Jessie Redmon Fauset (April 27, 1882 – April 30, 1961) is the author of four novels: There is Confusion (1924), Plum Bun (1928), The Chinaberry Tree (1931), and Comedy, American Style (1933). She also wrote poems and essays, and worked as an educator. Fauset was born in New Jersey and raised in Philadelphia. In grade school, she was frequently the only African American student in her classes. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Cornell University, then, while teaching full time in the DC Public Schools, she earned a master’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania.
Fauset taught French and Latin at M Street High School in Washington, DC from 1907 through 1919, after which time she moved to New York to become literary editor of The Crisis, the official publication of the NAACP. In that position, from 1919 through 1926, she mentored several younger writers, such as Claude McKay, Countee Cullen, Arna Bontemps, Nella Larsen, and Langston Hughes. In her prominent position, she influenced top African American leaders to support the important role the arts could play in what was then called “racial uplift.” Fauset was a guiding spirit for the Harlem Renaissance and for literary modernism in general.
Fauset returned to teaching in 1926, and married Herbert Harris, an insurance broker, at age 47.