Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Marita Bonner  

Pen Name: Joseph Maree Andrew

Genre: C:ADULT Fiction

Born: June 16, 1899 in Boston, MA


Illinois Connection

Bonner moved to Chicago after she was married.

Biographical and Professional Information

Marita Bonner's fictional Frye Street is a cramped, ethnically diverse Chicago neighborhood where black immigrants from the South struggle to achieve middle-class respectability. Bonner (1899-1971) wrote most of the 20 short stories, three plays and two essays some previously unpublished in this anthology during the 1920s and '30s. Short and sketch-like, these works illuminate with terse, angry strokes the deadening effects of poverty and racism on the spirit and family life of urban blacks. Bonner's characters often hurt one another, both physically and emotionally, as they strike out against suffocating hopelessness. But on Frye Street, both the brutal aggressors and the humble sufferers are innocent victims of an oppressive ghetto environment. Flat and frequently nameless, like actors in a medieval morality play, these Depression-era characters exude an air of universality that makes them pungently relevant for our times. This is the latest volume in the Black Women Writers series.

Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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-- '''', *Chicago Literary Hall of Fame, 2017