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Harlem Renaissance

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Adrian Lee

on 27 August 2013

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Transcript of Harlem Renaissance

Harlem Renaissance
Canonical Works
"If We Must Die" by Claude McKay was a popular poem in 1919 when riots erupted across the country. The message that came from the poem was powerful enough that British Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill quoted it during his speech to rally the Allies against the Nazis.
Historical Context
The cultural movement, also known as the New Negro Movement, centered in the Harlem area in New York City, during the 1920s and 1930s that led to an explosion of African American literature.
Adrian Lee, Vince Moreno, Celine Esteron
Famous Authors and Poets
Some other common themes included things such as slavery, the effects of institutional racism, black identity and music, especially jazz.
Beginning at 1916 and continuing throughout the 1920s, millions of blacks moved to the North in search of jobs and freedom from racism. Many of these immigrants settled in Harlem where they drew upon each others culture, folklore, traditions and experiences. This led to the creation of literature and arts based upon these factors. In this literature, authors and poets expressed what it meant to be black in a white dominated world.
Before the Harlem Renaissance, many black poets tried to write as their white counterparts did. However during the Harlem Renaissance, poets like Langston Hughes drew upon new elements to create poetry. For example using jazz influenced rhythms that featured strong accents, quick changes in rhythm and irregular beats.

Thank you~
by Archibald J. Motley by Palmer Hayden
The main theme of the Harlem Renaissance was the representation of African American culture on a daily basis of a regular African American. Not necessarily the top classes, but the working and poorer class.
Langston Hughes
Hughes was born in Missouri in 1902. He is the most well-known writer during the Harlem Renaissance. He started getting into poetry in high school and became very successful. He wanted to capture the Black Culture in written form.
Langston Hughes died of cancer in 1967.

His work were distinctly about African American in the poor and working class and his experience as a colored man. He spent the majority of his life writing great literature, which is appreciated by all races, to this day.

"Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken-winged bird that cannot fly." -Langston Hughes

Some popular works:
"I, Too, Sing America"
Zora Neale Hurston
Hurston was born on January 7th, 1891 in Alabama. She was the daughter of two former slaves.

Her work is notable for its incorporation of the culture she grew up in the African American town. Her writing also reflected her interests and experience as an anthropologist who tracked folk culture in the Caribbean among other places.

"There are years that ask questions, and years that answer."
-Zora Neale Hurston

Some popular works:
"Their Eyes Were Watching God"
Arna Bontemps
Bontemps was born on October 13th, 1902 in Alexandria, Louisiana. As a kid, he and his family faced brutality and racism. Due to the racism, his family moved to Los Angeles.

His work was inspired by his experience and black cultural heritage. His many interests and the needs of his growing family led him to other areas—he even wrote children’s books to “reach young readers not yet hardened or grown to man’s inhumanity.”

"Let us keep the dance of our rain our fathers kept and tread our dreams beneath the jungle sky." -Arna Bontemps

Some popular works:
"God Sends Sunday"
"A Summer Tragedy"
Claude McKay
McKay was born on September 15th, 1890 in Jamaica. His first work was a book called Songs of America.

McKay is best known for his novel Home To Harlem which talked about the life of a man in Harlem. It gained him popularity but was also controversial.

Some popular works:
"If We Must Die"
"Home To Harlem"
"The Lynching"
"The Weary Blues" by Langston Hughes received an award for best poem of the year in 1925. The theme of the poem was the importance of music in everyday life. It gives readers an appreciation of the blues music.
continued ...
“The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain” (1926) by Langston Hughes was a poem that stated black poets should create a distinctive “Negro” art, combating the “urge within the race toward whiteness.”
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was influenced by their enjoyment of jazz and African rhythmic complexity. Harlem has long been an important center for jazz.
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