The Harlem Renaissance

The Harlem Renaissance

The Harlem Renaissance, from 1920 to 1936, was a period when African American writers produced a substantial body of literature in poetry, fiction, drama, and essay. The movement also included philosophy, theater, visual arts, and music.

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Slide1             1920 to 1936

Slide2Harlem Renaissance Defined Harlem Renaissance (HR) is the name given to the period from the end of World War I and through the middle of the 1930s Depression, during which a group of talented African-American writers produced a sizable body of literature in the four prominent genres of poetry, fiction, drama, and essay.

Slide3Harlem Renaissance Defined (continued) Not limited to literature, the movement also includes philosophy, theater, the visual arts, and music.

Slide4Harlem Renaissance Dates Beginning dates range from 1914 to 1920 Ending dates range from 1935 to 1940

Slide5Great Migration  Beginning of World War I Job opportunities in North 1915-1918  Some believe this to be the beginning of H.R.


Slide7W. E. B. Du Bois (1868-1963) Philosopher Sociologist Civil rights activist

Slide8W.E.B. Du Bois African Americans must be taught racial pride and African cultural heritage Coined the term “Talented Tenth”

Slide9Charles Gilpin (1878-1930) Performing arts: theater

Slide10Theater and Film Charles Gilpin founded the Lafayette Players Few plays were written by African Americans

Slide11Alain LeRoy Locke (1886-1954) Philosopher Educator

Slide12Alain Locke The New Negro Saw Harlem as race capital

Slide13Marcus Garvey (1887-1940) Political leader Publisher and journalist Jamaican National Hero

Slide14Marcus Garvey Back to Africa movement

Slide15Claude McKay (1890-1948) Writer

Slide16Claude McKay “If we must die—let it not be like hogs hunted and penned in an inglorious spot…Like men we’ll face the murderous, cowardly pack, Pressed to the wall, dying, but fighting back!”

Slide17Zora Neale Hurston (1891-1960) Writer Anthropologist Folklorist

Slide18Jean Toomer (1894-1967) Writer

Slide19Jean Toomer Poet Envisioned an American identity that would transcend race Did not seek out “black” forms for his poetry

Slide20Bessie Smith (1895-1937) Jazz and Blues Singer

Slide21Aaron Douglas (1898-1979) Visual Artist

Slide22Duke Ellington (1899-1994) Jazz musician Jazz composer Jazz band leader

Slide23Langston Hughes (1902-1967) Writer

Slide24Langston Hughes “We younger Negro artists…intend to express our individual dark-skinned selves without fear or shame. If white people are pleased, we are glad.  If they are not, it doesn’t matter.”

Slide25Arna Bontemps (1902-1973) Writer

Slide26Countee Cullen (1903-1946) Writer

Slide27Countee Cullen Poet Wrote in accepted forms that white audiences could appreciate Did not believe race should dictate style and subject matter

Slide28Josephine Baker (1906-1975) Singer Dancer Actress

Slide29Cab Calloway (1907-1994) Singer Actor Fashion trendsetter

Slide30Dorothy West (1907-1998) Writer

Slide31End of World War I “We return.  We return from fighting.  Make way for democracy! We saved it in France, and by the Great Jehovah, we will save it in the United States of America or know the reason why.”  W.E.B. De Bois

Slide32What’s in a name? Harlem Renaissance Negro Renaissance

Slide33Creative Forms Writers Poets Philosophers Musicians Visual Artists Filmmakers

Slide34African-American Literature Sought to reach entire community, not just highly educated Periodicals (magazines) acted as a medium of intellectual discourse The Crisis  (cover dated September 1927)

Slide35The Jazz Age Artistic expression in music Cab Calloway Duke Ellington Josephine Baker Bessie Smith

Slide36Visual Arts Aaron Douglas 1936

Slide37End of the Renaissance The Great Depression 50% of families in Harlem were out of work Harlem Race Riot, 1935 Aaron Douglas  1936

Slide38Gains of the Harlem Renaissance African Americans proved themselves to be talented and capable Created a new consciousness in blacks and whites New art forms Socioeconomic changes Chain Gang William H. Johnson undated

Slide39   The Harlem RenaissanceSaturday Night by   Archibald J. Motley, Jr.  1935