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Author Information: Jean Toomer



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Fair-skinned, straight-nosed, straight-haired, African American Nathan Eugene Pinchback Toomer was born in 1894 into a world dedicated to defining individuals, their intellect, their ability, their lifestyle--their very nature--on color. Where did he fit? That one question plagued him all his life as it did most of the Harlem Renaissance writers. The question of how to define oneself, a question most American writers asked was made even harder when race was made a central part of the definition. Toomer, along with his fellow writers, shared what W.E. B. DuBois called the African American's "double-consciousness," that awareness that any black would be seen first as an embodiment of all the stereotypes of what being black meant and then as an American (and as an embodiment of all the stereotypes of what being American meant.)



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