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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 ...