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A Great Piece of Harlem Renaissance Literature Comes to Netflix


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Netflix is going to be streaming a film  version of Nella Larson's novella Passing(1930).


The story is set in New York City circa late 20s/early 30s.


It tells the fictional story of two very light skinned friends Irene Redfield and Clare Kendry.


Irene stays within the black community and marries a black man.


Clare passes for white and marries a racist white man.


Much of the novel focuses on  Clare attempting to conceal her identity from husband.


For those who have not read the book or looked at the Netflix film, I don't want to be a spoiler and give away to much of plot.


But like many tragic mulatto stories, it has a sad, fatal ending.


It really ends in a cliffhanger because you don't know whether it is a murder or suicide.


Nella Larson should have written a sequel to clear things up.


Passing was published  during an African American cultural revival in the 1920's (mostly in New York City) known as the Harlem Renaissance.  


The name is a take off of The Italian Renaissance from the  14th to 17th centuries.


Harlem at that time was the mecca of black life similar to the way Atlanta is today.


The Harlem Renaissance era focused mostly on literature, art, culture, profession and entertainment. Novels written during that period were Nella Larson's Passing,  Alan Locke's The New Negro, Carl Van Vechten's Nigger Heaven, Wallace Thurman's The Blacker The Berry, and Zora Neal Hurston's There Eyes Were Watching God.


For the short period it lasted, I would have to say that the Harlem Renaissance was probably the best period  in black American history pre-civil rights era

















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Passing Novel by Nella LarsenI watched Passing last night and thought it was very well done, an art piece really.  It was filmed entirely in black and white and will probably be nominated for an Academy Award for cinemaphotography or something to do with the visual appeal of the film.


Learn more about the novel Passing and the Harlem Renaissance.   


@daniellegfny, for what it is worth, Reconstruction would get my vote too 🙂


I also wonder about the notion of ATL being a Black mecca in the way that Harlem was or is.... Harlem was and is a community not very large.  ATL is a major urban center.  It can't be what Harlem was. 

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