Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Editions can help.
Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Editions can help.

Harlem Shadows Summary & Analysis
by Claude McKay

Question about this poem?
Have a question about this poem?
Have a specific question about this poem?
Have a specific question about this poem?
Have a specific question about this poem?
A LitCharts expert can help.
A LitCharts expert can help.
A LitCharts expert can help.
A LitCharts expert can help.
A LitCharts expert can help.
Ask us
Ask us
Ask a question
Ask a question
Ask a question

Claude McKay published "Harlem Shadows" in 1922. The poem appeared in McKay's collection of the same name, which was one of the first influential books of poetry published during the Harlem Renaissance. Written in iambic pentameter and following a strict rhyme scheme, the poem centers around a group of young Black women who make money as sex workers in Harlem. The speaker doesn't cast any judgment on the sex workers themselves, instead implying that racism and poverty has "pushed" these young Black women into such work out of necessity.

Get
Get
LitCharts
Get the entire guide to “Harlem Shadows” as a printable PDF.
Download