Harlem Renaissance IDT 7061

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Harlem Renaissance IDT 7061

In 1925, the African-American philosopher Alain Locke published "The New Negro," an anthology that contained the works of some of the writers of the period: Langston Hughes, Claude McKay, Zora Neale Hurston. In Harlem, "Negro life is seizing upon its first chances for group expression and self-determination," Locke wrote in the introduction. Instead of using more direct political means, African-American artists and writers employed culture to work for goals of civil rights and equality. And for the most part, jazz, African-American paintings and books were absorbed into mainstream culture.

Here you will find facts, videos, images, and etc. which can be useful when studying the Harlem Renaissance.

The Harlem Renaissance was the name given to the cultural, social, and artistic explosion that took place in Harlem between the end of World War I and the middle of the 1930s. During this period Harlem was a cultural center, drawing black writers, artists, musicians, photographers, poets, and scholars.

The interest in black heritage coincided with a general interest, among American intellectuals and artists generally, in defining an “American” culture distinct from that of Europe and characterized by ethnic pluralism as well as a democratic ethos. According to Du Bois and his colleague at the NAACP, James Weldon Johnson (1871–1938), the only uniquely “American” expressive traditions in the United States had been developed by African Americans because they, more than any other group, had been forced to remake themselves in the New World, while whites continued to look to Europe, or sacrificed artistic values to commercial ones.

Between 1910-1970, about 6 million had come from the South, fleeing its oppressive caste system in order to find a place where they could freely express their talents. This came to be known as The Great Migration.

In addition to primitivism, the tendencies to press for “authentic” American art forms, and to find them in black America, led black writers to “the folk” at a time when American anthropologists led by Franz Boas (1858–1942) were revolutionizing their discipline with arguments against the racist paradigms of the past. The “folk”— people of the rural South particularly, but also the new migrants to northern cities—were presumed to carry the seeds of black artistic development with relative autonomy from “white” traditions

The Harlem Renaissance

The 'Renaissance' artists who immediately come to mind - painter Aaron Douglas, author Langston Hughes, jazz musician Duke Ellington, blues singer Bessie Smith, dancer Josephine Baker and the consummate all-round performer Paul Robeson - had certain attitudes about the black experience as art that, through paintings, writings, musical compositions and performances, explored an assortment of black representational possibilities, from Langston Hughes's and Bessie Smith's images of the rural and folkloric to Aaron Douglas's and Duke Ellington's invocations of the progressive and ultra modern."


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