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The harlem renaissance

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A brief introduction to the context and themes of the Harlem Renaissance.

A brief introduction to the context and themes of the Harlem Renaissance.

Published in: Education, News & Politics

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  • 1. The Harlem Renaissance
  • 2. Harlem Wine by Countee Cullen
    This is not water running here,
    These thick rebellious streams
    That hurtle flesh and bone past fear
    Down alleyways of dreams.
    This is a wine that must flow on
    Not caring how or where,
    So it has ways to flow upon
    Where song is in the air.
    So it can woo an artful flute
    With loose, elastic lips,
    Its measurement of joy compute
    With blithe, ecstatic hips.
    Blithe: Joyful indifference
  • 3. Roots of the Harlem Renaissance
    The Harlem Renaissance occurred between the years 1920 and 1934.
    The Great Migration: 2 million African Americans fled the South, many landing in New York City and Chicago.
    Cheap and affordable housing led to the first boom of African American land owners in the country’s history.
  • 4. Harlem: At the Crossroads
    Harlem: gateway for immigrants into NYC.
    Black Americans from a wide variety of backgrounds:
    A common experience versus common heritage.
    The move from the South to North, from rural to urban led to a national, rather than local, political consciousness in the black community.
    Identity: Rural and urban, light skin and dark, male and female, gay and straight.
  • 5. Culture of Revolution and Rebellion
    Race and Identity
    The New Negro
    Politics, Patriotism, Nationalism and Pan Africanism
    W.E.B. Dubois
    Booker T. Washington
    Marcus Garvey
    369th Regiment marches up 5th Avenue, New York upon return from France, end of World War I.
  • 6. Civil Rights through Copyrights
    Harlem artists’ work symbolized struggles of black identity, race consciousness, race, gender and social inequalities, and American injustice.
    A renaissance of the arts:
    Literature
    Poetry
    Music
    Theater
    Art
    Important contributors to the Harlem Renaissance: (L-R) Countee Cullen and Alice Dunbar-Nelson, Angelina Weld Grimké and Langston Hughes, Alain Locke and Claude McKay, Wallace Thurman and Carl Van Vechten.
  • 7. James Weldon Johnson 1871-1938
    Early civil rights activist.
    One of the first African American professors at New York University, later at Fisk University.
    Wrote poetry, novels, song, and essays.
    Served as a journalist, a diplomat, and the first black secretary of the NAACP from 1920-1930.
  • 8. James Weldon Johnson’s Black Manhattan
    What were some of the conditions that made it possible for Harlem to become an epicenter of black life and culture in the years leading up to the Harlem Renaissance?
    What role did whites play in the integration of blacks into Harlem neighborhoods? How did whites react in other city centers with rising African American populations?
    How was the influx of black home owners in Harlem different than it was in other cities?

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