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Jean Toomer (1894–1967) was a central figure in the Harlem Renaissance and is best known for his groundbreaking book, Cane. Ever extending his spiritual search, he studied with G. I. Gurdjieff in Chicago and later worked for the American Society of Friends and the Quaker Church in Pennsylvania. Charles Johnson teaches at the University of Washington and is the author of many books, including Middle Passage, for which he won a National Book Award. He lives in Seattle, Washington.