05. AmLitHarlem - THE HARLEM RENAISSANCE The Harlem...

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Unformatted text preview: THE HARLEM RENAISSANCE The Harlem District • In 1920s - the center of Black art and life. • A series of immigrant settlers but after WWI became the Black capital. • 117, 000 whites left Harlem as 87, 000 blacks moved in. • An extraordinarily rich cultural tradition: indigenous American musical forms as ragtime and jazz, as well as in the poetry and prose. Socio-cultural background • A massive social movement of the African Americans of that time • Internal migration: from the rural South to the industrial North: the percentage of blacks living outside the South rose from approximately 10 per cent in 1915 to 25 percent in 1940 • Segregation, the high tide of a reign of terror in the South, the failure of the post-Black Engines of Public Opinion and Change • The National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People (NAACP) • Crisis Magazine edited by W. E. B. Du Bois and Jessie Fauset, one of the major sources for the dissemination of writings by African Americans Black Engines of Public Opinion and Change • The National Urban League: • Opportunity, a sociology journal, edited by Charles S. Johnson • The Universal Negro Improvement Association led by Marcus Garvey White Engines of Public Opinion and Change • Carl Van Doren’s Century magazine • Much faith in the black writers • ”What American literature decidedly needs at this moment is color, music, gusto, the free expression of gay or desperate moods. If the Negroes are not in a position to contribute these items, I do not know what Americans are." Periodization • A decade of fairly clear communal and nationalist assertion for the African Americans • Nathan Irvin Huggins (1971) starts with the year 1914 • The same year is given by Jervis Andersen in This Was Harlem - 1900-1950 (1981). • This was the year when St. James Presbyterian Church’s black congregation decided to move their church to Harlem. Beginnings • David Levering Lewis, in When Harlem was in Vogue, puts the beginning in 1919 when the Black Regiment of the New York National Guard triumphantly returned from the War. The "Harlem Hellfighters", the first African-American troops to go to war, performed for the troops and the French people and government officials, bringing jazz to France. Beginnings • Huston A. Baker, Jr. in Modernism and the Harlem Renaissance (1987) conceives of the period as the climax of the strategy employed by Booker T . Washington in his address before the Atlantic Exposition on September 1895. Duration • The traditional view confines the Harlem Renaissance to the African-American works published between 1923 and 1929. • For Robert Stepto, in Columbia Literary History of the USA, it is unthinkable to exclude Richard Wright and Gwendolyn Brooks from the list of the Harlem Renaissance writers simply because they created their most significant works after the 1920s were over. Members • “The Talented Tenth”: Alain Locke, Jean Toomer, Langston Hughes, Claude McKay,...
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This note was uploaded on 12/13/2011 for the course LITERATURE 105 taught by Professor Stevens during the Winter '11 term at Mitchell Community College.

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05. AmLitHarlem - THE HARLEM RENAISSANCE The Harlem...

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