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It's 1920s Harlem, and man, the joint is jumpin'. Folks are coming and going and everything's copacetic as long as the gin keeps flowing. This is the scene Stephen Jorgenson dives into when he arrives from Canada for the first time. He is taken to The Niggerati Mar, an apartment building in Harlem inhabited by aspiring artists whose true talents lie in living, and where everything's black and white - with a lot of grayness in between. Counterbalancing Stephen's embrace of these folks is Raymond Taylor, a writer who is the only truly talented artist in the mar. Raymond's cynical take on the new Negro artist is the tightrope he walks between the love and hatred of himself and his people. Characters representing Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, and Alain Locke all appear, and part of the fun of this book is figuring out who's who.