Harlem Renaissance An Unhampered Expression of Thought
Harlem Renaissance Writers Sterling A. Brown Claude McKay Langston Hughes Gwendolyn Brooks
Dinner Guest: Me (Langston Hughes) I know I am The Negro Problem Being wined and dined, Answering the usual questions That come to white mind Which seeks demurely To Probe in polite way The why and wherewithal Of darkness U.S.A.-- Wondering how things got this way In current democratic night, Murmuring gently Over fraises du bois, "I'm so ashamed of being white." The lobster is delicious, The wine divine, And center of attention At the damask table, mine. To be a Problem on Park Avenue at eight Is not so bad. Solutions to the Problem, Of course, wait.
I, too, sing America (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.
Dream Deferred (Langston Hughes) 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?
Doubleshackled--hunh-- Guard behin'; Doubleshackled--hunh-- Guard behin'; Ball an' chain, bebby, On my min'. White man tells me--hunh-- Damn yo' soul; White man tells me--hunh-- Damn yo' soul; Got no need, bebby, To be tole. Chain gang nevah--hunh-- Let me go; Chain gang nevah--hunh-- Let me go; Po' los' boy, bebby, Evahmo' . . . Southern Road (Sterling A. Brown) Swing dat hammer--hunh-- Steady, bo'; Swing dat hammer--hunh-- Steady, bo'; Ain't no rush, bebby, Long ways to go. Burner tore his--hunh-- Black heart away; Burner tore his--hunh-- Black heart away; Got me life, bebby, An' a day. Gal's on Fifth Street--hunh-- Son done gone; Gal's on Fifth Street--hunh-- Son done gone; Wife's in de ward, bebby, Babe's not bo'n. My ole man died--hunh-- Cussin' me; My ole man died--hunh-- Cussin' me; Ole lady rocks, bebby, Huh misery.
If We Must Die (Claude McKay) If we must die--let it not be like hogs Hunted and penned in an inglorious spot, While round us bark the mad and hungry dogs, Making their mock at our accursed lot. If we must die--oh, let us nobly die, So that our precious blood may not be shed In vain; then even the monsters we defy Shall be constrained to honor us though dead! Oh, Kinsmen! We must meet the common foe; Though far outnumbered, let us show us brave, And for their thousand blows deal one deathblow! What though before us lies the open grave? Like men we'll face the murderous, cowardly pack, Pressed to the wall, dying, but fighting back!
We Real Cool (Gwendolyn Brooks) THE POOL PLAYERS. SEVEN AT THE GOLDEN SHOVEL. We real cool. We Left school. We Lurk late. We Strike straight. We Sing sin. We Thin gin. We Jazz June. We Die soon.
Harlem Renaissance Painters William H. Johnson Loïs Mailou Jones Aaron Douglas
Loïs Mailou JonesNegro Shack I, Sedalia, North Carolina Why is Ms. Jones choosing to paint something like this?
William H. JohnsonChain Gang Examine the painting closely. What don’t you see in the picture? Why might this be important?
William H. JohnsonSelf-Portrait What do you notice about the clarity of the images in this painting? Why might William Johnson have chosen to portray himself in such a way?
Aaron DouglasStudy for God's Trombones This painting is one of the most famous of the Harlem Renaissance. What is depicted in the painting? Why do you believe the artist chose to paint such a thing?
Aaron DouglasDefiance How do the images in this block print connect to the title of the work?
Jazz • Standards - Famous songs that all artists must know and be able to play - Take the “A” Train - Duke Ellington • Improvisation - Musicians create within the framework of the song. My Little Suede Shoes - Charlie “Bird” Parker • Scat Jazz - Lyrics are improvised and usually are not even words but simply sounds - Lady Be Good - Ella Fitzgerald
Strange Fruit (Billie Holliday) Southern trees bear strange fruit, Blood on the leaves and blood at the root, Black bodies swinging in the southern breeze, Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees. Pastoral scene of the gallant south, The bulging eyes and the twisted mouth, Scent of magnolias, sweet and fresh, Then the sudden smell of burning flesh. Here is the fruit for the crows to pluck, For the rain to gather, for the wind to suck, For the sun to rot, for the trees to drop, Here is a strange and bitter crop.