Anita Scott Coleman: Important Western Contributor to the Harlem Renaissance

3 Posted by - September 20, 2017 - BLACK ART & LITERATURE, BLACK WOMEN

Anita Scott Coleman was an important western contributor to the Harlem Renaissance. Coleman was born in Guaymas, Sonora, Mexico, in 1890 to Mary Ann and William Henry Scott. Her father served as a buffalo soldier in Texas where he met Coleman’s mother. After he retired from the service, the family returned to live in the southwest of the United States.

Coleman was educated and later taught school, but her career ended when she met and married James Harold Coleman, a printer and photographer born in Virginia. Coleman became a published writer and produced more than 30 short stories, such as “The Little Grey House,” as the Harlem Renaissance emerged. Interestingly enough, Coleman never lived in Harlem.

She later moved to Los Angeles, California, in 1926 to join her husband who had moved to look for work two years earlier. There she raised four children, ran a boarding house, and published her most sophisticated stories between 1926 and 1933. Among her best stories are “The Brat” and “Three Dogs and a Rabbit.”

Coleman’s publications emphasized racial pride and issues of importance to black women, as well as the fight against racism, lynching, employment discrimination, and segregation. Coleman died in 1960.

The Shining Parlor
It was a drab street
A white man’s street…
Jammed with automobiles
Streetcars and trucks;
Bee-hived with fruit vendors’ stalls,
Real estate concerns, meat shops,
Dental clinics, and soft drink stands.
It was a drab street
A white man’s street…
But it held the shining parlor–
A boot-black booth,
Commandeered by a black man,
Who spent much time smiling out
Upon the hub-bub of the thoroughfare.
Ever…serenely smiling…
With a brush and soiled rag in his hands.
Often…white patrons wait for
Their boots to be “shined,”
Wondering the while
At the wonder–
Of the black man’s smile.

– Anita S. Coleman

source:

http://www.blackpast.org/aaw/coleman-anita-scott-1890-1960

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