Goat Cart Sam a.k.a. Porgy:

Dubose Heyward's Icon of Southern "Innocence"

Kendra Hamilton

Dubose and Dorothy Heyward

I grew up in Charleston, South Carolina, where city planners with an eye toward those all-important tourists from Oshkosh and Vermont have repackaged the town's fire-and-brimstone zeitgeist into a sanitized Southern fried trifle that goes down sweeter than pralines on King Street-where tourists from Wal-Mart America cruise the streets, stuffing themselves on the Old Slave Market, Fort Sumter, Rainbow Row till they're too complacent to wonder where the jazz is, why the tour guides keep chattering about "servants," or how many gentrification carrion birds the polished brass on the new tourist and convention center is going to send wheeling over the peninsula's remaining black neighborhoods.

Yes, I grew up in Charleston, and the city is so changed from the crumbling ruin known to Dubose Heyward and the man who would come to be called Porgy that I doubt either would recognize it-or even, though for entirely different reasons, much like it. But this narrative does not begin in Charleston. It begins in New York City some 70-odd years ago, where a group of writers and intellectuals were flinging themselves like moths against the candle flame of something they were calling the "modern"-and seeking, even more assiduously, to give their experiments a name.

Carl Van Vechten is the man at the center of one of those boiling cauldrons of experimentation. A novelist and essayist who took an early- and lonely-stand on behalf of integration in both the arts and in social life, Van Vechten has been hailed as a chief architect-and reviled as a cheap huckster-of the Harlem Renaissance. It seems clear that Van Vechten's intentions were noble-and equally clear that he's doomed to remain an ambivalent figure in the annals of era. We turn to his own words to learn the reason why. There's no escaping the savage irony of his most famous essay, written in 1926 for the NAACP's The Crisis magazine. The words, intended as a call to arms for the African-American artist, shriek down through the decades like fingernails across a blackboard.

The squalor of Negro life, the vice of Negro life, offer a wealth of 
novel, exotic, picturesque material to the artist.  On the other 
hand, there is very little difference if any between the life of a 
wealthy or cultured Negro and that of a white man of the same 
class.  The question is: are Negro writers going to write about 
this exotic material while it is still fresh or will they continue 
to make a free gift of it to white authors who will exploit it until 
not a drop of vitality remains? [1]

With a magisterial wave of his hand and one sweeping generalization Van Vechten pulls a linguistic rabbit out of his hat. Grim realities such as the rigid social segregation and economic oppression that affected even the wealthiest blacks, not to mention the lynchings (often directed at wealthy, "uppity" blacks) that had inspired Claude McKay's protest sonnet "If We Must Die" just one year before, are simply made to vanish while the "vice" and "squalor" that attend poverty are celebrated for their "exotic, picturesque" qualities.

Van Vechten considered himself a radical-and so has an entire generation of literary critics. But Ian McKay would have known what to make of this brand of "radicalism." McKay would have called it "aesthetic colonization" and pointed out the indisputable parallels with Helen Creighton-another champion of the Folk whose sincere affection for the poor of Nova Scotia never stopped her from making a buck off of them.

Van Vechten shared with Creighton a fear that the passage of time and the depredations of crass hucksters would dilute the priceless treasures possessed by the Folk-and eventually destroy them. He also shared a conviction that his essentialist vision was in some fashion crucial to his nation's identity. But in imputing "that which [was] unchanging, true, solid, and possibly even providential"[2] to the Negro, Van Vechten was enacting a classically Romantic and ironically antimodernist agenda. Van Vechten's Negroes could only be "exotic" and "picturesque" because they were objects of his appropriative artist's gaze. Had they been subjects, truly equal partners in the creation of a "common culture and political order"[3], Van Vechten's aesthetic categories would have looked radically different to his peers and to our fin de siecle eyes.

