Carl Van Vechten is as controversial a figure now as he was in the 1920s: beloved by Langston Hughes, Nella Larsen, and Zora Neale Hurston; hated by W.E.B. Du Bois, Countee Cullen, and Alain Locke. That Locke would clash with Van Vechten is, perhaps, to be expected—the so-called "Father of the Harlem Renaissance" and the so-called "Patron of the Harlem Renaissance" were bound to come to rhetorical blows. Perhaps, as Du Bois and Locke complained, Van Vechten bleached the black experience in his attempt to present it to the rest of America. I don't feel like rehashing those debates right now.
Why not discuss instead his work, like the best cat book ever written (and the only one to be cited in my dissertation), The Tiger in the House (1922). A representative sentence:
You'd be hard-pressed to find a more exemplary weaving of ailurophilia and intellectual labor than that. But I'm not even interested in discussing his written today. Today, I want to show you a few shots from the veritable Yearbook of American Literature he produced.