short stories written by Black Bostonians during
the 1920s and 1930s convey depth, wit, and subtle
Two writers - Dorothy West (The Richer, The
Poorer: Stories, Sketches, and Reminiscences) and
Bonner (Frye Street and Environs: the Collected
Works)—were “discovered” and published
in the late1980s.
Marita Bonner’s writing reflects the double
and triple jeopardy African American women encountered
when they tried to advance in a race-, sex-, and
class-conscious society. Dorothy West’s work
on the other hand, explores subtleties of character,
ironies of fate, and poignant moments of childhood.
To the voices of West and Bonner we need to add
others, in order to obtain a broader picture of
how Black Bostonians, especially women, were thinking
in the time between two World Wars. Selections by
Edythe Mae Gordon, Gertrude Schalk, Florida Ruffin
Ridley, Alvirah Hazzard, and Florence Marion Harmon
can be found in Lorraine Elena Roses and
Ruth E. Randolph’s Harlem’s
Glory: Black Women Writing, 1900-1950.
Also part of the fiction group are Eugene Gordon
and Roscoe Wright,
though he is primarily known as an essayist.