African American Poetry (1870-1928): A Digital Anthology

Poems Published in "The Messenger" Magazine

The Messenger was an African American-oriented magazine published in Harlem, between 1917 and 1928. It was founded by Chandler Owen and A. Philip Randolph, and was strongly associated with socialist politics. Starting in the early 1920s, the magazine moved away from a strict attention to political activism and advocacy, and became a 'full-service' monthly magazine that published a considerable amount of literature. 

Starting in 1923, the magazine changed its subheader to The Messenger: World's Greatest Negro Monthly, and in many ways the magazine served as a more progressive and dissenting alternative to The Crisis through the peak years of the Harlem Renaissance. 

The Messenger is particularly notable for its advocacy of the Pullman Porter strike of 1925 -- the magazine was full-throated in support of the striking workers (overwhelmingly Black). There is even a poem along these lines in the December 1925 issue by Ann Lawrence. 

The magazine is notable for hosting George S. Schuyler's columns, "Shafts and Darts." Schuyler was well-known as a dissenting Arican American voice in the Harlem Renaissance, skeptical of its focus on developing a race-based aesthetics. In the October-November 1925 issue of The Messenger, Schuyler posted what appears to be a parody of the poetry in Alain Locke's New Negro Anthology, which he titled, "Coon River Anthology." 

The full archive of The Messenger can be found at 

Contents of this tag: