Jessie R. Fauset (Jessie Redmon Fauset) Biography
(1882–1961), (Jessie Redmon Fauset), The Crisis, There Is Confusion, Plum Bun, The Chinaberry Tree
African-American novelist, born in New Jersey, educated at Cornell University, the University of Pennsylvania, and the Sorbonne. She was a high-school teacher and, during 1912–26, an editor of Du Bois's The Crisis, a periodical associated with the Harlem Renaissance. As a novelist, she was primarily concerned with the African-American middle class, and its struggle for betterment and for a fair deal from American society. Her novels include There Is Confusion (1924), a romance in which an African-American woman (who wants to be a concert singer) helps her boyfriend in his struggle against racist obstacles to becoming a doctor; Plum Bun (1929), which contrasts the lives of two sisters, one living proudly in Harlem, the other unhappily ‘passing for white’ in Greenwich Village; The Chinaberry Tree (1931); and Comedy: American Style (1934). She was a pioneer in exposing the experience of African-American women, thereby anticipating such prominent later writers as Alice Walker and Maya Angelou.