Richard Bruce Nugent, interview by Thomas H. Wirth [hereafter THW], tape recording, 27
June 1983, collections of THW and Schomburg Center.
Richard Bruce Nugent, ‘‘Lighting FIRE !!’’ insert to the reprint of FIRE!! (Metuchen, N.J.:
FIRE!! Press, 1982).
Wallace Thurman, Infants of the Spring (New York: Macaulay Company, 1932), 21, 44.
Nugent, interview by THW, tape recording, 19 June 1983.
Langston Hughes to Carl Van Vechten, 24 June 1925, Remember Me to Harlem: The Letters of
Langston Hughes and Carl Van Vechten, 1925–1964, ed. Emily Bernard (New York: Alfred A.
Knopf, 2001), 22.
I have adopted the spelling of ‘‘Niggeratti’’ used by Nugent (and by Thurman in Infants of
the Spring). That spelling self-consciously emphasizes the ‘‘ratty’’ aspects of the group and is
consistent with Nugent’s pronunciation. Langston Hughes, however, spelled the word ‘‘Nig-
gerati’’ in his autobiography, The Big Sea. Hughes’s version renders the irony more genteel.
Langston Hughes, ‘‘The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain,’’ Nation 122 (23 June 1926):
Langston Hughes and Milton Meltzer, Black Magic: A Pictorial History of the Negro in Enter-
tainment (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1967), 113.
Alain Locke to friend, undated, Alain Locke Papers, box 164–12, Moorland-Spingarn Collec-
tion, Howard University, Washington, D.C.
My use of the term gay with respect to men in the Harlem Renaissance period follows the
lead of George Chauncey: ‘‘Gay’’ refers to men who perceive themselves as different from
‘‘normal’’ men because of their self-acknowledged sexual interest in other males; it does not
include men who respond to sexual advances from other males, but who nonetheless con-
sider themselves ‘‘normal.’’ See George Chauncey, Gay New York: Gender, Urban Culture, and
the Making of the Gay Male World, 1890–1940 (New York: Basic Books/HarperCollins, 1994),
Ibid., 264.
The connections between the European avant-garde and the Harlem Renaissance should be
explored further. Nancy Cunard’s anthology, Negro (London: Wishart and Company, 1934), for
example, is as massive and significant a collection of material on the Black experience as any
that had been produced up to that time. Yet, American scholars of the Harlem Renaissance
scarcely mention it. Nugent was one of her acquaintances.
Richard Bruce Nugent, private conversation with THW, 1984. Nugent’s chance reunion with
Roditi one Sunday in 1984 at the Hatch-Billops Collection in New York was among the most
memorable occasions of my friendship with Nugent.
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