Jean-Christophe Cloutier, a Ph.D. student in English at Columbia University serves as an intern in the university’s Rare Book and Manuscript Library. When Cloutier was cataloging the archives of author Samuel Roth, he came across a black binder that included a manuscript by Claude McKay, the noted writer of the Harlem Renaissance. The manuscript was titled, Amiable With Big Teeth: A Novel of the Love Affair Between the Communists and the Poor Black Sheep of Harlem.
Elsewhere in the Roth archive was correspondence between McKay and Roth referring to a ghostwriting project. Notes written on the manuscript are consistent with other writing by McKay. And a search of the archives of the E.P Dutton archive at Syracuse University revealed that McKay had been given several advances on a project called God’s Black Sheep, a title that is similar to that of the newly found manuscript.
Cloutier and Brent Edwards, a professor of English and comparative literature at Columbia, are writing an introduction to accompany the publication of the new McKay novel.