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James Smethurst

Ann Lane Petry was born and raised in the predominantly white, middle-class community of Saybrook, Connecticut. The daughter of a pharmacist, she worked in her father's drugstore as a teenager and went on to major in pharmacology at the University of Connecticut. After graduating, she worked at and managed the family drugstore in Old Saybrook. Her pharmacological endeavors notwithstanding, Petry wrote short stories while working, none of which have been published. After marrying George Petry, a mystery writer, in 1939, she moved to New York City and dropped pharmacy altogether, choosing instead to develop her career as a writer.

Her first job in New York was at a Harlem newspaper, the Amsterdam News, where she worked for four years. Petry moved on to The Peoples Voice where she wrote a column on Harlem society in the women s section of the paper Her first published work ...

Article

Anne M. Heutsche

Ann Lane Petry was the first African American woman to write a best-selling novel, one that eventually sold more than two million copies. The Street, first published in 1946, demonstrates the power of Petry’s vivid characters and realistic portrayal of life in Harlem in the 1940s. Throughout her life, Petry explored the humanity of individuals through her novels, essays, poetry, and children’s stories.

Ann Lane was born in Old Saybrook, Connecticut. The Lane family was one of a handful of African American families in this small New England town. Her father, Peter C. Lane was one of the first registered African American pharmacists in Connecticut and the only one in Old Saybrook Lane came from a long line of pharmacists her grandfather was a chemist and an aunt and uncle both pharmacists helped her father run the family owned pharmacy In spite of several racist threats ...