The Incredible Legacy of Newark’s Black Women Activists

Harlem Renaissance Writer Brenda Ray Moryck and a New Jersey Community’s Untold Century of Intellectualism and Artistry

In 1927, Brenda Ray Moryck, a 32-year-old Black American woman from Newark, New Jersey, published a manifesto in Ebony and Topaz, a prominent Harlem Renaissance anthology of prose and poetry.

In the work, titled I, Moryck, a graduate of the predominantly white women’s college Wellesley, writes that though she has suffered from racial discrimination, she finds “honey as well as hemlock in the cup of every Negro, sunlight as well as shadow.”

The piece conveys a profound sense of mission—even a calling—to help others: “But as a woman, what did …