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The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

JANUARY CLUB - The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

The JANUARY CLUB was a small group of black writers, both men and women, who privately financed the publication of their own writing from 1930-33. Many such literary societies developed in other communities at this time as a result of the Harlem Renaissance, a cultural movement among AFRICAN AMERICANS during the 1920s. The January Club claimed special inspiration from the first black novelist, CHAS. CHESNUTT†, and the black poet LANGSTON HUGHES†, both from Cleveland. Especially interested in providing an outlet for younger writers, the January Club met initially at KARAMU HOUSE--then located at E. 38th St. and Central Ave.--and later at the Sterling branch of the CLEVELAND PUBLIC LIBRARY. During its 3-year existence, the club is known to have published at least 3 volumes of poetry. Dundo, published in 1931, claimed to be the "first anthology by the Negro youth of Cleveland" and the first of its kind anywhere in America. Many of the poems had previously appeared in other publications. Five hundred copies of Dundo were published. The next anthology was Shadows, which the club hoped to publish every spring, autumn, and summer (as it hoped to publish Dundo annually), although it is uncertain whether that was ever accomplished. The last publication of the January Club was Crispus Attacks, a poem by Jas. Robinson, the club's best-known member. Described as "A Patriotic Narrative of American Negro Heroism in the Boston Massacre," 250 copies of the work were printed.

Dundo, ed. Clarence F. Bryson and James H. Robinson (1931), WRHS.

Shadows, WRHS.

Last Modified: 17 Jul 1997 11:34:15 AM

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