Presentation on theme: "Created By: Elizabeth Asibey Period 3 Honors Language Arts Mr. Richardson."— Presentation transcript:
Created By: Elizabeth Asibey Period 3 Honors Language Arts Mr. Richardson
“Freedom is never given; it is won.” – Asia Philip Randolph "Negroes - Sweet and docile, Meek, humble, and kind: Beware the day - They change their mind." - Langston Hughes "I swear to the Lord, I still can't see, why Democracy means, everybody but me." -Langston Hughes
The Harlem Renaissance, primarily referred to as "The New Negro Movement," named after the anthology by Alain Locke, was a cultural movement that spread in the 1920s and 1930s. However, even though it took place mostly in Harlem, New York, many French-speaking black writers from African and the Caribbean colonies who lived in Paris were greatly influenced by this cultural epidemic. Historians disagree on when the Harlem Renaissance genuinely started and ended, so The Harlem Renaissance is unofficially recognized to have began from the mid 1930s, but many of its ideas have lived on much longer.
The Harlem Renaissance can be described as a cultural epidemic in which African-Americans began to reach out of their shell and transform themselves into “a new negro.” This movement is a flowering of African-American literature, art, and music during the early 1920s. When the Harlem Renaissance is mentioned, significant figures such as Langston Hughes, Countee Cullen, Jean Toomber, W.E.B. DuBois, and James Baldwin are one of the many names that come to mind.
The Harlem Renaissance was first referred to as "The New Negro Movement." To express themselves, African-Americans found many ways, such as music-like jazz and the blues, dancing that mainly praises their culture, and paintings-some even of naked women. However, he black renaissance and cultural revolution that took place in Harlem, New York between the World Wars was much more than these images. It was a profound literary and political movement as well. In this time period, African-Americans still had little to no rights. They were trying to make names for themselves and they were determined to do everything they possibly could to enhance the black race. The negro life was said to have been seizing upon its first chances for group expression and self-determination. 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 in mainstream culture.
Since the mid-to-late nineteenth century, European moderns declared their artistic and intellectual difference from the more conservative schools of art by painting carousers in cafes, decadent circus performers, prostitutes, and their clients in bordellos.
During The Harlem Renaissance, African-Americans tried their hardest to make a new name for themselves. They wanted to introduce America to a new style of living. One of the main goals of the black writers and intellectuals of the Harlem Renaissance was to show the Negro as a capable individual. Providing a positive self-image for the Negro was not an easy task. The Harlem Renaissance succeeded in depicting the Negro as an individual who was capable of making great achievements if given the opportunity. However, continued injustices against Negroes forced black intellectuals into the harsh realization that prejudice against Negroes was deeply rooted in American society. It was useless trying to show white America that the Negro had “worth” and could become a contributing individual.
During The Harlem Renaissance, African-Americans were still mistreated even though they were making names for themselves, becoming entrepreneurs, and even making their own music. Unfortunately, white America didn't care and was still degrading to blacks. The Cotton Club was an exclusively white club that African Americans that where musically talented where able to demonstrate their musical ability at but weren't allowed to attend, ironically. Many famous Harlem Renaissance artists played there, although in the shows there would be several racist implications because that is what appealed to white people in that era. The music played was primarily swingy jazz, but there would performances as well, such as acting and talent show like demonstrations. Since the public enjoyed the concept of blacks being inferior, a lot of the shows were based around the jungle and how "uncivilized" Blacks were. At the time, people where looking for excitement because of the prohibition, and that is one of the reasons clubs such as this where so popular. Clearly, racism was an extreme obstacle for African-Americans, but still, that did not stop them from branching out an expressing themselves.
However, some common interests that all of America shared during this time were drinking and drugs. Because prohibition was in great effect around these years, Americans took a new route and made underground clubs, called Speakeasies. At these speakeasies, singing and dancing occurred along with drugs and alcohol being sold. As the evening wore on, a visitor to Harlem might wander on to one of the side streets near Jungle Alley, where cocaine and marijuana were available (the latter ran ten joints for a dollar). Here were the less-elegant boites that attracted a more racially mixed crowd. Harlem was filled with these cheaper speakeasies, known as "lap joints"-police estimated nearly ten to every square block).
Along with African-Americans, there was a rise in the West Indian population. Because West Indians were far more different than African's in many ways, interracial prejudice sprang. Most West Indians came from a society in which class distinction played a more important role in one’s life than the color line. Thus the West Indian immigrant was constantly trying to improve his economic position. He was also unlikely to accept racial slurs without protest, for the West Indian believed a man should be judged more by his talents than his color. Out of this heightened class consciousness came a small group of political and economic radicals. Many of Harlem’s street corner orators in the 1920’s were West Indian immigrants. Among the most prominent was a Virgin Islander named Hubert H. Harrison. He was a Socialist, an expert on African history, a militant critic of American society, and a staunch defender of the Negro’s racial heritage. Harrison conducted formal lectures in what he called the Harlem School of Social Sciences. He also conducted lectures on street corners, which he referred to as his “outdoor university.
