Marita Bonner

Harlem Renaissance Writer

Marita Bonner Facts

Known for: Harlem Renaissance writer
Occupation: writer, teacher
Dates: June 16, 1898 - December 6, 1971
Also known as: Marita Occomy, Marita Odette Bonner, Marita Odette Bonner Occomy, Marita Bonner Occomy, Joseph Maree Andrew

Marita Bonner Biography

Educated in Brookline, Massachusetts, public schools and Radcliffe College, Marita Bonner published short stories and essays from 1924 to 1941 in Opportunity, The Crisis, Black Life and other magazines, sometimes under the pseudonym "Joseph Maree Andrew." Her 1925 essay in Crisis, "On Being Young, A Woman and Colored" which deals with racism and sexism and poverty, is an example of her social commentary. She also wrote several plays.

Bonner's writing dealt with issues of race, gender and class, as her characters struggled to develop more fully in the face of social limitations, highlighting especially the vulnerability of black women.

She married William Almy Occomy in 1930 and moved to Chicago where they raised three children and where she also taught school. She published as Marita Bonner Occomy after her marriage. Her Frye Street stories were set in Chicago.

Marita Bonner Occomy did not publish any more after 1941, when she joined the Christian Science Church. Six new stories were found in her notebooks after she died in 1971, although the dates indicated she'd written them before 1941. A collection of her work was published in 1987 as Frye Street and Environs: The Collected Works of Marita Bonner.

Marita Bonner Occomy died in 1971 of complications of injuries sustained in a fire in her home.