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The Harlem Renaissance

A Prezi about the Harlem Renaissance

Jack Mrjenovich

on 24 January 2014

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Transcript of The Harlem Renaissance

Junior English
The Harlem Renaissance

Fats Waller singing “Your Feet’s Too Big”. Fats Waller’s music became the basis for the musical revue of “Ain’t Misbehavin”
In the early 1920s, African American artists, writers, musicians, and performers were part of a great cultural movement known as the Harlem Renaissance.

Due to the great migration north after World War I, African Americans of all ages and walks of life came to the neighborhood of Harlem.

This included: doctors, singers, students, musicians, shopkeepers, painters, and writers.
Marcus Garvey’s “Back to Africa” movement was in full swing.

Jazz was just beginning.

An all-black show, Shuffle Along, opened on Broadway in 1921.

Modernist artists fostered a new respect for African art and culture.
The environment that helped foster the Harlem Renaissance:
The center of the activity was on Lenox Avenue in Harlem. For example, the Cotton Club was on this street.
Harlem Renaissance artists insisted that the African Americans be accepted as “…collaborator[s] and participant[s] in American civilization” (Alan Locke).
Entertainers: Ella Fitzgerald, Alberta Hunter, Josephine Baker, Cab Calloway, Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, and Fats Waller.

Artists: Aaron Douglas, William H. Johnson.

Of the hundreds of artists some of the most famous were:
Writers and Poets: Zora Neale Hurston, Langston Hughes, Claude McKay, Countee Cullen.

Photographer: James Van Der Zee.

Activists: W.E.B. DuBois, Adam Clayton Powell Sr. Marcus Garvey, Alain LeRoy Locke.
The Cotton Club was a Jim Crow club for gangsters and monied whites. Ironically, you could perform there as an African American, but you were not welcome to patronize it.
House-rent parties or whist (a card game name) parties were held by Harlem residents to help each other pay the rent and provide entertainment. Invitations such as the one above, were often distributed in the neighborhood as an open invitation to all who were interested.
Rent parties often had musicians playing along with bootleg whiskey and good food sold at low prices. Dancing and singing went on until dawn. The poet Langston Hughes said, “I wrote lots of poems about house-rent parties…[and] I can still hear their laughter in my ears…and feel the floor shaking as the dancers danced.”
Ella Fitzgerald: 1917-1996. She won 13 Grammys and sold 40 million albums. She was the most popular jazz singer for over half a century. She sang with all the great musical legends. Had over a four octave vocal range and perfect pitch.
Entertainers/Artists of the Harlem Renaissance
Alberta Hunter: 1895-1984. Famous blues, jazz singer, and composer from Chicago, Illinois. She toured the United States and Europe and was critically acclaimed throughout the world. She performed jazz and blues until she died.
Josephine Baker: 1906-1975. Noted expatriate and actress, Josephine relocated to France where audiences were more liberal and accepting of her cutting edge performances. First African American to perform in a major motion picture, integrate an American concert hall, and become a world-famous entertainer. She was also a noted civil rights activist.
One of the most influential figures in jazz, if not all of American music.
One of the main performers at the Cotton Club with his orchestra.
Duke Ellington: 1899-1974
Known for songs: “It Don’t Mean a Thing If It Ain’t Got That Swing”, “Cotton Tail”, “Mood Indigo”, “Take the ‘A’ Train”

Honors: Pulitzer Prize Nominee, U.S. Stamp and Quarter, Big Band and Jazz Hall of Fame, Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Known as one of the greatest artists of the Harlem Renaissance.
Captured images of Harlem in brightly colored, vibrant art.
Before his death, he donated all of his work to the Smithsonian.
Far right: self portrait 1929.
Inside: Ferry Boat Trip.
William Johnson: 1901-1970
Studied music and art, but the gift of a camera at 14 was a life changing gift.

Opened his own studio and was known for his portraits of black New Yorkers and photos of Harlem.

His most famous subjects were Marcus Garvey, Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, and Countee Cullen.
James Van Der Zee: 1886-1983
James Van Der Zee on the right with his father and brothers.
James Van Der Zee Photos
James Van Dee Zee Photos
James Van Der Zee’s Harlem Photos
A social activist who encouraged African Americans to politicize themselves. Martin Luther King stated that the civil rights movement owed a debt to him for inspiration.
Advocated higher education for African Americans; he attended Harvard.
Helped to form and run the NAACP.
Believed in African American rights around the world (Pan-Africanism) and eventually moved to Ghana, Africa and lived the rest of his life there.
W.E.B. DuBois: 1868-1963
Zora Neale Hurston c. 1891-1960

Claude McKay 1889-1948

Langston Hughes 1902-1967

Countee Cullen 1903-1946
Authors of the Harlem Renaissance
Orphaned by 13, put herself through Harvard.
Interested in social/cultural behavior and in preserving African folktales.
Most famous work: Their Eyes Were Watching God.
Stopped publishing in 1940s and died penniless.
Toni Morrison and Alice Walker brought her back into prominence.
Zora Neale Hurston c.1891-1960
Jamaican born, influenced by British poets.
Focus on the black experience of WWI soldiers and in the U.S. in general.
Taught later in life in the Chicago Public Schools.
Felt America wasn’t perfect, yet a country of opportunity for African Americans and immigrants in general.
Claude McKay 1889-1948
Langston Hughes 1902-1967
Most famous poet of the Harlem Renaissance.
The structure of his poetry used jazz and blues rhythms and repetitive structures.

Influenced by Walt Whitman, Carl Sandburg (working class situations) and the African American experience in America.

Spoke German and Spanish fluently.

Stated his work was an attempt to “explain and illuminate the Negro condition in America.”
Langston Hughes cont.
Considered the most brilliant of the Harlem Renaissance Poets in terms of academics.
Graduate of NYU and master’s degree from Harvard.
Encouraged poets to write traditional verse and to avoid the restrictions of solely racial themes.
Covered topics and societal issues no one dared to speak of before in a poetic way.
Married the daughter of W.E.B. DuBois.
Taught in Harlem until his death.
Countee Cullen 1903-1946
Curtain call….the end!
One last video clip...
Full transcript