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New Paver at the Museum of Danish America

An abbreviated (35 minutes) version of the Brown Bag Lunch Presentation on Harlem Renaissance Danish African American author, Nella Larsen will be made at the Des Moines Danish Brotherhood meeting on June 10, 2024 at 7 p.m. Location:


Lykke Center

Luther Memorial Church

1201 Grandview Avenue

Des Moines, IA


Photo by Ben Pinchot, Yale Collection of American Literature

Brown Bag Lunch Presentation at the Museum of Danish America

Elk Horn, Iowa

March 21, 2024, 12 pm


Nella Larsen (1891-1964) was the daughter of immigrants from Denmark and the Danish West Indies. Her novels, short stories and Danish children's games and rhymes made her a significant figure in the Harlem Renaissance (ca. 1918-mid 1930s) also known at the time as the New Negro Movement and considered to be the rebirth of African American literature, art, music, dance, fashion, politics and scholarship. She lived in Denmark as a child, for about a year, long enough to learn Danish, and as adult for another three years, attending the University of Copenhagen. She also worked as a librarian and a nurse.


The presentation about her life and literary works will include references to the Danish children's games, which constituted her first published work, and discussion and readings of brief exerpts from her two novels, Quicksand and Passing, which deal in different ways with the lack of belonging faced by people of mixed race in the early twentieth century.


The presentation is now available on the museum's YouTube Channel at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=frn5AFOGMkg