What was the Harlem Renaissance?
The Harlem Renaissance is in the 1920s. It is also referred to as the New Negro Movement. It was a period of explosion of art, literature, music, scholarship, activism and politics. Black people are coming together in urban centers like New York City. People from the Caribbean and Africa are coming together. At this point Garvey and DuBois are in NYC. And these people coming together raise the kinds of questions that we have been exploring in this class about black identity and black agenda. And there are an extraordinary group of primarily young people who are poets, writers, painters, sculptors, and scholars who are coming up with new ideas and are testing out old ideas through their art. The ideas they inherited from their parents about the world no longer described the realities of the world and so these creative people said our generation needs to come up with ideas that are exclusive to us.
b. outpouring of new art, music, literature, scholarship, activism
The New Negro
by Alain Locke introduced things from the view of the younger generation. Says to shed the problems of the old negro and he will be spiritually renewed. The New Negro doesn’t want to be seen as a problem, but as a person who deserves Freedom.
a. Claude McKay, “If We Must Die” — from jamaica, live in US. reflected on lynching in his poem and captured the spirit of the new negro in poetry
b. Countee Cullen, “Heritage” – He raised a question important to individuals in the HR who were trying to figure out their identity. In his poem he explained what Africa was to him. This question was being asked politically and culturally
a. Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God (1937)
b. Jean Toomer, Cane (1923)
the Charleston – there were black performers
Augusta Savage – a black sculptor
a. Carter G. Woodson is known as the Father of Negro History. In 1916, he found association of negro life and shortly after he founded the journal of negro hsitory and a publishing house. Wanted organizations and journals that promoted black people and their history. He also founded Negro History Week (1926) which eventually developed to BHM in 1976.
b. Arthur Schomburg, bibliophile who is of puerto rican background. Live in NY. He was devoted to BH. His book became the foundation for the harlem collection in NY library.Helped young people discover what it means to be black.
-founder Schomburg Collection, NY Public Library
a. Du Bois, NAACP, Pan Africanism
b. Garvey, Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA)