Gwendolyn Bennett

Gwendolyn Bennett. 1924. Beinecke Library, Yale University.

was a rising star of the Harlem Renaissance in the 1920s, publishing in Opportunity, Crisis, and Fire!! But she faded from the spotlight in the 1930s, her art inhibited by financial struggles, marital woes, and harassment from the KKK and FBI.

This website

"Gwendolyn Bennett, Sara West, Louise Jefferson, Augusta Savage, Eleanor Roosevelt" The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1937.

aims to document Gwendolyn Bennett’s pivotal role in the Harlem Renaissance. The site—still under construction—recreates a series of “scenes” that illuminate significant moments in her life, visual art, poetry, and other writings.

The scenic structure

Bennett in front of a still life oil painting, n.d.

reflects the fragmentary nature of Bennett’s corpus, much of which is unfinished or lost, and gaps in her life story, parts of which were too painful for her to discuss.