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BLACKOGRAPHY - Eric Walrond

 
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pattigurlatl View Drop Down
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    Posted: Feb 09 2013 at 1:17pm



Eric Walrond was an Afro-Caribbean-American fiction writer and journalist of the Harlem Renaissance era.  Born December 18, 1898, in Georgetown, British Guyana, Walrond would write short stories with the interwoven themes of immigration, racial pride, and discrimination as he captured the early urban experience of Caribbean-born immigrants in America during the 1920s.  Although Walrond’s work has been largely overlooked, his book, Tropic Death (1926) is considered a major contribution to the cultural and literary style of the Harlem Renaissance.

Walrond lived in Guyana until 1905, when his mother, Ruth, moved the family to Barbados in 1906. Walrond began his formal education at St. Stephen's Boys' School near Bridgetown, Barbados.  The disruptive impact that European colonialism had on the lives of many Afro-Caribbean people can be seen early on in Walrond’s life, as his father deserted the family and went to Panama to find work on the building of the Canal.  After being forced to sell their property in Barbados, the Walrond family joined twenty thousand West Indians who went to Panama looking for work.  They moved into the U.S. controlled Panama Canal Zone in 1911 to find jobs and their missing father and husband.  Ruth located Walrond's father but they were unable to reconcile.  The family remained in the Canal Zone struggling to earn a living in the impoverished and racially segregated city of Colon, Panama.

Walrond, however, managed to complete his education (1913-1916).  Now fluent in Spanish, he was employed by the Health Department of the Canal Commission, the governing authority in the U.S. controlled Canal Zone.  Soon afterward, he began his writing career as a reporter (1916-1918) for the Panama Star and Herald.

In 1918 Walrond settled in New York City's Harlem.  He completed writing courses at City College and attended Columbia University for one year while working as a porter and stenographer.  Harlem's vibrant black community made a lasting impression on the young writer.  He noted and wrote about African American migrant-Caribbean immigrant antagonism, white racism, the politics of Marcus Garvey and W.E.B DuBois and the lives of other writers such as Claude McKay.  Walrond’s short stories, “City Love,” "Miss Kenny's Marriage," "On Being Black," “The Godless City,” and “The Adventures of Kit Skyhead and Mistah Beaty” all reflected his impressions of his new  home, Harlem.  

In the early 1920s Walrond worked as an editor for the Brooklyn and Long Island Informer.  Walrond also contributed stories to Smart Set and Vanity Fair as well as Marcus Garvey's The Negro World, and the Urban League's Opportunity along with many other magazines and newspapers.   Walrond's writing earned him a number of awards including the Harmon Award in Literature, a Zona Gale Scholarship at the University of Wisconsin, and a Guggenheim Fellowship for fiction in 1928-1929.  

In 1927, after spending nearly ten years in New York, Walrond left for London to continue his writing.  Walrond could not duplicate his earlier success and much of his work went unnoticed in the British capital.  For much of his time there he worked as an accountant.  Eric Walrond died in London on August 8, 1966 following a heart attack.  

Sources:
Louis J. Parascandola, ed., “Winds Can Wake up the Dead” (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1998); David L. Lewis, The Portable Harlem Renaissance Reader (New York: Viking, 1994); David L. Lewis, Harlem was in Vogue (New York: Penguin Books, 1997).

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rickysrose View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote rickysrose Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb 09 2013 at 1:21pm

what I love most about these threads ... is that the struggles, the successes of black people we've never met and mostly never heard of

is not in vain when they inspire us ... this is using the information age to our advantage to repair, heal and rejuvenate black culture in america

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pattigurlatl Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb 09 2013 at 1:23pm
Originally posted by rickysrose rickysrose wrote:


what I love most about these threads ... is that the struggles, the successes of black people we've never met and mostly never heard of

is not in vain when they inspire us ... this is using the information age to our advantage to repair, heal and rejuvenate black culture in america

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You know ricky, that is a good way of looking at it. It means we can never be shrouded by lies.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote afrokock Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb 04 2014 at 12:20pm
bump..
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote kfoxx1998 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb 04 2014 at 1:47pm
I wish I had a time machine.  I would put on some "fine" clothes and walk around the streets of Harlem taking in all of the beautiful, oppressed black kings and queensHeart

If people owned these writings back then I wonder what they did with them.  If they were passed on to other younger generations?   I remember how I clung to old raggedy books as a child.  I would carry them around with me and be so amazed at how old they were.  My father's black panther book was probably crumbling by the time my step-dad threw it awayCry.  (I still hate him for that sh*t).  Anyway, this stuff is probably in a black museum.  I hope so and I need to find out.  
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