Fortunately for the Harlem Renaissance, African-American writers-creating from inside the culture-easily evaded the shoals upon which Van Vechten's kind intentions had foundered. Those who explored "the primitive"--such as Claude McKay, Jean Toomer, Jessie Fauset, and Zora Neale Hurston--did so with a generosity of vision undreamed of by the man who considered himself their champion. Such was not the case, however, with the white writers of the period--the Sherwood Andersons, Waldo Franks, Julia Peterkins, and Van Vechtens. Such was not even the case with a writer like Dubose Heyward, whose Porgy was read and admired at least by literary blacks. No less an advocate than Langston Hughes called Heyward one who saw, "with his white eyes, wonderful, poetic qualities in the inhabitants of Catfish Row that makes them come alive . . ."[4]

The Renaissance had long fizzled when Heyward died in 1940, and the nation was engrossed by the spectacle unfolding in Europe-the Nazi advance on Alsace-Lorraine, the fall of the Maginot line, Petain's taking the helm in France. Still Heyward's passing caused the news cycle to pause in its headlong rush for at least a beat. The Charleston papers ran the story next to the lead. Even the national press was lavish in its praise:

"Once the Heywards were among the richest planters of South Carolina . . . It was good fortune for literature and for young Dubose Heyward that the family joined the ranks of the newly poor after the War Between the States," said the New York Times, which also hailed him as the chronicler of the "strange, various, primitive and passionate world"[5] of the Negro.

"[W]ith 'Porgy' Heyward took the first rank," noted the Baltimore Sun. "The humble crippled negro (sic) beggar was a figure made utterly real to Heyward's readers . . . 'Porgy' . . . is, in the most satisfying way, a . . . story written with a skill--no, mastery--that give the reader a sense of fullness, richness, and life."

The New York Tribune, meanwhile, paid the author the highest compliment of all: "His death is a loss for American letters." With these early accounts the elements of Heyward's personal myth seemed firmly in place. The papers stressed a noble ancestry that included a signer of the Declaration of Independence; his family's tragic fall into penury; his personal literary triumphs, earned by dint of hard, lonely effort since his birth couldn't help him and his family was too poor to educate him. Indeed, in the years after Heyward's death, Porgy and Bess, his 1935 collaboration with George Gershwin, was to be revived again and again on Broadway and the West Coast, eventually making a triumphal world tour under the auspices of the State Department from London to Leningrad back through Israel, Egypt, and Central and South America.

But then a curious thing happened. Even as Porgy's fame grew, the author's legend shrunk. Within two years of Heyward's death, his widow Dorothy, an Ohio-born playwright whose role in her husband's career has never been fully appreciated[6], was trading legal blows with a Broadway producer who had arbitrarily dropped the author from the credits. The battle was joined once again in the late '50s, when MGM lined up an all-star cast--Sidney Poitier , Dorothy Dandridge, Sammy Davis Jr., Pearl Bailey, and a young Diahann Carroll--to bring the show to the silver screen.

It was a split decision for Mrs. Heyward: She won on Broadway, lost against the movie giant Samuel Goldwyn. But with the passage of years, the extent of the loss has become more and more apparent. Porgy has become as emblematic of Charleston as sweetgrass baskets and ornate ironwork. Tourists clamor to see Catfish Row (even though there is no such place-Heyward seems to have conflated the row of tenements that later became tony Rainbow Row with an address formerly known as Cabbage Row, at 89-91 Church Street)[7]. "Porgy and Bess," meanwhile, became the name of a legendary nightspot among black Charlestonians. Indeed, one could say with only the gentlest hyperbole that there's nary a 6th grader in the city who hasn't seen one of the opera's frequent revivals[8] --or at the very least, been forced to memorize "Summertime" for a school assembly. Yet only the most filiopietistic of the city's "genealogy guards" have even heard of Dubose Heyward.

The ironies of the situation are compelling. Charleston becomes daily more segregated, the chasm between rich and poor ever deeper and wider, as in the salad days before the war. The tourist-minded city fathers become daily more ingenious at smoothing down the ugly truths of the city's history so as to increase its appeal to people whose impressions of the South owe more to Scarlet O'Hara than Shelby Foote. And yet the city's most readily identifiable cultural emblems-from Porgy to "the Charleston"-have African-American roots.

