A triumphant day for ‘No Day of Triumph’

“In an event unprecedented in the South, a Negro last month won North Carolina’s Mayflower Cup, awarded annually by the North Carolina Society of Mayflower Descendants, for the best book by a resident of the State. This year’s winner is 37-year-old J. Saunders Redding, professor of English literature and creative writing at Virginia’s Hampton Institute [and former chairman of the English department at Elizabeth City State College].

” ‘No Day of Triumph’ [commissioned by the University of North Carolina with Rockefeller Foundation funds] is a study of Southern Negro life beginning with Redding’s own family background and finally based on a recent six-month tour of the South. ‘No Day’ scored over 29 competitors, including Betty Smith’s best-selling ‘A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.’ Previous cup-winners include Jonathan Daniels’  ‘A Southerner Discovers the South’ and Archibald Henderson’s ‘Bernard Shaw: Playboy and Prophet.’

“Son of a Wilmington, Del., mailman, Redding was educated (M.A., Ph.D.) at Brown University. In 1939 he published his first book, ‘To Make a Poet Black,’ a critical analysis of Negro poetry and verse.”

— From Time magazine, Jan. 3, 1944