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Book Talk: The Muse in Bronzeville, with Dorothea Bone & Richard Courage

Bronzeville is a neighborhood situated in the Douglas and Grand Boulevard community on the South Side of Chicago. Known as the "Black Metropolis" in the early 20th century, it signified a landmark of African American urban history. In the 1930s and 1940s an extraordinary group of creative artists - Richard Wright, author; Gwendolyn Brooks, poet; Katharine Dunham, dancer-choreographer; Gordon Parks, photographer-writer-film director; and Mahalia Jackson, "Queen of Gospel," among them - fully blossomed and sowed the seeds for a new generation of young artists and intellectuals. The Chicago Renaissance spanned the spheres music, dance, painting and photography, fiction and poetry, journalism and social science, with approximately 60 individuals, employed by the Illinois Unit of the Federal Art Project and Illinois' Writers' Project, who grew the fine legacy of creative black expression.

Join Mrs. Dorothea Bone, wife of the late Robert Bone, and co-author Dr. Richard Courage, Professor of English at Westchester Community College-SUNY, as they discuss The Muse in Bronzeville: African American Creative Expression in Chicago, 1932-1950 (Rutgers University Press, 2011) on Tuesday, November 15h.

Critics are saying:

"Richard Courage's monumental The Muse in Bronzeville completes Robert Bone's ambitious Chicago project and provides a shift of focus in African American literary scholarship. Chicago finally emerges as the vibrant counterpart of the Harlem Renaissance."
--David Levering Lewis, author of When Harlem Was in Vogue and Pulitzer Prize Biography Winner

"The Muse in Bronzeville presents a rich cultural feast of writers, poets, bluesmen, jazz musicians, painters, and sculptors. Supported by newspapermen, sociologists, and philanthropists, these Chicago "New Negros" rivaled their Harlem counterparts."
--Patricia Hills, author of Painting Harlem Modern: The Art of Jacob Lawrence

Richard Courage, alumnus of Teachers College and friend and mentee of the late Dr. Bone, has published scholarly articles on African American narrative and visual arts, distance learning, and the teaching of writing and has contributed educational reporting and opinion pieces to the New York Times and other newspapers.

Robert Adamson Bone (1924-2007) was a professor of languages and literature at Teachers College, Columbia University and a pioneering scholar of African American literature. He was best known for The Negro Novel in America (Yale, 1965, 1958), Richard Wright (University of Minnesota, 1969), and Down Home: Origins of the Afro-American Short Story (Columbia University Press, 1988, 1975). His seminal essay, "Richard Wright and the Chicago Renaissance" continues to be cited extensively in studies of early twentieth century African American writing.

This book talk is sponsored by The Office of the Provost and Gottesman Libraries. Introducing Mrs. Bone and Richard Courage is Dr. Thomas James, Provost and Dean of the College and Professor of History and Education.

Persons wishing to attend may rsvp by Friday, November 11th.

Where: 305 Russell 
Individuals with disabilities are invited to request reasonable accommodations including, but not limited to sign language interpretation, Braille or large print materials, and a campus map of accessible features. Address these requests to the Office of Access and Services for Individuals with Disabilities at (212) 678-3689,, or Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services at (212) 678-3853 V/TTY,



  • Jennifer Govan
  • 212-678-3022
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