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Harlem Renaissance

1919-1948
WHAT IS THE HARLEM
RENAISSANCE?
It was a time of great
development of art,
literature, music and
culture in the African-
American Community.
It is also known as the
New Negro
Movement.
Where Is Harlem?

HARLEM, NEW YORK


What led to the
Harlem Renaissance?
From 1910 to 1930, They migrated to
African-Americans urban centers like
left their southern New York, Chicago,
homes. Racism and Detroit, and
lack of economic Cleveland.
opportunities led
them to leave the
South. They were
searching for better
lives.
The Artists from the
Harlem Renaissance ERA
Aaron Douglass
(May 26, 1899 February 3, 1979)
The Artists from the
Harlem Renaissance ERA
Augusta Savage
(February 29, 1892 March 26, 1962)

"Lift Every Voice and


Sing."
Gamin.
The Artists from the
Harlem Renaissance ERA
Palmer C. Hayden

(January 15, 1890 February 18, 1973)

The Baptism Midsummer Night In Harlem


The Artists from the
Harlem Renaissance ERA
Lois Mailou Jones

(November 3, 1905 June 9, 1998)

Les Fetiches
The Ascent of Ethiopia
The Artists from the
Harlem Renaissance ERA
William Henry Johnson
(March 18, 19011970)

I Baptize Thee
Portrait of boy
Moon over Harlem
The Artists from the
Harlem Renaissance ERA
Jacob Lawrence
(September 7, 1917 June 9, 2000)

The Great Migration Series


The Artists from the
Harlem Renaissance ERA
Archibald John Motley, Junior
(October 7, 1891 January 16, 1981)

Cocktails

Black Belt
Mending Socks The Artist's Grandmother
The Harlem Renaissance Literary
movement
Started from a demographic movement called
the Great Migration
Consisted of Millions of black farmers moving
to communities in the Urban North.
They wanted to escape oppression and racism
while searching for economic opportunities.
Many of them settled in Harlem a racially
diverse district of New York City.
Africans relied on a mixture between their
heritage and their newfound experiences in the
urban world to create a new form of expressive
art.
Africans worked together to abandon their
traditional identity in favor of a new artistic
identity.
Renaissance means rebirth and the Harlem
Renaissance was how many blacks transitioned
from victims of the past to free thinkers.
Themes of the Harlem
Renaissance
There are generally three themes of the Harlem
Renaissance
1. The experience of blacks/ racial relations in
America
2. Criticism of aspects of society (racial
inequality, society, religion, institutions, etc)
3. Working towards the future.
Group Questions
1. How do you think people in this group
viewed the future? Why do you think they had
this perspective
2. What do you think blacks experienced when
they lived in the American south? In what ways
was this different from the north? What led to
this relationship?
3. How do you feel these renaissance writers
viewed society? What do you think they thought
about religion and Christianity in particular?
Langston Hughes backstory
The music and dance and intellectual life of
Harlem, inspired Langston more than his classes
in mining engineering, and eventually he quit
college. Meanwhile he sent poems to The Crisis.

Having difficulty finding work, Hughes, twenty-


one years old, joined the crew of a ship sailing
for Africa. Eventually he traveled through Italy,
Holland, Spain, and France, writing all the while.
Finally he returned to New York, and felt as
though he had returned home.

A prolific writerhe began by writing poetry


he also wrote novels, short stories, essays,
articles, and plays.
Race was at the center of Hughes
worksthe beauty, dignity, and
heritage of African Americans.
Langston Hughes attempted to speak
to all Americansespecially on the
issues of social, economic, and
political justice.
I, Too
I, Too, Sing America

Too means also, in this case he is


alluding/responding to Walt Whitmans poem
I Hear America Singing
When we hear the word sing we think of a song
but in this case it sing should be thought of as
to praise
2nd stanza
Darker brother refers to the speakers black
skin. It is important to notice that he calls non-
blacks his brothers. Here he acknowledges racial
differences without saying race separates people.
They Send me to eat in the kitchen/ when
company comes
Here Hughes describes the inequality that exists
in society.
Who is they in this line? What type of role is the
speaker suggesting he does? What is he saying is
the social status of black people at this time?
But I laugh/ And eat well/ And grow strong
The speaker responds to this treatment with
determination and acceptance. He does not
allow the inequality to control his life
Tomorrow,/ Ill be at the table/ When company
comes.
Would you describe this perspective of the
future as positive or negative?
How do you think the speaker expects to
achieve his dream of sitting at the table?
Nobodyll dare/ Say to me,/ Eat in the
Kitchen,/Then
The line nobodyll dare implies fear or
overpowering. This is not negative or violent
but it suggests the way to eliminate inequality is
through the empowerment of the black
community.
Ending with the word then shows how
focused the narrator is on the equality that will
exist in the future.
Besides,/ Theyll see how beautiful I am/ And
be ashamed-
The poem ends with a reflection on himself that
changes the tone of the previous stanza. The
first stanza focuses on the problems of the
present. The second focuses on what will be
great in the future. And the third stanza removes
the speaker from the unjust world around him.
Earlier the speaker says Nobodyll dare yet in
the final stanza he becomes less aggressive and
more romantic.
He believes that the people that mistreated
African Americans will feel ashamed in the
future for how badly they treated black people in
the past.
Do you think this actually happened?
Questions
1. Is the poems vision of the future/ racial
relations a positive one?
2. Why do you think Hughes created the poem?
Who do you think was his ideal audience for the
poem?
3. Who is the speaker in the poem supposed to
be? Who is he speaking to?
4. Do you think the speakers vision is
something that has been attained or is attainable
in the future?