The Harlem Renaissance 97-03Presentation Transcript
The Harlem Renaissance 1919-1929
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.
1930 1911 1920
Who made up the Harlem Renaissance?
In the early 1920s, African American artists, writers, musicians, and performers were part of a great cultural movement known as the Harlem Renaissance.
Doctors, singers, students, musicians, shopkeepers, painters, and writers, congregated, forming a vibrant mecca of cultural affirmation and inspiration.
The huge migration to the North after World War I, known as “The Great Migration” brought African Americans of all ages and walks of life to the thriving New York City neighborhood called Harlem.
the use of folk material,
the use of the blues tradition,
the problems of writing for an elite audience.
The Harlem Renaissance was more than just a literary movement: it included racial consciousness, "the back to Africa" movement led by Marcus Garvey, racial integration, the explosion of music particularly jazz, spirituals and blues, painting, dramatic revues, and others.
Harlem Renaissance brought the Black experience clearly within the general American cultural history.
The Black migration, from south to north, changed their cultural image from rural to urban, from peasant to sophisticate.
Harlem became a crossroads where Blacks interacted with and expanded their contacts internationally.
The Harlem Renaissance profited from a spirit of self-determination which was widespread after W.W.I.
2. The Harlem Renaissance had a huge significance in American culture at the time.
a. It became a symbol and a point of reference for everyone to recall.
b. The name, more than the place, became synonymous with new vitality and Black urbanity.
c. It became a racial focal point for Blacks the world over; it remained for a time, a race capital.
d. It stood for unity; Alain Locke wrote: "The peasant, the student, the businessman, the professional man, artist, poet, musician, adventurer and worker, preacher and criminal, exploiter and social outcast, each group has come with its own special motives ... but their greatest experience has been the finding of one another."
Some Important Historical Figures of The Harlem Renaissance
Langston Hughes – Poet
Zora Neale Hurston – Writer
Marcus Garvey - Activist
Duke Ellington – Composer/Musician
Langston Hughes 1902-1967 Langston Hughes wrote, “ Harlem was in vogue.” Black painters and sculptors joined their fellow poets, novelists, actors, and musicians in a creative outpouring that established Harlem as the international capital of Black culture.
Hughes was an American poet, playwright, and writer. He was one of the earliest innovators of “Jazz Poetry”. Jazz Poetry set his poetry apart from that of other writers, and it allowed him to experiment with a very rhythmic free verse.
Zora Neale Hurston 1891-1960 American writer Zora Neale Hurston was remarkable in that she was the most widely published black woman of her day. She authored more than fifty articles and short stories as well as four novels, two books on folklore, an autobiography, and a number of plays. At the height of her success she was known as the “Queen of the Harlem Renaissance.”
A Jamican born immigrant and social activist, Marcus Garvey is credited with spearheading the “Back to Africa” movement. Garvey created the UNIA (Universal Negro Improvement Association) and advocated that African Americans should move back to Africa to “redeem” it, and that the European colonial powers should leave it. He advocated a worldwide African culture and is credited with inspiring the Rastafari Movement and the Nation of Islam.
Duke Ellington 1899-1974 Duke Ellington brought a level of style and sophistication to Jazz that it hadn't seen before. By the time of his passing, he was (and still is) considered amongst the world’s greatest composers and musicians .
Art of the Harlem Renaissance
Street Life, Harlem , by William H. Johnson
Jeunesse by Palmer Hayden
The visual art of the Harlem Renaissance was an attempt at developing a new African-American aesthetic in the fine arts. Thematic content included Africa as a source of inspiration, African-American history, folk idioms, and social injustice. Believing that their life experiences were valuable sources of material for their art, these artists created an iconography of the Harlem Renaissance era.
Henry Ossawa Tanner The Banjo Lesson, 1893 Painter Henry Tanner wanted to show a positive image of the African-American by highlighting the sense of dignity which is shown here in the touching moment of the elder teaching the boy how to play the banjo. Tanner also chose the banjo because of its African origin and its being the most popular musical instrument used by the slaves in early America
Window Cleaning, 1935 “ I refuse to compromise and see blacks as anything less than a proud and majestic people.” Aaron Douglas 1898-1979
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
“ Street-life Harlem” is another example
Palmer Hayden, The Janitor Who Paints, 1937 In this symbolic self-portrait artist Palmer Hayden is at work in his basement studio, surrounded by the tools of his dual professions, a palette, brushes and easel, and a garbage can, broom, and feather duster. The painter’s studio is also his bedroom, and his bed, night table, alarm clock, and a framed picture of a cat are seen in the background.
Palmer Hayden , The Blue Nile, 1964
Gwathmey was raised in Virginia, but it was not until his return to the South after years of art schooling in New York that he began to empathize with the African-American experience. He commented, “If I had never gone back home, perhaps I would never have painted the Negro.” Robert Gwathmey 1903-1988 Custodian, 1963
Harlem: Dream Deferred
What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore –
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over –
like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.
Or does it explode?
- Langston Hughes
Directions: Please go to mrhousepian.com, reread the poem Harlem: Dream Deferred and click on “Start Discussion” at the bottom of the post. Please leave a short response that explains what you think this poem is about and why. Being that it is a poem, there is no right or wrong answer, just your own opinion.