Those roots will be our concern in this paper, and we shall pay particular attention to how cultural selection by Dubose Heyward-with ample help from his wife Dorothy, from George Gershwin, and from the Broadway stage and Hollywood dream factory-created a work of art with a complex of meanings that made it irresistibly appealing to white audiences. My goal will be to show how Heyward mingled actual events and a poorly understood Folk iconography to create a ritual, fabular framework through which fears and fantasies about race might be invoked-then laid to rest.


The narrative of the man insiders knew as Goat Cart Sam--not "Goat Sammy," as Heyward and the Charleston papers called him--is in some ways a personal narrative. My grandmother, Anna Hamilton[9], knew him as a girl growing up on Charleston's "neck"-the area north of downtown that joins the peninsula to the mainland. The Neck has always been short on white habitation-the city annexed it way back in 1849 because it was known to be a haunt of runaways[10]. But the measure wasn't adequate. In Heyward's time, the only whites on the Neck were a few farmers and those who ran and worked at the fertilizer mills whose choking fumes wreathed the city when the wind was from the north. After hours and outside of the plant environs, black Charlestonians went about their lives in neighborhoods like Silver Hill, where my father was born, Rosemont, and Accabee--in relative isolation from the city's whites.

Such was most emphatically not the case in downtown Charleston. African-Americans lived cheek by jowl with whites all through the historic district-at long-gentrified addresses on Tradd, Water, Legare, Rutledge, and East Bay Streets. Sarah Dowling[11], now 86, grew up on Tradd Street among both black and white neighbors. She, too, is part of the personal narrative-her husband, the Rev. Johnnie Dowling, ran the Jenkins Orphanage for long years after the death of its founder, overseeing its removal from the heart of Charleston's business district and taking the Jenkins Orphanage Band on a series of tours, to New York where they played in stage revivals of Porgy, and even to Europe. Mrs. Dowling knew my father, Lonnie Hamilton III as one of "Johnnie's boys," a fixture in the Jenkins Orphanage Band. And she knew both Samuel Smalls, called "Goat Cart Sam," and Dorothy Heyward, whose visits to the Port City after her husband's death were frequently punctuated by invitations that the Orphanage children come to her to sing spirituals and the songs from Porgy and Bess. The story Mrs. Dowling and my grandmother tell bears little resemblance to the one that Dubose Heyward was to tell.

"Oh, he was a mean man," Mrs. Dowling said. "A drunk and whatnot . . . And that Bess business-it wasn't no Bess. They just wrote it up as a story and put all this Sporting Life and stuff in it. Of course, there were people like that . . ."

"No, they wasn't no Bess," my grandmother agreed, "but he had plenty of girlfriend. He used to beat 'em, beat 'em with his little goat whip.

"Us children been scared of him, that Sam," she continued. "They said he was a 'bad' man, and you know any time they call someone a bad man, you kinda look at 'em out your eye sideways."

As my grandmother recalled it, Sam lived not downtown on Cabbage Row but in the "Green Tenement" near the Neck along Mount Pleasant Street. The place he spent most of his time, however, was the Long Alley, a road on the Neck with a post office and a much racier attraction.

"What did they call it? The Bull Pen! That's right. The Bull Pen. That was the gambling place . . . Oh, Lawd, you'd see (Sam) just going along, just a-singing, a body in a cart with two wheels . . . I don't know if he had no feet. He mighta had a knee. But he would spring out that wagon and spring in that door, and the goat would stay there all day. You could always tell when he was there-when that goat was out there in the Long Alley."

White Charlestonians certainly noticed Sam, but it's a fact that he would never have become central to the myth of the city had not Dubose Heyward, a marginally successful poet seeking some way of catapulting the divide between himself-an ill-educated though talented provincial-and the witty, Ivy-League sophisticates at the MacDowell Colony for writers, heeded the advice of his friends John Bennett and Hervey Allen and begun to look closer to home for the stuff of fiction.

