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Harlem Renaissance: Literature and Poetry

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Melanie Newton

on 17 March 2014

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Transcript of Harlem Renaissance: Literature and Poetry

History Of Harlem
Upton Sinclair
Upton Sinclair was born in Baltimore on 20th September, 1878. His alcoholic father moved the family to New York City in 1888. Although his own family was extremely poor, he spent periods of time living with his wealthy grandparents. He later argued that witnessing these extremes turned him into a socialist.

He was very religious and loved literature; his two great heroes were Jesus Christ and Percy Bysshe Shelley. He was very intelligent and he did well at school and at 14 entered New York City College. Soon afterwards he had his first story published in a national magazine.

Sinclair funded his college education by writing stories for newspapers and magazines. By the age of 17 Sinclair was earning enough money to enable him to move into his own apartment while supplying his parents with a regular income. In January 1901 he borrowed $200 from his uncle and printed a thousand copies of Springtime and Harvest. Following two newspaper articles he managed to sell enough copies to repay the loan.

In 1904 Fred Warren commissioned Sinclair to write a novel about immigrant workers in the Chicago meat packing houses. Julius Wayland, the owner of the journal provided Sinclair with a $500 advance and after seven weeks research he wrote The Jungle.

Sinclair’s novel The Jungle was rejected by six publishers. Sinclair decided to publish the book himself and after advertising his intentions in the Appeal to Reason, he got orders for 972 copies. He sold over 150,000 copies. Within the next few years the novel had been published in seventeen languages and was a best-seller all over the world.

After President Roosevelt Theodore read The Jungle, he ordered an investigation of the meat-packing industry. With the passing of the Pure Food and Drugs Act (1906) and the Meat Inspection Act (1906), Sinclair was able to show that novelists could help change the law. This in itself inspired a tremendous growth in investigative journalism.

By the time Upton Sinclair died at a small nursing home on December 18th, 1968, he had published more than ninety books.
Zora Neale Hurston
Born January 7, 1891.
She always had a love for literature, and befriended famous writers such as Langston Hughes.
She published many short stories, articles, and the novel
Jonah's Gourd Vine
by 1935.
Her most famous works are
The Eyes Were Watching God
Tell My Horse
, which studied Caribbean Voodoo.
Hurston's main goal in her literature was to celebrate African American culture.
Langston Hughes
Harlem Renaissance: Literature and Poetry
Melanie Newton, Arianna Pericleous, Kaleigh Tinker, Brittany Jozaitis
Harlem is known world wide as Black Mecca of the world. Despite this, Harlem has been home to many races and ethnic groups. This includes the Dutch, Irish, German, Italian and Jewish.
Harlem had originally been settled by the Dutch in 1658, and was mostly farmland and undeveloped territory for roughly 200 years. Throughout the 1800s, elevated rail lines became extended north along 8th and 9th avenues, which encouraged expansion northward.
The addition of transportation lines impacted speculation on the land and many fine row houses and multiple family apartment buildings were taken.
There then was a recession, which encouraged more hidden real estate sales. The economy soon recovered in 1895, and successful apartments were developed. During the 1920s, Harlem flourished with cultural and artiste impressions. This then became the period called the Harlem Renaissance.
The Harlem Renaissance
Langston Hughes is most well known for his poetry during the Harlem Renaissance.
He also wrote short stories, children's books, translations, and anthologies.
He first explored poetry in high school, where he was very successful.
Attended Columbia University in 1921, and dropped out in 1922 to explore Harlem and write.
He emphasized that black culture should be celebrated and it is as important as white culture.
Famous works include
The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain
Let America Be America Again
, and
One Way Ticket
Died of cancer in May of 1967.
In the 1920s-1930s the Harlem Renaissance came about. It was originally called the New Negro Movement.
Racism was still in affect and economic opportunities were limited.
Creative expression was one of the few options available for African Americans in the early 20th century.
The birth of jazz was considered a separate movement.
Harlem took up 3 square miles of Northern Manhattan.
During this time period almost 750,000 African Americans left the South and migrated to the urban areas in the North to take advantage of the jobs and racial tolerance.
As more African Americans moved to Harlem, more whites moved out. This quick escape is known as the "White Flight".
In Summary...
The famous poetry of Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston during the Harlem Renaissance celebrated black culture and equality. They made a lasting impression on black pride and the culture of Harlem.

Upton Sinclair helped to expose the problems of the food industry to the government, and made a lasting impression on New York City, as well as the United States. The FDA was formed because of the movement he started.
Dream and Defer: Written and Read by Langston Hughes
Works Cited


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