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Harlem Renaissance

Harlem Renaissance

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Harlem Renaissance

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  1. Harlem Renaissance Goals: To understand the importance of the Harlem Renaissance to 1920s culture To understand how the Harlem Renaissance established a basis for the Civil Rights Movement

  2. Migrants Face Changes and Challenges • African Americans in the North often found better work and conditions than in the South • Many worked as white-collar professionals and served as role models • Racism still followed, forcing many into low paying jobs and cheap housing • NYC’s Harlem became the focal point of change for African Americans

  3. Marcus Garvey and the UNIA • Marcus Garvey immigrated to Harlem from Jamaica in 1916 • He felt blacks EVERYWHERE were exploited • Promoted universal black nationalism and a “Back to Africa” movement • Garvey advocated a separation of the races • His United Negro Improvement Association boasted nearly 2.5 million members

  4. The UNIA • The UNIA proved to be a powerful organization in instilling black pride • The UNIA attempted to organize fully black industries • The Black Star line was an attempt to create an all black shipping fleet • Many of the UNIA’s ventures failed because of inept leaders and greed • Garvey was sent to federal prison for mail fraud (used the Postal Service to have money sent for members dues)

  5. The UNIA’s Lasting Legacy • Garvey’s ideas of black nationalism and separatism remained • Nation of Islam and the Black Power movement have their roots in Garvey’s ideas • Black pride, African American self-reliance, and cultural ties to Africa • “In a world where black is despised, he [Garvey] taught to admire and praise black things and black people.” -Amsterdam News

  6. A Unique American Music Emerges • Some argue that Jazz began in New Orleans, some in Chicago • Louis Armstrong became the unofficial ambassador of jazz, playing in N.O., Chicago, and NYC • Bessie Smith was known as the “Empress of the Blues” for her vocals • “Scat” became popular during the 1920s

  7. Jazz Wins Worldwide Popularity • Jazz was a symbol of the Roaring 20s • St. Louis became a Jazz center as it was played in clubs and speakeasies alike • Albums and radio spread the influence of jazz • “America will be remembered for three contributions: the Constitution, baseball, and jazz.” • Jazz represented a blend of cultures and heritage

  8. Duke Ellington • Arguably the greatest of the jazz composers • He gained fame in Harlem nightclubs • Arranged music to showcase his band’s talents • Wrote about 2,000 pieces of music ranging from songs, ballets, and movie music • Awarded the highest civilian honors from both the U.S. and France (which loved jazz)

  9. African American Literature Flowers • A movement of African American writers, poets, and artists to establish a new culture • African Americans would no longer associate with the past (exploitation and discrimination) • Claude McKay wrote about the struggles for blacks as they search for dignity and advancement • McKay wrote of anger and militancy after race riots in Chicago

  10. “If We Must Die” by 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 • Marking their mark at our accursed lot… • What though before us lies the open grave? • Like men we will face the murderous, cowardly pack • Pressed to the wall, dying but fight back!

  11. Langston Hughes • Most powerful literary voice of his time • He celebrated African American life and culture • Wrote over 50 works of fiction, poetry, journalism and criticism • “Literature is a big sea full of many fish. I let down my nets and pulled. I’m still pulling.”

  12. Harlem Renaissance and its Impact • The movement altered the way many white Americans viewed African American culture • Changed the self-perception of many African Americans • The Harlem Renaissance ended with the financial collapse at the end of the 1920s • The African American solidarity created here would later be the bedrock of the Civil Rights Movement