So that our precious blood may not be shed In In vain then even the monsters we defy
Shall be constrained to honor us though dead!
Oh, Kinsmen! We must meet the common foe;
Though far outnumbered, let us show us brave,
And for their thousand blows deal one death-blow!
What though before us lies the open grave?
Like men we’ll face the murderous, cowardly pack,
Pressed to the wall, dying, but—fighting back!
During this period, African Americans were subjected to random racial violence and lynching. McKay’s defiant poem reflected the resolve of African Americans to defend themselves. (“If we must die, O let us nobly die, so that our precious blood may not be shed.") If We Must Die reflects similar sentiments; but it also indicates a will to fight for honor, liberty and democracy, even if the cost is death. (“Shall be constrained to honor us though dead!”) For those African Americans supportive of the U.S. in wartime, If We Must Die , can be seen as an expression of loyalty and patriotism. On the opposite side, are those African Americans who are also willing to risk their lives, but for the purposes of speaking out against the U.S. war effort, even at the risk of persecution or death.
I pick up my life And take it away On a one-way ticket - Gone up North… - Langston Hughes
The island of Manhattan New York City is on Manhattan island Neighborhoods WHERE IS THE HARLEM
Mets Lose Here!! Yankees Buy Pennant Here!! Can you see any evidence from this map that this is an African American community? Giants Stink Here! Harlem, a neighborhood in New York City, was the center of the African American political, cultural, and artistic movement in the 1920s and early 1930s.
During the Harlem Renaissance Centered in the Harlem district of New York City, the New Negro Movement (as it was called at the time) had a profound influence across the United States and even around the world.
The visual art of the Harlem Renaissance was an attempt at developing a new African-American aesthetic in the fine arts. Believing that their life experiences were valuable sources of material for their art, these artists created an iconography of the Harlem Renaissance era .
TSW #1 Development of values and beliefs in African-American artists are reclaiming their ancestral heritage as a means of strengthening their own expression and continuing to participate in mainstream traditions while also proclaiming their own heritage in their art Black .
TSW #3 Harlem Renaissance developed due to the development of African-American urban migration. African Americans began their migration north and to the west following the Civil War. This movement redefined African American expression in Literature. They were encouraged to be happy with who they were and not hide from the fact that they were black. This literary movement began towards the end of the World War 1, flourished in the 1920's, but in the 1930's began to dwindle. The movement of Harlem Renaissance also came from the move of unconventional African American intellects. Culturally the African Americans developed a "Black" Middle class. The economy in the south had not completely recovered from the Civil War. The African Americans looking for a better future migrated. There were great opportunities in the north due to industrial jobs. Black historians and black nationalists stimulated pride in blacks. The Literary movement developed as a result in the change of society for the African American people. After the Civil War they migrated to the north where they had found refuge with northern abolitionist during the war. They also migrated to the west where many people had sought new beginnings. Along with this migration a new type of literature was developed. Although the literature from this movement varied in topic, the general or common theme was race. The movement developed due to the interest people showed in the lives and experiences of African Americans.
The term modernism refers to an experimental form of music writing art, and architecture. Modernism was a result of the rebellion against romanticism and other writing eras. The modernist believed that things were “outdated” and there needed to be a move to more modern thinking. This was not only seen in writing, but also in the art, music, and architecture of the time. It was the idea of the true modernist to discredit religion. The modernist wanted to contradict or challenge everything that society had come to know. It was at this point that the values began to change from traditional to values that are more modern.
Katherine Anne Porter- The Jilting of Granny Weatherall. This was a woman nearing the end her life. She goes back in her mind to the time she was left at alter and how her life was changed after that and how that one incident changed the outcome of her life. “For a second time there was no sign. Again no bridegroom and the priest in the house. She could not remember any other sorrow because this grief wiped them all away. Oh, no, there’s nothing crueler than this – I’ll never forgive it. She stretched herself with a deep breath and blew out the light.”
TSW #7 Fredrick Douglass and Zora Hurston both are African Americans, but living in different times. They both brought to us personal experiences that help us to understand to some extent what it was like to be black. A slave narrative tells tales of torment. They tell of the abuse that each of the slaves suffered, also the struggle of everyday life, being separated from families. The Authors of slave narratives drew from their life experiences. Harlem Renaissance writers wrote of overcoming their adversities. In a work of Harlem Renaissance by Zora Hurston, She tells of her life growing up in Eatonville, Florida. She had seen white people as they had passed through her town, but to her that was the only difference. Than at the age of thirteen she was sent to a school in Jacksonville. For the first time in her life she was not Zora, but she was "The little colored girl." She began to see the differences in the way that black people were treated. The Slave narrative and the Harlem Renaissance movements were similar in many ways. They both were written by authors of the African American race. They both told of the experiences that African Americans deal with in everyday life. They are different in that the slave Narrative was written before the Civil War. The Harlem Renaissance was written as result of. The slave narrative was written in their fight for freedom. The Harlem Renaissance looked to future and did not dwell on the past. They knew where they came from and where they wanted to go.
