Underappreciated: Ann Petry's The Street

Farah Griffin, William B. Ransford Professor of English and Comparative Literature and African American Studies at Columbia University, discusses Ann Petry's 1946 novel, The Street, for our final Underappreciated segment of the summer. The Street is about a young single black mother who is trying to save money in order to move her son away from the influence of 116th Street. When it was initially published, it made Petry one of the first female African-American authors to receive significant critical and popular acclaim. Lately, the novel been getting more critical attention for its representation of gender politics within Harlem. It also provides a rich portrait of Harlem at that time—its neighborhoods, business districts, bars, and music clubs, making it more than simply a protest novel.