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The Harlem Renaissance

The Harlem Renaissance. Important Features. 4 major features:.

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The Harlem Renaissance

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  1. The Harlem Renaissance Important Features

  2. 4 major features: • Harlem Renaissance is the name given to the period from the end of WWI through the mid-1930’s, during which a group of talented African-American writers produced a sizable body of literature in the four prominent genres of poetry, fiction, drama, and essay.

  3. The notion of “twoness,” a divided awareness of one’s identity: “an American, a Negro.” (W.E.B. Du Bois)

  4. Common themes: alienation, marginality (being on the outside of the society; considered unimportant), the use of folk material; the use of the blues tradition, the problems of writing for an elite audience.

  5. Harlem Renaissance was more than just a literary movement; it included racial consciousness.

  6. Major authors • Claude McKay • Countee Cullen • Langston Hughes • Zora Neale Hurston • Rudolph Fisher • James Weldon Johnson • Jean Toomer

  7. The Great Migration • The migration of thousands of African-Americans from the South to the North to escape racism and to find better jobs. • Created the first large, urban black communities in the North.

  8. Reasons for the Great Migration • Boll weevil infestation in the South ruined cotton crop harvests, leaving thousands of African-Americans with no jobs and the threat of starvation. • WWI created a huge demand for labor in the North.

  9. “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.

  10. “The Tropics in New York”—Claude McKay • Bananas ripe and green, and ginger root, Cocoa in pods and alligator pears, And tangerines and mangoes and grape fruit Fit for the highest prize at parish fairs Set in the window, bringing memories Of fruit-trees laden by low-singing rills, And dewy dawns, and mystical blue skies In benediction over nun-like hills. My eyes grew dim, and I could no more gaze; A wave of longing through my body swept, And, hungry for the old, familiar ways, I turned my head and wept.

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