The Harlem Renaissance 1920’s
Why was it called the Harlem Renaissance? • Harlem, New York was the central location of this new movement by African Americans in the arts. • Renaissance = rebirth • Other major cities: Chicago and Phillidelphia
Modernism: NO to industrialism, technology, the city, western civilization or human progress Did NOT have faith in progress Harlem Renaissance: YES to progress Had faith in human progress Major difference between Modernism and the Harlem Renaissance
What were the writers including in their writing? • Response to racial issues instead of industrial and technological issues • Belief that if they could fight in war equally with whites then they would exist as equals in society- many held jobs while war was happening • This led them to believe in fighting for equality • Experienced democracy overseas with the French
Langston Hughes • 1902-1967- born in Joplin, Missouri • Went to Columbia University in 1921, but left a year later and became a seaman and cook’s helper • Traveled throughout Europe and Africa • 1925 he was “discovered” working as a busboy in New York City • Inspired by Whitman
Countee Cullen • 1903-1946- raised in NYC • Wrote traditional poetry in high school • 1925 graduated from New York University • Caroling Dusk contribution to Harlem Renaissance • Introduction was controversial due to Cullen claiming that black poets need to only write in traditional verse and avoid writing solely on racial themes; however, he was drawn to this. • Influenced by English Romantic poet John Keats
Claude McKay • 1890-1948- born and raised in Jamica • Received most early ed. from his brother • 1912- Songs of Jamaica and Constab Ballads • Changed jobs- including a failed restaurant owner • Lived abroad, disillusioned with communism, converted to Catholicism • Lived the rest of his life in Chicago as a school teacher
“Harlem”(“A Dream Deferred”) • 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? • Questions: • 1. What does this poem say? • 2. What images does this poem create in your mind? • 3. What emotions does this poem evoke? • 4. What meaning can be found in this poem?