glad I didn't, because it might've influenced my review of the book, maybe even causing me to not bother with even writing one.   After checking it out, it was interesting to read other impressions of this book, however.   

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White women actually played an important role in the Civil Rights movement.  Just behind White liberals in general.  It's a shame more Black leaders haven't recognized this

I think an often unwarranted distrust of White liberals by Generation X AfroAmericans along with the fact that many Black women would rather just not have White women around Black organizations period (fearing that they may seduce or "lure" Black men away) surely has pissed off many White people who otherwise would like to join Black people in the struggle for social justice.

Also, the increasing rate that White men are snatching up Asian women is a clear signal to White women to "leave those negroes alone or we'll abandon you for someone else", and many White women have gotten the message.  

This is where your Sara Palins and Ann Coulters come from.
White women who act as cheerleaders for the rightwing movement.

A lot of White women who SHOULD be organizing and voting along side Black people for equal rights legislation and other important issues are actually becoming more conservative and aligning themselves with the Republican party.  Some have turned ultra conservative and now you see some of them out like Calamity Jane with a gun in one hand and a Confederate flag in the other going to extremes to show their allegiance to a white male dominated national heritage.

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I just noticed the above post, Pioneer, and as ususal, I don't entirely agree with your comments.  Having lived through the civil rights movement, it is not my recollection that white women greatly impacted on this crusade.  It was actually all that black women could do to make their presence felt.  Rosa Parks, was of course, the poster "girl" but other activists were marginalized, mostly used  as props to stand next to the men and nod their heads in agreement as they spoke.  A few like Fanny Lou Hamer, and Angela Davis, and Daisy Bates did make a blip in the radar but they were not involved in the decision-making of the good ol boys fraternity of black leaders who were, themselves, jockying for power and position. 


Just as during the Harlem Renaissance, the civil rights movement drew a lot of their white female sympathizers from the ranks of feminists, women like Gloria Steinem and Joan Baez. And again, as in the Harlem Renaissance, their most appreciated input was the financial support that poured in from the rich and famous philanthropists among white women. Those like Jane Fonda who subsequently became notorious for her role in protesting the Vietnam war.


White college coeds who became invoved were not taken that seriously because they were a part of the counterculture, the uprising made up of privileged white kids rebelling against their middleclass upbringing and eager to shake up the status quo. The civil rights movement provided an opportunity to do this; and interracial flings did come with that territory. But these types were personae non grata within the more militant factions in the civil rights struggle, groups like the Black Panthers and S.N.I.C.K whose leader was Stokely Carmichael.  White radical groups like SDS(students for a democratic society) had a different agenda and were more into revolutionary terrorism, and there was little infilteration of these cabals by Blacks.


As usual, what created a rift in the civil rights movement was  the white liberal element's inborn need to be in charge.  And as a result, they were gradually edged to the side by Blacks fed up with well-meaning Whites wanting to run the show, do the strategizing and give out the orders.  As competent as these white organizers were, many of whom were Jews with a history of left-wing activities, they came to be regarded as too intrusive by Blacks who felt they were capable of doing their own leading and planning.


One ramification of this rift was exemplified during the early sixties when the South was invaded by an influx of young Northern White collegians flocking there to aid and abet the voter registration drives that were an anathema to white city fathers in the small towns where Blacks were discouraged from voting  Putting to use their organizational skills, which too often relegated young black southerners to flunky status, these yankee carpetbaggers got busy.  Unmindful of the local cultures of this environment, they proceeded to quote laws and make demands and stage demonstrations, stirring up the resentful red neck townspeople.  By summer's end, volatile situations were ready to erupt, and local blacks were left to deal with the dangerous consequences left behind by the exiting white students heading back to the safety of their northern campuses.  Incidents like this left a bitter taste in the palates of black folks as Liberals increasingly fell out of favor, and the 2 white male volunteers and their black guide who were all murdered by Klansman during this period really cast a pall over this project. 


I also question as to whether white gals are in danger of being usurped by Asian ones.  Miss Annes are still the most sought after women in America.  They've become more indepedent than ever and, to me,  don't really seem prone to sucking up to their white men.  IMO.   

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