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The Harlem Renaissance in Historical Perspective
Transcript of The Harlem Renaissance in Historical Perspective
Treatment of veterans
Race Riots post-war: 27 cities and towns
Chicago, Knoxville, East St. Louis, Houston, Elaine Arkansas, Washington DC, Philadelphia
Red Summer, 1919
If We Must Die
By Claude McKay (1919)
If we must die—let it not be like hogs
Hunted and penned in an inglorious spot,
While round us bark the mad and hungry dogs,
Making their mock at our accursed lot.
If we must die—oh, let us nobly die,
So that our precious blood may not be shed
In vain; then even the monsters we defy
Shall be constrained to honor us though dead!
Oh, Kinsmen! We must meet the common foe;
Though far outnumbered, let us show us brave,
And for their thousand blows deal one deathblow!
What though before us lies the open grave?
Like men we'll face the murderous, cowardly pack,
Pressed to the wall, dying, but fighting back!
What do these two kinds of movement have to do with each other?
Jacob Lawrence, The Migration Series
What Made Harlem Unique?
African Americans in Manhattan
United Negro Improvement Association
Dignity and connection of all people of African descent
1924 UNIA Parade
"Casting about for direction, the tall newcomer’s glance caught inevitably on the most conspicuous thing in sight, a magnificent figure in blue that stood in the middle of the crossing and blew a whistle and waved great white-gloved hands. The Southern Negro’s eyes opened wide; his mouth opened wider....For there stood a handsome brass-buttoned giant directing the heaviest traffic Gillis had ever seen; ... holding them at bay with one hand while he swept similar tons peremptorily on with the other; ruling the wide crossing with supreme self-assurance. And he, too, was a Negro!"
Rudolph Fisher, "City of Refuge", 1925
All of which brought about the "New Negro" Renaissance
Speakeasies, Jazz and the Blues
artistic salons and rent parties
Mabel Dwight, Harlem Rent Party 1929
Cotton Club--black performers, white audience
Savoy Ballroom, opened late 1920s
very early integrated space
Carl Van Vechten
Zora Neale Hurston
Anti-lynching legislation campaign (1920s-1930s)
Civil Rights and Court Cases
W.E.B. Du Bois
Aid to new immigrants
The Urban Explosion:
The Great Migration and the Harlem Renaissance
Lauren L. Anderson
Untitled (The Carousel Wharf)
Nous Quatre a Paris (We Four in Paris)
Alain Locke (ed), _The New Negro:
Voices of the Harlem Renaissance_ 1925
The "old Negro"--
Why did they leave?
The Savoy Ballroom, 1940s
The Great Migration was one of the largest migrations of people in US history. African Americans became overwhelmingly urban.
African Americans began to fight back against violence as a tool of political control.
The "New Negro" Renaissance represented an instance of that fighting back, through the use of art.
Now, how do you think the two images of movement at the beginning are connected?
WWI Industrial needs
tales of the North in black newspapers