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Escape from New YorkThe New Negro Renaissance beyond Harlem$
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Davarian L. Baldwin and Minkah Makalani

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780816677382

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816677382.001.0001

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The Gendering of Place in the Great Escape

The Gendering of Place in the Great Escape

(p.421) 19 The Gendering of Place in the Great Escape
Escape from New York

T. Denean Sharpley-Whiting

University of Minnesota Press

This chapter focuses on black women who left the thriving community of Harlem for Paris. Between the First and Second World Wars, the period that some call the Jazz Age as well as the New Negro movement more broadly, or the Harlem Renaissance, France became a place where African American women could realize personal freedom and creativity. Paris, as it appeared to them, was physically beautiful, culturally refined, inexpensive as a result of the war, and seductive, with its seeming lack of violent racial animus. It was also hospitable, for like the revered Harlem, there was an existent black community. Although there were very few other women writers of the era who had the wherewithal to escape from New York to Paris, art—and performance art in particular—provided other avenues. In its gendered remapping of the Harlem to Paris transit, this chapter focuses on the experiences of black women such as Ada Bricktop Smith and Jessie Fauset.

Keywords:   black women, Jessie Fauset, Paris, New Negro movement, Harlem Renaissance, France, African American women, New York, art, Ada Bricktop Smith

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