An item about Sam Smalls in the newspaper's crime report, virtually the only section where news of happenings in the African- American community was assured of appearing, caught his attention-in 1918 or 1923, depending on the source. In 1924, he went to work on his novel, and the haunting first lines of Porgy were the result.

Porgy lived in the Golden Age.  Not the Golden Age of a remote 
and legendary past; nor yet the chimerical era treasured by 
every man past middle life, that never existed except in the 
heart of youth; but an age when men, not yet old, were boys in 
an ancient, beautiful city that time had forgotten before it 
destroyed.  (11)

Now this was a far cry from the type of writing the author's mother, Janie Screven Heyward, did to support the family in the years before her son's insurance business removed the load from her shoulders. Mrs. Heyward, we should note, enjoyed a small success as a "Gullah" poet, lecturer, and radio program hostess-and her fame only grew after her son's rise to national prominence, allowing her to charge up to $50 for a 90-minute lecture program at a time when a loaf of bread cost five cents. But despite the quite considerable differences, there are distinct echoes of her son's "Golden Age" and "ancient, beautiful city that time had forgotten before it destroyed" in "De Happy Lan"-the poem, facing a postcard of a "Mauma" in a turban, that opens "The Janie Screven Heyward Notebooks":

Little Sonny, Little Gal
Trabblin down de road
War is you two gwin
Wid such a funny load?
We two is bound for Happy Land,
Kin tell we war it lies?
We darsn't leabe de goose behin
Cos Sah, she allus cries.
De Happy Lan is "Long Ago"
To dose who now am old.
So tun aroun, an trabble home
Befo de night gets cold.[12]

Heyward's intentions were far more ambitious than his mother's. As he was to write in an essay titled, "The New Note in Southern Literature":

	In the well-bred southern drawing room of a decade ago, 
the "Negro Problem" was never mentioned.  And so 
the authors who undertook to interpret Negro life divided 
themselves into two general classes: those who deal altogether 
delightfully with the Negro of the past, and those who took the 
Negro's sense of humor as a keynote, caricatured it beyond 
recognition, and produced a comedian so detached from life 
that he could be laughed at heartily without the least disloyalty 
to the taboo.
	Now the task that confronts the South today is simply 
this: to readjust its standards of good taste in manners if you 
will.  But for art, its own code of good taste, based upon a 
fearless and veracious moulding of the raw human material 
that lies beneath its hand.[13]

One can't help but wonder how Heyward saw his mother's contribution to Southern literature-as "altogether delightful" or mere caricature? The answer is unknowable, but we can say that the mission Heyward set for himself-both to expand "the standards of good taste" in Southern drawing rooms and somehow to make "a fearless and veracious molding of . . . raw human material" compatible with the demands of good taste-was to prove beyond the limits of his talent.

Let us take a closer look at Porgy. Briefly, it is the story of a crippled beggar who witnesses a murder during a dice game and later gives shelter to the murderer's woman, the beautiful, haunted Bess. The Catfish Row community is united in its opposition to the union, but Porgy and Bess make each other happy, and their happiness only increases when they take in a child orphaned by a hurricane. Their idyll is brief, however. The murderer, Crown, returns for Bess, and Porgy, defending his family, kills him. The police detain him for questioning but never dream that a cripple could have been the killer, so Porgy returns triumphantly to the Row. The triumph turns to tragedy, however, when he learns that, while he was away, Sporting Life, the dope pusher, beguiled Bess with "happy dus'" and took her away to New York City to resume, it is implied,her career as a prostitute.

The book is both beautifully written and moving-far superior to Van Vechten's Nigger Heaven or Anderson's Dark Laughter, to name two works of the period in the same vein. But the claims made for it in contemporary reviews and in later critical assessments must be interrogated.

