Harlem Renaissance


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Harlem Renaissance,

term used to describe a flowering of African-American literature and art in the 1920s, mainly in the HarlemHarlem,
residential and business section of upper Manhattan, New York City, bounded roughly by 110th St., the East River and Harlem River, 168th St., Amsterdam Ave., and Morningside Park. The Dutch settlement of Nieuw Haarlem was established by Peter Stuyvesant in 1658.
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 district of New York City. During the mass migration of African Americans from the rural agricultural South to the urban industrial North (1914–18), many who came to New York settled in Harlem, as did a good number of black New Yorkers who moved from other areas of the city. Meanwhile, Southern black musicians brought jazzjazz,
the most significant form of musical expression of African-American culture and arguably the most outstanding contribution the United States has made to the art of music. Origins of Jazz

Jazz developed in the latter part of the 19th cent.
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 with them to the North and to Harlem. The area soon became a sophisticated literary and artistic center. A number of periodicals were influential in creating this milieu, particularly the magazines Crisis, which was published by W. E. B. Du BoisDu Bois, W. E. B.
(William Edward Burghardt Du Bois) , 1868–1963, American civil-rights leader and author, b. Great Barrington, Mass., grad. Harvard (B.A., 1890; M.A., 1891; Ph.D., 1895).
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 and urged racial pride among African Americans, and Opportunity, published by the National Urban League. Also influential was the book The New Negro: An Interpretation (1925), edited by Alain LockeLocke, Alain LeRoy,
1885–1954, American writer, educator, philosopher, and cultural critic, b. Philadelphia, grad. Harvard (A.B., 1907; Ph.D., 1918), first African-American Rhodes Scholar at Oxford (1907–10), One of the leaders of the Harlem Renaissance, he was a
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.

Responding to the heady intellectual atmosphere of the time and place, writers and artists, many of whom lived in Harlem, began to produce a wide variety of fine and highly original works dealing with African-American life. These works attracted many black readers. New to the wider culture, they also attracted commercial publishers and a large white readership. Writers associated with the Harlem Renaissance include Arna BontempsBontemps, Arna,
1902–73, African-American writer, b. Alexandria, La. He is best remembered as the author of the novel God Sends Sunday (1931), the basis of the play St.
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, Langston HughesHughes, Langston
(James Langston Hughes), 1902–67, American poet and central figure of the Harlem Renaissance, b. Joplin, Mo., grad. Lincoln Univ., 1929. He worked at a variety of jobs and lived in several countries, including Mexico and France, before Vachel Lindsay
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, Claude McKayMcKay, Claude
, 1889–1948, American poet and novelist, b. Jamaica as Festus Claudius McKay, studied at Tuskegee and the Univ. of Kansas. A major figure of the Harlem Renaissance, McKay is best remembered for his poems treating racial themes.
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, Countee CullenCullen, Countee
, 1903–46, American poet, b. New York City, grad. New York Univ. 1925, M.A. Harvard, 1926. A major writer of the Harlem Renaissance—a flowering of black artistic and literary talent in the 1920s—Cullen wrote poetry inspired by American black
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, James Weldon JohnsonJohnson, James Weldon,
1871–1938, American author, b. Jacksonville, Fla., educated at Atlanta Univ. (B.A., 1894) and at Columbia. Johnson was the first African American to be admitted to the Florida bar and later was American consul (1906–12), first in Venezuela and
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, Zora Neale HurstonHurston, Zora Neale,
1891?–60, African-American writer, b. Notasulga, Ala. She grew up in the pleasant all-black town of Eatonville, Fla., and graduated from Barnard College, where she studied with Franz Boas.
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, and Jean ToomerToomer, Jean,
1894–1967, American writer, b. Washington, D.C., as Nathan Eugene Toomer. A major figure of the Harlem Renaissance, he is known mainly for Cane (1923, rev. ed.
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. Visual artists connected with the movement are less generally known. Among the painters are Aaron Douglas, Palmer Hayden, Malvin G. Johnson, and William H. Johnson. The best-known sculptor is probably Augusta Savage. Photographers include James Van Der ZeeVan Der Zee, James,
1886–1983, American photographer, b. Lenox, Mass. The son of Ulysses S. Grant's maid and butler, Van Der Zee opened his first studio in Harlem, New York City, in 1915.
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 and Roy De Carava. The Harlem Renaissance faded with the onset of the Great DepressionGreat Depression,
in U.S. history, the severe economic crisis generally considered to have been precipitated by the U.S. stock-market crash of 1929. Although it shared the basic characteristics of other such crises (see depression), the Great Depression was unprecedented in its
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 of the 1930s.

