Negro Anthology


Early 20th century anthology about the Black experience

“It was necessary to make this book” is the opening line of this groundbreaking work published in 1934—decades before the rise of the Black Arts Movement and during the time of the Scottsboro Boys case in the American south.

The editor’s goal was to record a history of the Black experience at that time and she solicited contributions for this volume from both Black and white writers and artists. Including more than 150 authors from Africa, North America, the Caribbean, and Europe, it combines multiple approaches—literary, academic, political, historical, anthropological, and social—to create this wide-ranging collection of texts and essays about the condition and the accomplishments of Black people across Europe and the Atlantic. Writings that depict oppressive social and political conditions, contributions by Black artists and thinkers, and essays about education, Black publishing, and protest songs are among the contents of this pioneering work.

Negro Anthology was controversial; the editor, Nancy Cunard, received death threats following the publication. With its subject and international approach, it was generations ahead of its time. The book’s design and format are also avant-garde. Glancing at the cover of this first edition, you might not guess that this book was produced nearly 100 years ago. While the terminology used is clearly rooted in the 1930s, this was a revolutionary book in so many other ways.   


Author/Photographer Cunard, Nancy, 1896-1956, compiler, editor
Publisher Published by Nancy Cunard at Wishart & Co.
Date 1934
Extent 854 pages
Institution Kent State University
Repository Special Collections and Archives
LC Classification Number q E185.5 .C98 1934
Portion Digitized Front cover with spine
Access Rights This digital object is owned by Kent State University and may be protected by U.S. Copyright law (Title 17, USC). Please include proper citation and credit for use of this item. Use in publications or productions is prohibited without written permission from Kent State University. Please contact the Department of Special Collections and Archives for more information.
Duplication Policy
DPLA Rights Statement
Format of Original book


Curated by Kathleen Siebert Medicus with guest contributors