Jessie Redmon Fauset


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born in New Jersey of a long-established family of free blacks, was probably the first black woman to become a member of Phi Beta Kappa, upon her graduation from Cornell (1905). After graduate study at the University of Pennsylvania and the Sorbonne she became a high-school teacher of French and Latin and an editor of DuBois's The Crisis, which she opened to new young writers of the Harlem Renaissance. She herself wrote four novels: There Is Confusion (1924), a love story concerning an educated black woman who wants to be a concert singer and a black man whom she helps in his fight to become a doctor; Plum Bun (1929), presenting two sisters, one who passes for white while living in Greenwich Village, where she has an unhappy love affair with a white man, the other admitting her race and living affirmatively in Harlem; The Chinaberry Tree (1931), another story about black women and the need for them to accept their heritage; and Comedy: American Style (1934), depicting an insecure, frustrated black woman.

Subjects: Literature — United States History.

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