Harlem Renaissance

(redirected from New Negro Movement)
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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 Locke.

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
, 1890–1948, American poet and novelist, b. Jamaica, 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, moving north, 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.


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); 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.

References in periodicals archive ?
Beginning in 1947, the historical research of John Hope Franklin brought scholarly attention to the New Negro Movement in literature, and Franklin apparently formalized the appellation "Harlem Renaissance" that has come to define it.
An associate professor of communication studies at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, Watts examines how the New Negro movement affected public discourse and identity at the time.
of North Carolina) analyzes the historical New Negro movement in the US.
But what alienated Nugent, Thurman, and McKay from the old guard of the New Negro movement was their willingness to cater to the public's taste for exoticism and decadence.
7) Among its limitations, the book does not focus its lens wide enough to capture the fullness of the militant New Negro movement of the 1920s, of which the black campus uprisings, Harlem Renaissance, and Garveyism were all part.
Set against the backdrop of the New Negro Movement and Marcus Garvey's meteoric ascent, the purpose of Negro History Week was not only to lay honor upon those ancestral black legions, but also to assault, day by day, the reigning orthodoxy that held that the Negro was not fit for democracy.
As the "scientistic" assault of eugenics and the appealingly packaged chauvinisms of various nativist movements and writings racialized radicalism as an alien "Other" and radicalized race as of concern only to the threatening forces of Bolshevism and anarchism, the New Negro movement of 1919 faced a concerted onslaught of staunch opposition to its unique bringing together of class and race in a politics and aesthetics of anticapitalist opposition.
Rather, I mean to indicate that Sanders's portrait of Brown as a paradigm-smashing poet-hero, a Wild Sterling galloping over enemy territory, tends to flatten interracial modernism into three incongruous but similarly caricatured camps: a patronized if race-proud Harlem Renaissance; an Afrophobic hegemonic (white) modernism; and a Brown bold enough to correct both with occasional assists from a loosely plotted New Negro Movement.
As a teenager in the 1920s, I decided to be a "Negro," responding to what was called the New Negro Movement among a notable group of writers, artists, and musicians, mostly based in Harlem, who felt that the term "colored" was much too colorless and did not express racial pride.
Thurman solicited art, poetry, fiction, drama, and essays from his editorial advisers, as well as from such leading figures of the New Negro movement as Countee Cullen and Arna Bontemps.
While an undergraduate at Howard (1912--1916), Frazier heard Du Bois lecture about contemporary issues and he listened carefully when the leader of the New Negro movement appealed to students' idealism, urging them to pursue careers that would give them the joy of accomplishment and social responsibility, rather than the "rolling up of wealth" (Howard University Journal, April 17, 1914: 2--3).
Both writers point out that the abolitionist movement and the New Negro movement respectively were viewed as failures, despite the deep impact they made in revising racist notions of black identity.