Knock Me a Kiss is a fictional account inspired by the actual events surrounding the 1928 marriage of W.E.B. Du Bois' daughter Yolande to one of Harlem's great poets, Countee Cullen. The marriage marked the height of the Harlem Renaissance and was viewed as the perfect union of Negro talent and beauty. It united the daughter of America's foremost black intellectual, co-founder of the NAACP and publisher of Crisis Magazine, with a poet whose work was considered to be one of the flagships for the New Negro movement. The play opens as jazz bandleader, Jimmy Lunceford, continues his pursuit of a willing but apprehensive Yolande. She demurs, insisting that she and Jimmy be married in a manner consistent with her stature. Meanwhile, Du Bois tries to convince Cullen to take a wife of great breeding, stature and education. When Countee realizes that Yolande possesses all of the attributes outlined by the elder Du Bois, he sets out to win her affection. When Yolande is forced to choose between her passion for Jimmy and marrying Countee, her devotion to her father overwhelms her heart. The marriage is a triumph of pomp and pageantry but fails to be a union of man and woman. Eventually Countee goes to Paris with his close friend Harold Jackman, and Yolande returns to Jimmy only to find that she is no longer wanted.
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