TSW #7 FREDRICK DOUGLAS : Narrative of the Life of Fredrick Douglas Slave narratives provided the most powerful voices contradicting slave owners. These narratives demonstrate the knowledge and literary skills that slaves possessed in spite of their lack of schooling. The narratives told of the sadness and horror of families being separated and sexual abuse of the women and girls. “I have observed this in my experience of slavery, that whenever my condition was improved, instead of increasing my contentment, it only increased my desire to be free, and set me to thinking of plans to gain my freedom. I have found that, to make a contented slave, it is necessary to make a thoughtless one.” Zora Hurston How it Feels to be Colored Me “ In my heart as well as in the mirror, I became a fast brown-warranted not to rub or run,” this quotes means that although sometimes she might feel discriminated, she never feels angry because she remarks that "...I am not tragically colored. There is no great sorrow dammed up in my soul, nor lurking behind my eyes...I do not belong to the sobbing school of neighborhood who hold that nature somehow has given them a lowdown dirty deal and whose feelings are hurt about it…..No, I do not weep at the world, I am busy sharpening my oyster knife.” I also love how she always keeps her sense of humor and her level of self esteem, "Sometimes I feel discriminated against, but it does not make me angry. It merely astonishes me. How can any deny themselves the pleasure of my company?”
Johnson arrived in Harlem when the Renaissance was in the making. While there he created several paintings that dealt with political and social Harlem. Chain Gang is one example. William H. Johnson 1901-1970 Chain Gang. 1939
William H. Johnson Swing Low, Sweet Chariot 1939 Johnson always showed great devotion to painting themes that celebrated Black Christianity. This painting is an example of one based on a literal interpretation of a spiritual occasion.
Aaron Douglas was a very influential artist throughout the Harlem Renaissance. He created many paintings, portraits and murals that depicted the history of African Americans from their foundations in Africa to their growth in America. Into Bondage Right: Song of the Tower
Study for Aspects of Negro Life: The Negro in an African Setting, 1934 This painting is a scene of dancers surrounded by onlookers and drummers. This painting is seen as one of Douglas’ better interpretive paintings because he had never been to Africa.
“ Barbeque” Oil on canvas 1934 The people in “Barbeque” do not have distinct features. Motley makes the painting’s main idea black people who were like everyone else, moving on and enjoying life. One does not get a sense of oppression, but then realizes that there are no white people in the painting, either.
This painting has a “full of motion” look to it. “Barbeque”, although not perfectly symmetrically balanced, appears visually balanced by the strategic placement of the color yellow, which balances the black suits.
Being that yellow, red and blue paints are primarily used, I would say the color scheme is primary, with a lot of black. Motley put his “signature blue” in almost every painting he painted.
There was not one literary style that completely identified the Harlem Renaissance period. The writers of this period were motivated by their African American heritance. It was important for them for others to understand what the group of people went through. The themes that were consistent in the Harlem renaissance literary movement was the constant search for equality. The issue of pride in their heritance was also present. An example of this is the work by Zora Neale Hurston “How it feels to be Colored Me.” “I remember the very day that I became colored,” Zora Hurston stated. She lived in a town exclusively black. It was not until she left the town she lived in that she realized to others there was a difference between the Negro race and everyone else.
Other themes that are evident in Harlem Renaissance are Alienation, the movement of blacks to urban areas; the rise of African American intellectualism people began to see the intelligence of African Americans. America started to take notice of the growth of African American writers. One of the writers of the Harlem renaissance period is Langston Hughes. An example of his work is “I too, Sing America.” He wants his audience to know what it was like being black in America. He is trying to teach a lesson in showing people what life was like for him. It was a lesson so people could see what happens when one race dominates another. He talks about “being able to eat in the kitchen” when no one else was around.
The themes or characteristics of Modernism are the sense of being alone, alienation, breaking down of society’s ideas of what is considered a good person and disillusionment with society. These themes are consistent in the story of Huckleberry Finn. Both Huck and Jim feel like outcast where they are. They are alone trying to find their way in life. The irony is the people that were trying so hard to civilize Huck today would be considered uncivilized people.
Another characteristic of modernism is a sense of frustration. I believe that Huck was very frustrated living in the times he lived. He wanted to be a good person, and tried to make the right choices, but was not even sure what was “right.” After all who decides what is right and wrong. There is that gray area between black and white where there are many things ideas, decisions to be made. Is it wrong to lie when you are trying to help someone? Is it ever ok to lie? Is it right for society to condemn someone for trying to help someone else even if society figures a person does not deserve it? These are all questions that Huck struggled with as he made his way down the Mississippi with Jim. A great example of this is a scene where Huck is forced to decide whether or not to turn Jim in.
The Renaissance was more than a literary or artistic movement; it possessed a certain sociological development— particularly through a new racial consciousness—and an awareness of one's identity which provided a unique critique of the social ramifications of this racial consciousness.
“ Black life from the perspective of Black artists.”