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Afrii Diaspora Dialogue

The Blacker the Berry

A Novel of Negro Life

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A moving tale of the hardships faced by African-American post-emancipation. The novel tells the story of Emma Lou Morgan, a young black woman with dark skin. It begins in Boise, Idaho and follows Emma Lou in her journey to college at USC and a move to Harlem, New York City for work. Set during the Harlem Renaissance, the novel explores Emma Lou's experiences with colorism, discrimination by lighter-skinned African Americans due to her dark skin. She learns to come to terms with her skin color in order to find satisfaction in her life.

One of the most widely read and controversial works of the Harlem Renaissance, The Blacker the Berry... was the first novel to openly explore prejudice within the Black community. This pioneering novel found a way beyond the bondage of Blackness in American life to a new meaning in truth and beauty.

Emma Lou Brown's dark complexion is a source of sorrow and humiliation — not only to herself, but to her lighter-skinned family and friends and to the white community of Boise, Idaho, her hometown. As a young woman, Emma travels to New York's Harlem, hoping to find a safe haven in the Black Mecca of the 1920s. Wallace Thurman re-creates this legendary time and place in rich detail, describing Emma's visits to nightclubs and dance halls and house-rent parties, her sex life and her catastrophic love affairs, her dreams and her disillusions — and the momentous decision she makes in order to survive.

A lost classic of Black American literature, The Blacker the Berry... is a compelling portrait of the destructive depth of racial bias in this country. A new introduction by Shirlee Taylor Haizlip, author of The Sweeter the Juice, highlights the timelessness of the issues of race and skin color in America.

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Afrii Diaspora Dialogue

A Platform for Dialogue for the African diaspora

A cultural and community website with a GO.A.L. to UpLift™ and EmPower™ the many different peoples, cultures, and communities of the Black and African diasporas.

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