Harry Hervey, writing for the New York Evening Post, for example, called Porgy "a series of throbbing moments, a ghost of Africa stalking on American soil." Ellen Glasgow said it was "born a classic. Nothing finer has occurred in American literature since Uncle Remus." The Nation found it "a fresh and finished picture of the simple Southern Negro. And because he writes with poetry and penetration his story is a moving one; because he writes with detachment and tenderness . . . a fusion of comedy and tragedy is delicately achieved." [14] In assessments up to the late '80s, words like "simple," "passionate," "alive" were occurring with monotonous regularity. Those critics who did not dismiss Heyward out of hand were uniformly enthralled by his "precise" and "penetrating" insights into the "essential" realities of African-American life . . . . But just who, one must ask, were these essential African-Americans?

They were first and foremost African, in both appearance and action. Porgy is described as "black with the almost purple blackness of unadulterated Congo blood" and he had, moreover, something "Eastern and mystic about the intense introspection of his look" (13). The influence of Africa makes him a poet. He doesn't grunt or shout when he rolls the dice, but says the delicate little prayer, "Oh, little stars, roll me some light! . . . Roll me a sun and a moon!" (18) He sings lustily at the funeral for Robbins, the man murdered by Crown. When his Bess falls ill, he sends to the conjure woman. And when disaster looms, he reads the omen in the shadow of a buzzard perched on a wall.

Sporting Life, the light-skinned trickster figure whose clothes speak of city polish and whose pockets are full of city dope, represents a significant falling off from the ideal represented by Porgy. Vain, deceitful, dangerous to the social order--the widow Serena Robbins, for example, begs him to leave before his loose talk about white women ends in a lynching (57)--he becomes a symbol of the destructive force of the modern.

There is only one other "type" of African-American male in the novel: Crown, the monstrous "bad man" whose killing rage threatens both the stability of the African-American community as well as the larger white one[15]. This is how Heyward describes the murder of Robbins. The emphases in the passage are mine:

With a low snarl, straight from his crouching position, 
Crown hurled his tremendous weight forward, shattering the 
lamp, and bowling Robbins against the wall . . .  The oil from 
the broken lamp . . . blazed up ruddily.  Crown was 
crouched for a second spring, with lips 
drawn from gleaming teeth.  The light fell strong upon 
thrusting jaw, and threw the sloping brow  into 
shadow.  One hand touched the ground lightly, balancing the 
massive torso.  The other arm held the cotton-hook 
forward, ready, like a prehensile claw . . . A heady, 
bestial stench absorbed all other odors.  A fringe of 
shadowy watchers crept from cavernous doorways, sensed 
it [the scent], and commenced to wail 

The italics tell the story. Crown is described entirely in terms of overwhelming physical power and animalistic threat. His aggression reduces the laughing, joking Catfish Row residents along with him to the status of whimpering animals.

The women of Catfish Row are described in equally essentialist terms. They are mammies-like devout Serena Robbins, of whom her husband boasted "Dat lady ob mine is a born white-folks nigger" (17), and the imposing Maria, who fells Sporting Life with a well-placed brick to the head. Or they are whores, like the unfortunate Bess. When we first meet her, she is drunk and her eyes, as Maria serves her some food, are full of "the acid of utter degradation" (53). She initially tries to play Porgy for "the good money he gits fum the w'ite folks" (53). It is only much later that his love tames her ferocity. Still, she cannot resist the lure of happy dus' or Crown's "hot hands." The description of their meeting on Kittiwar Island leaves no doubt as to Bess's "essential" nature or her eventual fall:

"I know yuh ain't change," he said.  
"With yuh an' me it always goin' tuh be de same.  
He snatched her body toward him with such force that 
her breath was forced from her in a sharp gasp.  Then she 
inhaled deeply, threw back her head, and sent a wild laugh out 
of the clearing. (121)

Heyward's vision of Catfish Row is, at first blush, more palatable. He sees it as a collective and celebrates that as its great strength. The spirituals sung at Robbins' funeral, the mute resistance to the racist police officer are two among many of the expressions of this collectivity. But upon closer examination, one notes that the collective is quite selective. We know from social histories of Charleston and from Mrs. Dowling's recollections that the city was thoroughly integrated in the 1910s and '20s. There were prominent African-American doctors and lawyers and educators. There was a black newspaper and a private school for the children of the well-to- do on Bull Street, only blocks from Heyward's home. There were African- American blacksmiths and barbers, butchers and bakers. But this Charleston is simply edited out of the picture. Furthermore, aspiration-- as in the case of the lawyer selling phony divorces or Sporting Life, who was only, after all, seeking better "advantages" in New York City--is subtly or broadly ridiculed.

