On the Crisis of the Underground and a Politics of Intractable Plurality

Todd F. Tietchen

in Cubalogues

Published by University Press of Florida

Published in print October 2010 | ISBN: 9780813035208
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780813039633 | DOI:
On the Crisis of the Underground and a Politics of Intractable Plurality

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This chapter depicts the life and work of Harold Cruse—who has not typically been affiliated with the Beats on either coast, but nonetheless serves as a telling example of this geographically extended pursuit from the mid-1950s through the early 1960s. Cruse initially hoped, during this period, to integrate his own artistic and political dreams within the precincts of what remained the predominantly white bohemia of Greenwich Village. Born in Virginia at the outset of World War I, Cruse had first arrived in New York during the Interwar (or Great) Migration of rural blacks to the industrial north, and by the 1950s he had already worn (and worn out) a number of political coats. A proud and mercurial autodidact conversant across a range of disciplines, Cruse passed through an enthusiasm for 1930s populism and the New Deal, had served in the armed forces in Italy during World War II, and in 1947 became a member of the Communist Party USA (CPUSA).

Keywords: Harold Cruse; Greenwich Village; Virginia; New Deal; war immigrants; World War I

Chapter.  8698 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (20th Century onwards)

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