The Harlem Renaissance. The Beginning. During the early 1900s, the African-American middle class started a movement calling for racial equality.-
The Harlem Renaissance
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During the early 1900s, the African-American middle class started a movement calling for racial equality.-
In 1909 the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) was created to promote civil rights and fight African-American disenfranchisement.
Along with two other groups (Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) and National Urban League (NUL))
These African-American civil rights activists used artists and writers from their culture to achieve their goals of civil rights and equality.
The mainstream culture absorbed jazz music, African-American fine art, and black literature, bringing focus to a segregated part of American culture.
“This blossoming of African-American culture in European-American society, particularly in the worlds of art and music, became known as The Harlem Renaissance.”
Authors of The Harlem Renaissance
NUL published Opportunity: A Journal of Negro Life believing that art and literature could inspire African-Americans
Printed promising black writers in each issue
Jessie Fauset, Langston Hughes, Countee Cullen, Claude McKay, Jean Toomer
Aaron Douglas and Charles Ashton illustrated the cover art of the magazine
These artists used their fame as a chance to comment on the themes they found problematic to the American culture.
During “The Roaring 20s” Americans experienced an economic boom after WWI
The decade was known for its celebration of excess and its rejection of wartime frugality and conservation
Americans invested time and money leisure activities and artistic endevours
The Prohibition Act made obtaining alcohol difficult and speakeasies (liquor-serving nightclubs) became a place where Americans would socialize, drink alcohol, and rebel against the traditional culture
The Cotton Club in Harlem featured only African-American entertainers but only allowed white clientele (with few exceptions)
Looked and felt like an extravagant Southern plantation
Lena Horne, Duke Ellington, Cab Calloway – some of the most famous jazz performers of the time
Whites from NY attended club in Harlem to indulge in two taboos: drinking and mingling with blacks
As jazz hit the mainstream, the older generations associated the behavior of young people with the music.
The End of the Renaissance
As the 20s came to a close so did the whites’ infatuation with Harlem
The Great Depression also crushed “The Roaring 20s” ending the indulgence and decedance that fueled the upkeep of Harlem artists and their establishments
The depression cut off many blacks from the American dream that had seemed so close at hand.
White shop-owners and the black community had a strained relationship in Harlem and finally fell apart during the Harlem Riot of 1935, the nation’s first modern race riot.
Broke the truce between white and black America
Shattered the idea of Harlem as a “Mecca”
Changed the cultural landscape of America forever
"Harlem Renaissance - Black History Milestones on Biography.com." Biography.com. Web. 30 Jan. 2011. <http://www.biography.com/blackhistory/harlem-renaissance.jsp>.
Harlem by Langston Hughes
1. Select words or phrases from each stanza that suggest the speaker’s attitude. How is the attitude conveyed through your selection?
2. What is the tone of these lines? Cite evidence from the text to support your claims.
3. In one sentence, describe the message of the poem.