Unfinished Masterpiece: The Harlem Renaissance Fiction of Anita Scott Coleman

Though Anita Scott Coleman was born in Mexico and reared in New Mexico, her stories appeared frequently in The Crisis and other leading journals of the Harlem Renaissance. Reflecting and illuminating the movements major themes, her often award-winning stories, delicate and understated, offer subtle commentary on the status of black women, their role in black society, and the position of African Americans in an overwhelmingly white society. As a young woman in New Mexico, Anita Scott graduated from New Mexico Teachers College and enjoyed a brief teaching career until she married. Later she moved to California, where despite her distance from Harlem she wrote her last nine published stories, polished examples of the Renaissances finest short fiction, including Unfinished Masterpieces. As one by one the journals of the Harlem Renaissance ceased publication, Coleman's career itself remained regrettably unfinished. By 1960, when she died at age seventy, the literary legacy of this masterful southwestern storyteller was forgotten. What Champion and Glasrud have recovered in this collection is more than Coleman's complete collected short fiction. It is a road map of African American life in the Southwest and West during the movements glory days, etching not only indelible glimpses of character and culture but also the farthest reaching evidence of the Harlem Renaissances success in sharing ideals and goals across a nation.