Bibliography

See D. L. Lewis, ed., The Portable Harlem Renaissance Reader (1994) and as author, When Harlem Was In Vogue (1981, repr. 1997); N. I. Huggins, Harlem Renaissance (1971); B. Kellner, ed., The Harlem Renaissance: A Historical Dictionary for the Era (1987); M. S. Campbell, ed., Harlem Renaissance: Art of Black America (1987, repr. 1994); L. Harris, ed., The Philosophy of Alain Locke: Harlem Renaissance and Beyond (1989); H. Bloom, ed., Black American Prose Writers of the Harlem Renaissance (1994); C. A. Wall, Women of the Harlem Renaissance (1995); J. O. G. Ogbar, The Harlem Renaissance Revisited: Politics, Arts, and Letters (2010). In addition, many materials relating to the period can be found in the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, New York City.

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References in periodicals archive ?
This work argues that print-based addresses to African Americans are a defining but understudied component of the Harlem Renaissance, especially between 1919 and 1930 as African American writers promoted diverse racial representation as a characteristic of "good literature" both to exhibit Black literacy and to foster Black readership.
Rachel Farebrother's The Collage Aesthetic in the Harlem Renaissance is a book that fulfills its promises.
of Connecticut) assembles 14 essays that revisit the Harlem Renaissance, providing new perspectives on major and lesser-known figures like Jessie Fauset, Paul Robeson, James Weldon Johnson, Claude McKay, Wallace Thurman, Duke Ellington, and Zora Neale Hurston, and aspects such as the meaning and power of Harlem theater, literature, and art, and its connection to a longer literary and cultural tradition, and the sociopolitical contexts of the black creative class.
The book is organized in three sections: 1) a narrative overview (Black America after slavery; beginnings of the Harlem Renaissance; literature, music and art; the end and legacy of the Harlem Renaissance); 2) biographies of such major figures as W.E.B.
The center of that movement was New York, and its white American avatar was the homosexual novelist, critic, photographer, and patron (some would say exploiter) of the Harlem Renaissance, Carl Van Vechten.
New information emerges from these pages, reflecting the rich interchange between the visual arts, music, dance, literature and politics that shaped Douglas' work and also defined the Harlem Renaissance, the publisher says.
But make no mistake--as this eloquent and powerful study more than amply demonstrates--Jabbar is grounded in his Harlem roots and is as proud as he is articulate about its grandest artistic expression, the Harlem Renaissance of the early twentieth century when a generation of black writers, poets, and artists spoke with visionary fervor about what it meant to be black in America.
The Harlem Renaissance was a broad movement of the 1920s and 30s in America which involved all genres of the arts in a vivid spurt of creative growth, and charting the literary movement's works and major players is ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE HARLEM LITERARY RENAISSANCE: THE ESSENTIAL GUIDE TO THE LIVES AND WORKS OF THE HARLEM RENAISSANCE WRITERS.
The topic will be the Harlem Renaissance "Is It Real?" Members: sign up by calling 212-551-1013 to reserve.
Battle, an African-American man whose twentieth century life began during the Harlem Renaissance and grew to encompass multiple dreams.
First, The Practice of Diaspora places its sharp focus squarely on the international contours of the movement typically called the Harlem Renaissance. (In fact, to signal his discomfort with the phrase, Edwards sets off Harlem Renaissance with quotation marks throughout the text.
An excerpt from Harlem Renaissance poet Countee Cullen's poem, "Heritage," opens the novel, bringing to mind one of his earliest books of poetry, Copper Sun, while illuminating the book's theme: what is Africa to me?