This introductory chapter sets out the book's main themes. The book argues that writers and artists turned to the theme of migration to bolster the alliance between African Americans and the Popular Front. Depicting migrants as emblems of “the people,” the writers and artists studied here participated in the populist fervor of the late 1930s, while continuing to advance an anticapitalist and antiracist agenda. The book focuses on lesser-known writers and artists whose work speaks to the uneasy melding of class- and race-based politics from the onset of the Popular Front in 1935 until the start of the Cold War in the late 1940s. An overview of the subsequent chapters is also presented.
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