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Pages from the Harlem Renaissance

A Chronicle of Performance


Anthony Hill

Anthony Hill’s book, Pages from the Harlem Renaissance, is an historical and critical analysis of the nature and significance of J.A. Jackson’s Page in Billboard. Hill explores Jackson’s vision of black performance as seen through the Page against the larger framework of national and cultural concerns of the 1920s. The study is a testimony to the major accomplishments of black performers in all phases of black show business. Hill documents the development of the column from its founding in 1920 to its disappearance in 1925, focusing on Jackson as a critic, reporter, spokesman, and booster of black entertainment. The author moves on to assess Jackson’s role in shaping black performance relative to the major theatrical critics W.E.B. DuBois, Theophilus Lewis, Sylvester Russell, and Romeo Dougherty. He then discusses key issues that include setting standards, improving conditions on the TOBA touring circuit, and organizing unions.