Dissertations and Theses

Date of Award


Document Type




First Advisor

Laurie Woodard

Second Advisor

Yaari Felber-Seligman


sexuality, gender, Harlem, Fire!!, heteronormative, middle-class


In November 1926, a group of Black artists, writers, and activists created the first and only edition of Fire!!, edited by novelist Wallace Thurman. Fire!! was created by a younger generation of New Negroes and “devoted to the younger Negro artists” who dissented from the mainstream ideas of the New Negro Movement and used the magazine to spread their own views on the 1915-1945 New Negro Renaissance. Fire!! and other texts speaking to this dissent against a Black intellectual middle class image of the movement will be studied in reference to showcasing the multi-faceted elements of the movement touching on queerness, working class struggle, and other points of non-conformity and contention. This project will analyze the development of the dominant New Negro image and points of contention within the New Negro movement. Furthermore, it will study how both overt and covert queerness fit into the idea of the New Negro despite public reception of homosexuality and oppression of Queer people by the heteronormative mainstream. The intersection of race, sexuality, and gender within the movement will further be analyzed within the context of a heteronormative middle class mainstream and the pressure to conform to those standards. Notable, but often lesser known figures such as Wallace Thurman, Richard Bruce Nugent, Maple Hampton, Countee Cullen, and Nella Larsen will function as central figures to this narrative and analysis of queerness and non-conformity within the hegemonic ideology of the movement. Furthermore, this project will provide an in-depth analysis of both physical and literary spaces forged by Queer New Negroes.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.