Claude McKay between United States and Soviet Union: African-American Identity and Socialist Utopia

Fiorenzo Iuliano


This article analyzes Claude McKay’s essays on politics and society, especially those dealing with the racial question in the 1920s US. It reviews these texts, alongside other works (poems and autobiographical writings) that McKay produced on the same topics. The article aims at tracing a trajectory in McKay’s political thought: after criticizing the social and economic structures of capitalist and colonial societies, McKay envisages in post-revolutionary USSR a utopian society for oppressed people worldwide. However, his writings, rather than depicting the actual USSR society he knew in the early 1920s, evokes the multicultural myth of the ‘melting pot’ traditionally used to celebrate the US. McKay, maybe unwillingly, enthusiastically praises the myth of American exceptionalism, referring it to the USSR.


McKay; URSS; Harlem Renaissance

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