Heyward notes on the opening page that a man might become a beggar, "presumably because he was hungry," or another "of more energetic temperament" might become a stevedore. But he gives no hint that race might play a role in this equation. Racism is individualized--and located with lower class whites like the brutal, sneering, redneck policemen. Upper-class whites might be indifferent, as was the judge-but more often, as with the lawyer Archdale or the lady in the window, they are sympathetic.

Other than the terrifying hurricane that devastated the "Mosquito Fleet" of African-American fisherman both in the novel and in fact, the greatest threats to the community of Catfish Row are conceived as threats to the social order and embodied in fabular terms in the trickster/bad man figures of Sporting Life/Crown. Those threats loom large then are neutralized by figures guaranteed to appeal to the sensibilities of whites: the "mammies," Serena and Maria, who join forces against Sporting Life; and Porgy, whose seeming weakness is revealed as strength when he lies in wait for and slays the dragon of the piece. Even the disappearance of Bess, while tragic for Porgy, is necessary to the ritual drama. The threat of her disturbing, animal sexuality must be eliminated to preserve the social order.

Such are the elements of Heyward's much-touted vision of "essential" Negroes. And while he may well have seen African- Americans as "inheritor[s] of a source of delight I would have given much to possess,"[16] he also saw them primitives whose existence justified the dominance of an aristocracy to which they were irremediably inferior. Heyward's unwitting debt to Helen Creighton--not to mention his mother--was great indeed. His antimodernist, paternalistic vision was tailor made for a white South still reeling from the twin blows of Civil War and post-war Depression and a white North alarmed by the swelling ranks of disaffected Southern blacks within its midst. Audiences responded viscerally to the book, and then the play (which had a triumphant run on Broadway), and still later the Gershwin opera, though the MGM film flopped[17]. The real Goat Cart Sam and the real African-American community quickly became irrelevant to forces that ignored the conditions of their lives in order to turn them into intellectual property. The only debate, as the novel turned into a play and then an opera and then a movie, was over how best to exploit this intellectual property.


Perhaps the keenest of the ironies surrounding Porgy and its later incarnations is the fact that it has given employment and opportunity to so many blacks--especially in the entertainment community and in Charleston--even as the larger African-American community has steadfastly refused to embrace it.

Hughes' words of praise have not persuaded. Duke Ellington despised the opera version, saying Gershwin had "borrowed from everyone from Liszt to Dickie Wells kazoo" and no less a music critic than Virgil Thomson concurred, saying, it was a "libretto that never should have been accepted on a subject that never should have been chosen [by] a man who should never have attempted it . . . Folk-lore subjects recounted by an outsider are only valid as long as the folk in question is unable to speak for itself, which is certainly not true of the Negro in 1935."[18] Even celebratory treatments such as Hollis Alpert's Life and Times of Porgy and Bess have had to admit that black audiences have stayed away in droves-and that the depictions of black life in Charleston have caused periodic revolts among cast members from the first stage adaptation in 1927 to Pearl Bailey's, Sidney Poitier's, and Dorothy Dandridge's deep ambivalence over the film.

Some of this is no doubt due to historical segregation in theaters for much of the stage version's life span. Indeed, controversies over segregation prevented the opera from coming to the city that inspired it until 1970, during Charleston's Tricentennial festivities. Mrs. Dowling has fond memories of performing in that version, but she also has great anger at the way folklore collectors interested in early Charleston and the Jenkins Orphanage Band have exploited her over the years. She recounts telling a woman with a grant from South Carolina Educational Television that she was "fed up" with collectors trooping in, taking her stories, and giving her little or no compensation. The woman "stuck ten dollars in my hand" as she left, Mrs. Dowling says.

