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The Harlem Renaissance - Double Consciousness and the New Negro

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Rebekka Schuh

on 3 May 2013

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Transcript of The Harlem Renaissance - Double Consciousness and the New Negro

Harlem in the making The New Negro Double Consciousness Urban Frontier "The City of Refuge" The New Negro - Alain Locke (1925) - to migrate from the notions of the "Old Negro"

- new idea of Negro life being given creative agency
and credibility Harlem, a history The Harlem Renaissance "[... ] looking at one’s self through the eyes of others [...]. One ever feels his two-ness, an American, a Negro; two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings" the city as a new Frontier? Rudolph Fisher Double Consciousness
and Urban Black Identity Harlem Renaissance Outline - 19C: European immigration
- 1920s, 30s: Great Migration 6 mio Black Southerners from South to North - great demand for unskilled labor
- 20C: vast migration waves from
all over the country
- no prohibition New Yorkers
coming for entertainment and alcohol

3 major groups: 1. African Americans from the South to seek work in Harlem
2. an educated white class cultural uplifting of Harlem
3. a growing "Negro" middle class - a literary and intellectual flowering that fostered a new black cultural identity in the 19__s and 19__s

- Alain Locke: "spiritual coming of age", transformation
of „social disillusionment to race pride“

- one of the few avenues available to African Americans in the
early 20C

- literary roots: Charles S. Johnson's "Opportunity Magazine", W.E.B.
DuBois' journal "The Crisis"

- black art soon appreciated by whites

- important works: Nella Larsen, "Quicksand" (1928),
"Passing" (1929) 1. History of Harlem
2. Harlem Renaissance
3. "The New Negro", Alain Locke
4. Passing
5. Double Consciousness
6. Urban Frontier
7. "The City of Refuge" Group activity get together in 2 groups and
discuss the following texts:

1) editorial by W. E. B. DuBois,
"The Crisis" in 1919

2) article in "The Messenger"

find 3 points characterizing the "New Negro" - a multi-faceted conception of self
- difficulties in reconciling their identity as a
black person and as an American citizen. - published 1925

- prestigious "Atlantic Monthly"

- 1928 "The Walls of Jericho" about
a light passing lawyer

- seen through Southern migrant
King Solomon Gillis The City of Refuge What connotations
does the
trigger? - the Negro is given a new voice, e.g. in the arts

- rediscovering individuality of voice in the context of
community Jonah emerging from the whale. Clean air, blue sky, bright sunlight. - subway tunnel = jaws of a
steam shovel

- Gillis' arrival is disorienting
until he steps up the stairs
and actually arrives in calm Harlem

- public space predominantly inhabited by blacks

- seems to hold an utopian promise:
1. rights that could not be denied
2. privileges protected by law
3. money The arrival in NYC A Modernist Tale? - shaping effect of the urban on the
formation of subjectivity and identity

- juxtaposition: Harlem as "the city of refuge" when it is

- disillusionment: Gillis is betrayed by "his own people"
he came to Harlem in hope for a better life

- the breaking down of social norms, "where black is
white" the city as a new frontier? NEW Class Diversity NEW levels of crime, violence, and corruption NEW use of space NEW architectural style A coming-of-age story? - focuses on growth of protagonist
- relies on dialogue + emotional responses
- no depiction of growth from childhood to
adulthood But - gaining wisdom, maturation
- worldliness
- personal growth and change Where black was white. Passing and the problem of identity „[...] in the mind of America, the Negro has been more of a formula than a human being – a something to be argued about, condemned or defended, [...] to be worried with or worried over, [...] a social bogey or a social burden." „Through having had to appeal from the unjust stereotypes of his oppressors […] he has had to subscribe to the traditional positions from which his case has been viewed. Little true social or self-understanding has or could come from such a situation“ (Locke 1925: 4). The New Negro Identity - transformation of the African-American image
from underprivileged slaves to one of urban, cosmopolitan sophistication - greater social consciousness

- a spirit of self determination

- built the foundation for the Civil Rights struggles
in the 1950s and 60s The City of Refuge - title - Kingdom of Israel and Kingdom of Judah

- cities of refuge in Torah: Golan, Ramoth, etc.

- perpetrators of manslaughter could claim the
right of asylum

- cities of refuge as a save haven, BUT outside of
them: blood vengeance allowed by law Passing Group activity! Do you remember the key terms, ideas, and notions we discussed today?

Get together in 3 groups! member of a racial group trying to be accepted as a member of a different racial group to be not classified
as a minority to avoid racial
segregation to flee from
slavery to flee from
social constructs To pass for white - to promote intercultural understanding +
undermine the prevailing stereotypes of blacks
in white minds - multi-layered, multiple voiced - typical African American way of thinking in dual mode - merging of the races while, paradoxically, relying
upon distinctive racial stereotypes in order to meet the expectations of both races - W.E.B. Du Bois first to characterize
the black psyche Thank you for your
attention! Genre? W.E.B. DuBois Modernism ? ? More pictures for you to enjoy - Johnson's "Opportunity Magazine" https://www.google.at/search?q=opportunity+magazine&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a&um=1&ie=UTF-8&hl=en&tbm=isch&source=og&sa=N&tab=wi&ei=hY2DUaqDPYTvswaZ4IGQAQ&biw=1280&bih=692&sei=iI2DUfqbJdHGtAbR3YGoAg#um=1&client=firefox-a&rls=org.mozilla:en-US%3Aofficial&hl=en&tbm=isch&sa=1&q=opportunity+magazine&oq=opportunity+magazine&gs_l=img.3..0l2j0i24l8.204423.207833.2.207988.,or.r_qf.&bvm=bv.45960087,d.Yms&fp=f22a05904885b12f&biw=1280&bih=692&imgrc=_00yNyvahjNhkM%3A%3BDPz0vMUuFLAo3M%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fmedia-1.web.britannica.com%252Feb-media%252F64%252F65064-004-0D721F4D.jpg%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fwww.britannica.com%252FEBchecked%252Fmedia%252F52473%252FCover-of-Opportunity-Journal-of-Negro-Life-June-1925%3B244%3B349 - W.E.B. DuBois' "The Crisis" https://www.google.at/search?q=opportunity+magazine&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a&um=1&ie=UTF-8&hl=en&tbm=isch&source=og&sa=N&tab=wi&ei=hY2DUaqDPYTvswaZ4IGQAQ&biw=1280&bih=692&sei=iI2DUfqbJdHGtAbR3YGoAg#um=1&client=firefox-a&rls=org.mozilla:en-US%3Aofficial&hl=en&tbm=isch&sa=1&q=the+crisis+web+dubois&oq=the+crisis+web+dubois&gs_l=img.3..0i24.10722.12695.6.12871.,or.r_qf.&bvm=bv.45960087,d.Yms&fp=f22a05904885b12f&biw=1280&bih=692&imgrc=rfpZ8-ADcDNlOM%3A%3BqV2YvaLVYyXxEM%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fwww.newseum.org%252Fnews%252F2010%252F02%252F6561.jpg%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fwww.newseum.org%252Fnews%252F2010%252F02%252F100-years-ago-in-news-history-the-crisis-magazine.html%3B200%3B300
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