Home To Harlem
Publication Year: 2012
Published by: Northeastern University Press
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FOREWORD TO THE 1987 EDITION
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OF all the major Afro-American writers who emerged in the 1920s, Claude McKay remains the most controversial and least understood. Those among the general public who recognize his name at all will recall him as the author of "If...
I. GOING BACK HOME
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ALL that Jake knew about the freighter on which he stoked was that it stank between sea and sky. He was working with a dirty Arab crew. The captain signed him on at Cardiff because one of the Arabs had quit the ship. Jake was used to all sorts of rough jobs,...
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Jake drank three Martini cocktails with cherries in them. The price, he noticed, had gone up from ten to twenty-five cents. He went to Bank's and had a Maryland friedchicken feed—a big one with candied sweet potatoes....
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"GREAT balls of fire! Looka here! See mah luck!" Jake stopped in his tracks . . . went on . . . stopped again . . . retraced his steps . . . checked himself. "Guess I won't go back right now. Never let a woman think you're too crazy about her. But she's a...
IV. CONGO ROSE
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ALL the old cabarets were going still. Connor's was losing ground. The bed of red roses that used to glow in the ceiling was almost dim now. The big handsome black girl that always sang in a red frock was no longer there. What a place Connor's was...
V. ON THE JOB AGAIN
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JAKE stayed on in Rose's room. He could not feel about her as he did for his little lost maroon-brown of the Baltimore. He went frequently to the Baltimore, but he never saw her again. Then he grew to hate that cabaret...
VI. MYRTLE AVENUE
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ZEDDY was excited over Jake's success in love. He thought how often he had tried to make up to Rose, without succeeding. He was crazy about finding a woman to love him for himself....
VII. ZEDDY'S RISE AND FALL
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ZEDDY was scarce in Harlem. And Strawberry Lips was also scarce. It was fully a week after the Myrtle Avenue gin-fest before Jake saw Zeddy again. They met on the pavement in front of Uncle Doc's saloon....
VIII. THE RAID OF THE BALTIMORE
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THE blazing lights of the Baltimore were put out and the entrance was padlocked. Fifth Avenue and Lenox talked about nothing else. Buddy meeting buddy and chippie greeting chippie, asked: "Did you hear the news?" . . . "Well, what do you know...
IX. JAKE MAKES A MOVE
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COMING home from work one afternoon, Jake remarked a taxicab just driving away from his house. He was quite a block off, but he thought it was his number. When he entered Rose's room he immediately detected an unfamiliar smell. He had an uncanny sharp...
X. THE RAILROAD
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OVER the heart of the vast gray Pennsylvania country the huge black animal snorted and roared, with sounding rods and couplings, pulling a long chain of dull-brown boxes packed with people and things, trailing on the...
XI. SNOWSTORM IN PITTSBURGH
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IN THE middle of the little bridge built over the railroad crossing he was suddenly enveloped in a thick mass of smoke spouted out by an in-rushing train. That was Jake's first impression of Pittsburgh. He stepped off the bridge into a saloon. From there along a dullgray...
XII. THE TREEING OF THE CHEF
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PERHAPS the chef of Jake's dining-car was the most hated chef in the service. He was repulsive in every aspect From the elevated bulk of his gross person to the matted burrs of his head and the fat cigar, the constant companion of his sloppy mouth, that he...
XIII. ONE NIGHT IN PHILLY
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ONE night in Philadelphia Jake breezed into the waiters' quarters in Market Street, looking for Ray. It was late. Ray was in bed. Jake pulled him up....
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DUSK gathered in blue patches over the Black Belt. Lenox Avenue was vivid. The saloons were bright, crowded with drinking men jammed tight around the bars, treating one another and telling the incidents of the day. Longshoremen in overalls with hooks,...
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BILLY BIASSE telephoned to the doctor, a young chocolate-complexioned man. He was graduate of a Negro medical college in Tennessee and of Columbia University. He was struggling to overcome the prejudices of the black populace against Negro doctors...
XVI. A PRACTICAL PRANK
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"I was riding in Fairmount Park one afternoon, just taking the air as usual, when I saw your properspeaking friend with a mess of books. He told me you were sick and I was so mortified for I am giving a big evening soon and was all set on fixing it on a night when you would...
XVII. HE ALSO LOVED
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IT WAS in the winter of 1916 when I first came to New York to hunt for a job. I was broke. I was afraid I would have to pawn my clothes, and it was dreadfully cold. I didn't even know the right way to go about looking for a job. I was always timid about...
XVIII. A FAREWELL FEED
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RAY and Grant had found jobs on a freighter that was going down across the Pacific to Australia and from there to Europe. Ray had reached the point where going any further on the railroad was impossible. He had had enough to vomit up of Philadelphia...
XIX. SPRING IN HARLEM
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THE lovely trees of Seventh Avenue were a vivid flame-green. Children, lightly clad, skipped on the pavement Light open coats prevailed and the smooth bare throats of brown girls were a token as charming as the first pussy-willows. Far and high over all,...
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They had walked down Madison Avenue, turned on One Hundred and Thirtieth Street, passing the solid gray-grim mass of the whites' Presbyterian church, and were under the timidly whispering trees of the decorously silent and distinguished Block Beautiful. . . . The whites had not evacuated that block yet. The...
XXI. THE GIFT THAT BILLY GAVE
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"WE GOTTA celebrate to-night," said Felice when Saturday came round again. Jake agreed to do anything she wanted. Monday they would have to think of working. He wanted to dine at Aunt Hattie's, but Felice preferred a "niftier" place. So they dined...
Page Count: 360
Publication Year: 2012
Series Title: Northeastern Library of Black Literature