Indeed, the simple fact of the matter seems to be that Porgy and Bess has been a way for whites, in America and in Europe, to participate vicariously in fantasies of what they imagine African-American life to be. Consider this story from Dubose Heyward:

	The Gullah Negro prides himself on what he calls 
"shouting."  This is a complicated rhythmic pattern 
beaten out by feet and hands as an accompaniment to the 
spirituals, and is indubitably an African survival.  I shall 
never forget the night when, at a Negro meeting on a remote 
sea island, George [Gershwin, in town to capture the 
"flavor" of the area] started "shouting" with 
them.  And eventually to their huge delight stole the show from 
their champion "shouter."  I think that he is probably 
the only white man in American who could have done 
it. [19]

Perhaps my grandmother summed the situation up best. "Oh, Goat Cart Sam, Goat Cart Sam, dead and gone and they still making money off him," she sighed. [20]

Home Novel

End Notes

1. The Crisis 31 (March 1926), p. 219.

2. Ian McKay, The Quest of the Folk (Montreal: McGill-Queen's University, 1994), p. 13.

3. Op. cit., p. 109.

4. "Writers: Black and White," in The American Negro Writer and His Roots: Selected Papers from the First Conference of Negro Writers, March, 1959, ed. John O. Killens (New York: American Society of African Culture, 1960), p. 43.

5. Newspaper accounts from The (Charleston, SC) News and Courier, June 17-20, 1940.

6. Dorothy Kuhns and Dubose Heyward met at the MacDowell Colony for artists. She married him in 1923, convinced Heyward to abandon his insurance business and write full-time, adapted both his Porgy and Mamba's Daughters for the Broadway stage, and was a celebrated playwright in her own right. One of her most famous adaptations was that American classic, Rodgers and Hammerstein's South Pacific.

7. Caroline Bokinsky, "Dubose Heyward's Porgy," in Names in South Carolina 29 (1982), p. 23.

8. There have been four in the last decade-in 1985, 1990, 1991, and 1993- according to The Charleston Post-Courier computer files at the Charleston County Library and Hollis Alpert's The Life and Times of Porgy and Bess (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1990).

9. Personal interview, March 11, 1995.

10. Bernard E. Powers Jr., Black Charlestonians: A Social History, 1822-1885 (Fayetteville, AK: U of Arkansas P, 1994), p.

11. Personal interview, March 11, 1995.

12. Janie Screven Heyward Notebooks, Manuscript Collections, Charleston Historical Society, Charleston, SC.

13. In Rosalie Vincent Bailey, DuBose Heyward: Poet, Novelist, and Playwright (M.A. Thesis: Duke University, 1941), p. 57.

14. Hervey Allen, Du Bose Heyward: A Critical and Biographical Sketch, Including Contemporary Estimates of his Work (New York: George H. Doran). The book is a short critical appreciation with a series of blurbs from contemporary reviewers-all laudatory, of course. We must not forget that Allen was Heyward's collaborator on Carolina Chansons. Allen's reputation did not rest on this volume-he had won the Yale Younger Poets prize-but good press for Heyward certainly could not have hurt him.

15. Bruce Jackson, "Get Your Ass in the Water and Swim Like Me": Narrative Poetry from the Black Oral Tradition (Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1974), 30-31.

16. Heyward, "Introduction," in Porgy: A Play in Four Acts (New York: Theatre Guild, 1929), x.

17. Controversies over segregated seating in the South prompted Goldwyn to cancel all Southern engagements in exasperation in 1959. In Alpert, p. 280.

18. Charles Schwartz, Gershwin: His Life and Music (Indianapolis, IN: The Bobbs-Merrill Co. Inc, 1973), p. 245.

19. Merle Armitage, ed., George Gershwin (London: Longmans, Green & Co., 1938), p. 39.

20. Anna Hamilton died one week to the day after the interview was conducted, at the age of 86.


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