When it came to the Harlem Renaissance, it seemed as if many African-Americans were "testing the waters" with their religion. However, the main religion was Christianity. When considering the Harlem Renaissance religiously, one sees many varied influences investing in Harlem socio-spiritually. Though there were indeed these differing religious expressions, from Black Muslims and Black Hebrews to Father Divine and his Peace Mission, the religious landscape of Harlem during the 1920s was overwhelmingly Christian. Ironically, many Christians and pastors praise the Lord by day but hit the clubs by night. One pastor in particular, Frederick A. Cullen, pastored at his own church but still participated in this epidemic movement. Beyond these duties, his family "belonged to the right social clubs, supported the appropriate charities, held "soirees" at their brownstone on Seventh Avenue, living what Cullen believed was an ethically sound life worth emulation. Very literally, he pursued the ends he sought for the good of the race. The diversity of religion during The Harlem Renaissance was greatly accepted.
Seeing that African-American's could express themselves with music, literature, dance, and art, there was no reason as to why they couldn't express themselves when it came to religion. The Harlem Renaissance encouraged distinctive thinking patterns and very divergent creativity as related to religious and philosophical ideals. In many cases, the climate of this era invited critique and revisions to existing spiritual and theological assumptions. As a result, neo- orthodox approaches to traditional Christianity became popular. Many of the significant figures during The Harlem Renaissance contributed to the religious aspects of this time just as greatly as they contributed to the artistic aspects.
In 1921, Marcus Garvey organizes the African Orthodox Church. This religious creation fostered direct correlations to Orthodox Christianity in Africa. A branch church was located in Harlem. Charles A. Tinley, an African American cleric-musician becomes the first African American to compose and publish hymns. His style consisted of a genre of Gospel Blues that percipitated expanded forms of worship expression. Of course, Harlem churches were crucial in these expressions. A couple years before that, W.E.B. DuBois organized the first Pan African Congress, which opened dialogue related to African unity and spiritual values.
After the Civil War, many African-Americans wanted to discover themselves and rejuvenate their lives as free men and women. To find that, they migrated up north from the south (this is known as The Great Migration). Many of them landed in Harlem, New York. This place gave birth to a new cultural movement. During the early 1900s, the burgeoning African-American middle class began pushing a new political agenda that advocated racial equality. The epicenter of this movement was in New York, where three of the largest civil rights groups established their headquarters. Along with African-American political activists and white social workers, 1905, W.E.B. DuBois met in New York to discuss the challenges facing the black community.
In 1909, the group founded the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), to promote civil rights and fight African-America disenfranchisement. Along with that great achievement, things in the north were gradually getting better for African-Americans. In addition, the North granted all adult men with the right to vote; provided better educational advancement for African- Americans and their children; and offered greater job opportunities as a result of World War I and the industrial revolution. This phenomenon, known as the Great Migration, brought more than seven million African- Americans to the North.
The Harlem Renaissance reached many levels of art; such as dance, song, visual painting, and literature. The Harlem Renaissance, like the Hip Hop movement, was not simply just about music, but reached also into other forms of art such as dance and visual arts. Both attempted to bring recognition to the African American community in a time without civil rights, in a time when the outside world chose to ignore the world of Harlem and the larger community of the Black race. Many people fed into this new movement very quickly-so quick, that it spread in no time. Dance clubs such as the Cotton Club, Connie's Inn, and Small's Paradise became the "hot spot" for the followers of the Harlem Renaissance.
Many African-Americans also went down the obvious route and started becoming painters. As their inspirations, they used past events that occurred in America to depict their opinions. In some cases, they duplicated many European styles. The turn of the century brought little change in the approach or accomplishments in the form of African American Art. African American artists continued to use the influence they gained from the European style in their theme and expression. And as a result of the European influence, there were two important events in art that assisted black artists in the move toward their cultural heritage, social and political awareness and visual aesthetics.
Along with painters during this time period, there were song writers and poets, such as Langston Hughes. He created a higher and more sophisticated idea of poetry that appealed to many of the followers of this movement. Instead of using folk idioms, comic writing, and vernacular that had been seen as common with the African-American writing, poets such as Mr. Hughes moved on to a different idea called "high art." In some respects this shift mirrors the change from rural to urban life for many blacks in this period. However, several of the Harlem writers made powerful use of folk idioms such as the blues, particularly Langston Hughes (1902-67). To the African-Americans participating in the Harlem Renaissance, defining themselves and finding their place in society was very difficult for them. Instead of enforcing Civil Rights, they expressed themselves in many different forms of art.
Background: The years following the Civil War brought a steady stream of African-Americans to the North from the Southern states. New York's Harlem became a cultural center for poor and middle- class blacks, many of whom were well-educated. Education: New York was one of the few states that outlawed school segregation. Blacks moved from all over the country to get an education in Harlem in the 1920s and 1930s. The Cotton Club: The Harlem Renaissance occurred during what was known as the "Jazz Age," a period that coincided with Prohibition and brought about underground speakeasies like the Cotton Club.
Langston Hughes James Weldon Johnson Claude McKay Countee Cullen Zora Neale Hurston Jessie Redmon Fauset Jean Toomer Arna Bontemps Rudolph Fisher W.E.B. DuBois Wallace Thurman