Ten years ago, lit­erary scholar Carla Kaplan released an acclaimed edi­tion of the let­ters of Zora Neale Hurston. In the course of researching Hurston’s life, Kaplan became curious about the white women who were in Harlem in the same period as Hurston, women who risked family exile and social ostracism to be part of the artistic and polit­ical move­ments of the Harlem Renais­sance. Now, Kaplan has pub­lished a cul­tural his­tory of those women called Miss Anne in Harlem: The White Women of the Black Renais­sance.

Kaplan opens her rev­e­la­tory book with a poem that was printed in the NAACP’s journal, The Crisis, around 1930. “A White Girl’s Prayer” was written by “a white girl” named Edna Mar­garet Johnson. Here are some scat­tered lines that’ll give you the gist of her “prayer”:

Read the article at NPR →