The Niggerati: Publishers of The Journal “Fire” During the Harlem Renaissance

1 Posted by - July 21, 2018 - Black First, BLACK MEN, HARLEM RENAISSANCE, LATEST POSTS

was the name used by a group of African-American young men and women who were artists and intellectuals during the Harlem Renaissance. The word “Niggerati” is a portmanteau of “nigger” and literati.” Wallace Thurman started the group of young intellectuals. The group consisted of Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, and Wallace Thurman, and many other people.

These individuals created the journal known as ! The journal represented the visual frustrations of the Niggerati. The single issue was published in November of 1926. It was a year after the publication of Alain Locke’s The New Negro. “The Niggerati was published with intentions to be devoted to the younger Negro artists. The journal’s title came from a poem that Hughes had written, which was a sinner’s lament in the fashion of a Negro spiritual. In a letter written to Locke, Hurston stated that there needed to be “more outlets for Negro fire”, and the Niggerati distanced themselves even from Locke, declining his offer of patronage for the journal.” However, their FIRE journal only lasted for a one issue and failed because lack of funding. (more)


The group organized the group and journal at a time when homophobia and sexism were calm. The bourgeoisie set out to distant themselves from the past and sought social equality and racial integration. The group people partied together, fought with each other, and helped each other, as only black friends would do. White people who were often interested in their style and art became their followers to them the Negrotarians. These intellectuals weren’t afraid of their blackness, nor of white people’s reaction to it.The Niggerati had no problem with being who they were. They had no problem with color, gender, skin or background.

Hughes, Hurston, and Thurman enjoyed the shock value of referring to themselves as the Niggerati. Hurston’s biographer Valerie Boyd described it as “an inspired moniker that was simultaneously self-mocking and self-glorifying, and sure to shock the stuffy black bourgeoisie”. Hurston was actually the coiner of the name. Hurston nicknamed herself as the “Queen of the Niggerati”. In addition to Niggerati Manor, the rooming house at 267 West 136th Street where both Thurman and Hughes lived, Niggerati meetings were held at Hurston’s apartment, with a pot on the stove. Hurston would cook for the attendees, however they all were to contribute to the pot of stew which she often cooked. She also cooked okra and fried Florida eel.” read more



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