The Harlem Renaissance. Palmer Hayden: Midsummer Night in Harlem , 1936. Oil on canvas. Harlem Renaissance.
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The Harlem Renaissance Palmer Hayden: Midsummer Night in Harlem, 1936. Oil on canvas.
Harlem Renaissance • Harlem Renaissance is the name given to the period from the end of World War I and through the middle of the 1930s Depression, during which a group of talented African-American writers, thinkers and artists produced a sizable contribution to American culture. • The Harlem Renaissance helped to redefine how Americans and the world understood African American culture. It integrated black and white cultures, and marked the beginning of a black urban society. • The Harlem Renaissance set the stage for the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 60s.
SOUTHERN BLACKS AND THE LURE OF THE NORTH BEFORE AND AFTER 1914 • There were plenty of reasons for blacks to leave the south, but little economic advantage to moving northward. • With outbreak of World War I, this dynamic changes because: • war generates new opportunities for industry • End result: The Great Migration assembled black populations in northern cities like Chicago and New York in unprecedented numbers. The concentration, in New York city, occurred on the upper west side, in Harlem.
Growing African American Middle Class • A growing African American middle class developed as a result of improved educational and employment opportunities for African Americans.
Important Features of the Harlem Renaissance • No common literary style or political ideology defined the Harlem Renaissance. What united the participants was the sense of taking part in a common endeavor and their commitment to giving artistic expression to the African American experience. • There was an interest in the roots of the twentieth-century African American experience in Africa and the American South was one such theme. • It encouraged a new appreciation for folk tradition and primitivism. • Common themes begin to emerge: alienation, marginality, 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.
Modernism & the Harlem Renaissance • Blacks view the surge in art, music and literature as the creation of a new cultural identity. • Whites see it as another new, exotic, and trendy form of entertainment.
Music of the Harlem Renaissance • Bessie Smith • Duke Ellington • Louis Armstrong • Cab Calloway
The Jazz Age • “Jazz music is idiosyncratic by nature where the performer creates the rhythm. There is truly no incorrect way to play Jazz. J.A. Roger wrote, " Jazz isn't just music, but also a spirit that can express itself in almost everything," It was in many ways a revolt against constraints because it was so joyous. Typically instrumented by piano, string bass, and drums, jazz began to take charge of the new era of music. “ • Kwa King, “The Jazz Age”
Duke Ellington • Ellington was a jazz composer, conductor, and performer during the Harlem Renaissance. • During the formative Cotton Club years, he experimented with and developed the style that would quickly bring him worldwide success. Ellington would be among the first to focus on musical form and composition in jazz. • Ellington wrote over 2000 pieces in his lifetime.
The Cotton Club • The Duke Ellington Orchestra was the "house" orchestra for a number of years at the Cotton Club. The revues featured glamorous dancing girls, acclaimed tap dancers, vaudeville performers, and comics. All the white world came to Harlem to see the show. • The first Cotton Club revue was in 1923. There were two new fast paced revues produced a year for at least 16 years.
Louis Armstrong • Louis Armstrong was a jazz composer and trumpet player during the Harlem Renaissance. • He is widely recognized as a founding father of jazz. • He appeared in 30 films and averaged 300 concerts per year, performing for both kids on the street and heads of state.
Bessie Smith • Bessie Smith was a famous jazz and blues singer during the Harlem Renaissance. • Smith recorded with many of the great Jazz musicians of the 1920s, including Louis Armstrong. • Smith was popular with both blacks and whites.
Political Agenda for Civil Rights • Leaders such as W.E.B. Du Bois, Marcus Garvey and the NAACP helped to inspire racial pride in the middle and working class.
The Harlem Renaissance gave birth to many important publications, such as Crisis magazine, edited by W. E. B. Du Bois, giving black writers a forum where their voices could be heard.
Artists of the Harlem Renaissance • Palmer Hayden • Hale Woodruff • Edward Burra • Aaron Douglas • John Henry Adams • Laura Wheeling Waring • Jacob Lawrence
Jacob Lawrence • Jacob Lawrence grew up in a settlement house in Harlem during the Harlem Renaissance. • Lawrence's parents were among those who migrated between 1916-1919, considered the first wave of the migration. • His own life in Harlem and the struggle of other Black Americans inspired his earliest work
Lawrence’s Work • Jacob Lawrence painted his Great Migration series during the 1940s to capture the experience of African Americans during the 1920s http://www.columbia.edu/itc/history/odonnell/w1010/edit/migration/migration.html
Bell Ringer • How does this painting reflect the Harlem Renaissance?
Harlem Renaissance • In the autumn of 1926, a group of young African American writers produced Fire!, a literary magazine. • With Fire! a new generation of young writers and artists, including Langston Hughes, Wallace Thurman, and Zora Neale Hurston, took ownership of the literary Renaissance.
Sterling Brown Claude McKay Langston Hughes Zora Neal Hurston James Weldon Johnson Countee Cullen Nella Larson Richard Wright Writers of the Harlem Renaissance
Claude McKay “America” Although she feeds me bread of bitterness, And sinks into my throat her tiger’s tooth, Stealing my breath of life, I will confess I love this cultured hell that tests my youth! Her vigor flows like tides into my blood, Giving me strength erect against her hate. Her bigness sweeps my being like a flood. Yet as a rebel fronts a king in state, I stand within her walls with not a shred Of terror, malice, not a word of jeer. Darkly I gaze into the days ahead, And see her might and granite wonders there, Beneath the touch of Time’s unerring hand, Like priceless treasures sinking in the sand. Paraphrase the poem. Connotation based on the poem’s diction? Attitude? Tone?
Harlem Renaissance • The diverse literary expression of the Harlem Renaissance was demonstrated through Langston Hughes’s weaving of the rhythms of African American music into his poems of ghetto life, as in The Weary Blues (1926). Langston Hughes Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, FSA/OWI Collection, [reproduction number, e.g., LC-USF34-9058-C]
Bell RingerHow do you interpret this poem? “I, Too” – Langston Hughes I, too, sing America. I am the darker brother. They send me to eat in the kitchen When company comes, But I laugh, And eat well, And grow strong. Tomorrow, I’ll be at the table When company comes. Nobody’ll dare Say to me, “Eat in the kitchen,” Then. Besides, They’ll see how beautiful I am And be ashamed – I, too, am America. What is the tone of this poem? What does it imply about the conditions for African Americans?
Harlem Renaissance • Diversity was also demonstrated through Zora Neale Hurston’s novels such as, Their Eyes Were Watching God (1937). Hurston used life of the rural South to create a study of race and gender in which a woman finds her true identity. [Portrait of ZoraNealeHurston] Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, Carl Van Vechten Collection, [reproduction number, e.g., LC-USZ62-54231]
Bell Ringer • Create three questions that can be answered by the notes from yesterday.
Bell Ringer • Summarize your Harlem Renaissance notes.
Bell Ringer • After learning a little bit about the Harlem Renaissance, what questions do you have that you would like to explore further?
“Zora’s Roots • Watch the video: Zora’s Roots and answer questions and take notes • Pay attention to quotes from her memoir “How It Feels to be Colored Me.”