News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Weds. Feb. 8, 2023: Today we spotlight on another black Caribbean immigrant who was an Afro-Caribbean Harlem Renaissance writer and journalist.
Eric Derwent Walrond
Born in Georgetown, British Guiana, today Guyana, Eric Walrond was the son of a Barbadian mother and a Guyanese father but moved to live with his mother in Barbados at age 8. He then moved to Panama at the time when the Panama Canal was being constructed, completed his school education and became fluent in Spanish as well as English. Following training as a secretary and stenographer, he was employed as a clerk in the Health Department of the Canal Commission at Cristóbal, and as a reporter for the Panama Star-Herald newspaper. In 1918 he moved to New York, where he attended Columbia University and was taught by Dorothy Scarborough. He was a member of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity.
In New York, Walrond worked at first as hospital secretary, porter, and stenographer. His utopian sketch of a united Africa, “A Senator’s Memoirs” (1921), won a prize sponsored by Marcus Garvey. From 1921 to 1923, Walrond was editor and co-owner of an African American weekly called the Brooklyn and Long Island Informer. He was then hired as associate editor (1923–25) of Negro World, the paper of Garvey’s Universal Negro Improvement Association, (UNIA). He subsequently became a protégé of the National Urban League’s director Charles S. Johnson.
Between 1925 and 1927 he was a contributor to, and business manager of, the Urban League’s Opportunity magazine, which had been founded in 1923 to help bring to prominence African American contributors to the arts and politics of the 1920s. He was also a contributor to The Smart Set, The New Republic and Vanity Fair and Negro World. Eric Derwent Walrond published his first short story called, “The Palm Porch” this poem goes into description about a Brothel in the Canal Zone, where a merciless plot to take over the land takes place. His short stories included “On Being Black” (1922), “On Being a Domestic” (1923), “Miss Kenny’s Marriage” (1923), “The Stone Rebounds” (1923), “Vignettes of the Dusk” (1924), “The Black City” (1924), and “City Love” (1927) – the year that Duke Ellington began his career in New York and the Harlem Globetrotters were founded. In two consecutive years (1928 and 1929), Walrond was awarded the Guggenheim Fellowship for Fiction.
After a decade in America, Walrond left for England. He died in August 1966, at the age of 67.