1920's Renasissance Charleston
The white aristocrats of Charleston, whose ancestors had profited from chattel slavery, became instrumental in presenting African Americans more sympathetically in literature like the works of Dorothy and Dubose Heyward (Mamba's Daughters, Porgy & Bess) than anyone had before. How could this be? It seems almost counterintuitive. How could Charleston--which virtually built the symbolic infrastructure of the old South and served as the Ellis Island of African Americans--be so assiduous and instrumental in dismantling it? How could the slow and graceful waltz of times gone by suddenly be usurped by "The Charleston" and its motions of hedonistic abandon?
One answer is that the Charleston art scene in the 1920s, to use the closing image of Porgy, was bathed in "an irony of sunlight."
Charleston lore behind "Annabel Lee" by Poe