Lover of the Fancy

Early C20th American culture and dissent

The Fire in the Flint
Walter Francis White


Although he is generally recognized for his accomplishments as the longtime leader of the NAACP, Walter Francis White also wrote several novels during the Harlem Renaissance exploring the themes of Alain Locke’s New Negro Movement. Praised by W E B Du Bois in The Crisis and by Konrad Bercovici in The NationThe Fire in the Flint remains an invaluable testament to the power of fiction to address political matters. Dr Kenneth Harper finds it difficult to overcome the deep inequities of life in the American South. Born and raised in Georgia, he returns to his hometown following his graduation from medical school and service in the First World War. Determined to open a clinic for his friends and neighbors, he avoids confrontation with white townspeople and focuses on the task at hand. Soon, however, he encounters opposition from neighbors who regard his success and intelligence as a threat to their power. Eventually, Harper is forced to lay his life on the line by opposing the Ku Klux Klan. The Fire in the Flint is a powerful bildungsroman grounded in truth and moral decency. Praised by Nobel Laureate Sinclair Lewis upon publication, White’s novel is a largely forgotten masterpiece of the Harlem Renaissance, perhaps the finest decade for art in the history of American culture. With a beautifully designed cover and professionally typeset manuscript, this edition of Walter Francis White’s The Fire in the Flint is a classic of African American literature reimagined for modern readers.

Paperback, 184pp
Mint Editions, 2021 (1924)
ISBN 9781513282435


WALTER FRANCIS WHITE (1893-1955) was an African American civil rights activist. Born in Atlanta, he was raised by parents who attended Atlanta University, a historically black college. His mixed European and African ancestry frequently clashed with his physical appearance–despite being blond-haired and blue-eyed, he identified as black and frequently experienced prejudice in his youth. White learned to preserve himself through passing, which would aid him in times of danger during his career as an activist in the South. He graduated from his parents’ alma mater in 1916 and moved to New York City within a few years. White quickly worked his way through the ranks of the NAACP, eventually serving as the organization’s leader. From 1929 to 1955, he spearheaded the NAACP’s campaigns for desegregation and voting rights, gaining a reputation as a skilled orator and fierce advocate for civil rights. He lobbied the federal government for anti-lynching bills, conducted investigations of race riots around the country, and steered the NAACP through competition with the American Communist Party while consolidating the party against the black nationalism of Marcus Garvey. White was also a critically acclaimed author of novels and non-fiction. His novel The Fire in the Flint (1924) is recognized as an important work of the Harlem Renaissance.