Mainly known today as the author of Porgy, Heyward was a versatile artist equally at ease with verse, short fiction, novels, plays, and Hollywood screenwriting. He and his wife Dorothy helped to energize the nascent black theater movement in New York. A cofounder of the Poetry Society of South Caroline, the first regional poetry circle in America, Heyward became a vigorous promoter of southern writing that was to peak in the great southern literary renaissance. Pulled by tradition into a way of life he did not completely accept, he developed a growing social conscience through writing. He began as a social conservative but ended his life as a staunch progressive committed to the advancement of African Americans.