Five Writers in the Tryon Colony:
Encounters with African American Cultures During the Early Twentieth Century
by Michael J. McCue
Publication date: 2021
Numerous authors from North and South converged on Tryon, a creative colony in the North Carolina mountains near Asheville, and there experienced new relationships with African-American cultures. This study explores the sometimes-surprising reactions of Black and White Americans during the early 1900s through Mid-Twentieth Century, in a small Southern community where a bi-racial NAACP chapter came into existence before World War II.
Writers discussed include Harriet Monroe, poet and editor from Chicago; DuBose Heyward, author of Porgy from South Carolina, and his mother Jane Screven Heyward, an early student of Gullah language; Clelia McGowan the Charleston poet and activist; and Lawrence Gellert from New York, author of Negro Songs of Protest.
Song-writer and performer Nina Simone, born and brought up in Tryon as pianist child-prodigy Eunice Waymon, is brought into this study as a native-born Black Southern woman who represents “authenticity” White writers encountered. After her high-school encounter with poet Langston Hughes, she went on to fame and fortune in the world of contemporary music, the only person celebrated in Tryon by a bronze statue.
Illustrated, 24 pages