Claude McKay


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black author, emigrated from his native Jamaica to the U.S. (1912). His books include Songs of Jamaica (1912) and Harlem Shadows (1922), poems; and the virile novels, Home to Harlem (1928), the story of a black soldier deserting from the army in France to return to America; Banjo (1929), set on the Marseilles waterfront, where McKay worked for a time; and Banana Bottom (1933), about a black girl in Jamaica, who is torn between racial traditions and the education she has received in England. Gingertown (1932) collects short stories. His novels have sometimes been criticized for emphasizing the primitive and voluptuous aspects of black life dwelt upon by Van Vechten. A Long Way from Home (1937) is his autobiography. Harlem: Negro Metropolis (1940) is a sociological study.

Subjects: Literature.

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