The Birthplace Harlem, a district withinNew York City was themost popular city, AfricanAmericans migrated tooafter the civil war andduring the economichardships following theU.S’s involvement in WW1. Harlem originally housedupper-class middle classwhites. Civil rights leaderJames Weldon Johnsonclaimed Harlem was the“Negro capital of theworld”.
The Concept African Americans or “Blacks” would showcase theirtalents, intellect and progress in the arts and politics inorder to obtain more civil rights. Civil right activist James Weldon Johnson proposed thatin order to establish new vernacular forms and a newvoice of political expression, the stereotypes had to bebroken and separated from the Black race. The vernacular of sermons and slave songs weren’t theonly forms of expression in literature. New forms ofdiction, dialect and expression were made in many newart forms including poetry, song, theatre, literature andmusic.
The Concept In combining many cultures of African decentincluding “Blacks” of the West Indies, Africa and theCaribbean there was a reconnection with Africanroots/heritage. As a result, new vernacular and forms of pure“Black” expression were made. (The goal was toexempt white influence or traces of it’s references)
Worldwide Not only was this newfound racial movement of thearts occurring in Harlem or even the U.S but also inother parts of the world such as the “West Indies”. This movement was referred to as “Negritude”. Activist Johnson among other scholars utilized theinfluence and success of other racial movementssuch as the Irish movement in Britain to fuse thenationalist pride of the Black American population.
James Weldon Johnson Activist Intellectual Challenged Black artistsand writers to change theforms of expression to be“African American” Recognized colorism withinracism.
Theatre Ridgley Torrance wrote ThreePlays for a NegroTheatre, Torrance challengedthe minstrel shows of AmericanVaudeville that wassimultaneously showcasing upuntil the 1930s. James Weldon Johnson tobe, “The most important singleevent in the entire history of theNegro in the American theater.
Theatre Racial awareness andseparation between realityand the stereotype wasTorrance’s goal andmessage throughout hisplays. Mulatto was a play writtenby Langston Hughes andperformed in 1935.
Music Luis Armstrong Duke Ellington Billie Holiday Ella Fitzgerald
The Cotton Club Opened in the 1920s on 142nd Street and LenoxStreet. Originally segregated however, Duke Ellington, BillieHoliday and Ella Fitzgerald made their appearances. On the most renowned Jazz Clubs
Duke Ellington Edward Kennedy Ellington Arguably the most influential blackmusician and bandleader in 20thcentury Appeared in movies Music praised by both black and whitemusic critics Consider the first to successfullyexploit the 3 minute music format for78 rpm discs. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qDQpZT3GhDg
Achievements The Harlem Renaissance left an imprint on the Blackculture and the foreshadow before the civil rightsmovement of 1940-1950. In addition many organizations and corporations forsupporting the Black arts and politics were createdand still remain such as the National Association forthe advancement of colored people (NAACP)