He was a former Rhodes scholar who published a landmark collection of works by many promising young African-American writers during the Harlem Renaissance. He later reevaluated his position on the period of the 1920's from the viewpoint of the Great Depression ten years later. Quote: "The rosy enthusiasm and hopes of 1925 were cruelly deceptive mirages. The Depression revealed in Harlem that the social worker know all along, but had not been able to dramatize. There is no cure or saving magic in poetry and art for precarious marginal employment, high mortality rates and civic neglect."

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