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Carl Van Vechten

With Friends like these… (or, is it possible to be too hip?)

Two weeks ago I wrote about the strange career of white moderates. Let me continue that discussion by introducing Carl Van Vechten. I’m in the midst of considering his friendship with Eslanda (and Paul) Robeson for a new chapter I’m writing for my book (Yay Spring Break!). I have their letters to each other and there is much mutual affection and admiration. “Essie” wrote to “Carlo” about Paul’s triumphs, their experiences abroad, and her own literary attempts. When many people were owed letters, it seems that Van Vechten was at the top of Essie’s list. In order to understand Essie Read more