Notes on “Angel of Harlem”

Angel of Harlem by Kuwana Hausley is the biography of Dr. May Edward Chinn. She  was the first African American woman to graduate from Columbia University and Bellevue Hospital Medical College and to intern at Harlem Hospital. This is a significant accomplishment in and of itself, however, the story told by Kuwana Hausley and characterized as a novel based on the life of May Edward Chinn, is an extraordinary one. There were many more characteristics and achievements that led me to want to know more about her even after I had completed the book.

Her first love as a musician led her to become an accompanist, friend and confidante, and party companion with many talented writers, artists, and musicians of the Harlem Renaissance. Paul Robeson, Zora Neale Hurston, Langston Hughes to name just a few, were included in her circle of friends. These and other many interesting facts are portrayed in the book about her life.

Her life during the early through the middle 1900’s was not an easy one. She dealt with many struggles that I, as an African American woman can relate to.  Her strength through those hard times showed her courage and fortitude which can be an example to women all over the world.

In spite of her personal struggles she found time and energy to protest alongside other women in a suffrage parade. She was a true advocate for women’s and civil rights.


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