2 Historical ContextCultural movement in the early 1920’s involving African American artists, writers, musicians, and performersFollowing WW1, blacks migrated north to a part of NYC called HarlemMainstream America began to develop a new respect for African art and culture
3 Marcus Garvey began the “Back to Africa” movement and started the Black Star shipping line Newspapers published the work of African artists and sponsored literary contests to encourage young artistsIn autobiographies, poetry, short stories, novels, and folklore, African American writers affirmed the role of black talent in American culture
4 All aspects of black life were explored and addressed in visual arts, music, and the written and spoken wordSome attacked racism, others addressed issues within the black communityA by-product was the affirmation that black dialects were as legitimate as standard EnglishThe Great Depression brought the movement to an end
5 The Poets Claude McKay 1890-1948 Born and raised in Jamaica First wrote poems in the Jamaican dialectIn 1914 he moved to Harlem and worked odd jobs while writing & publishingMcKay’s poems often voice his ambivalent and defiant feelings about black life in the United States
6 Countee CullenGrew up in NYC a brilliant student already writing and publishing in high schoolEarned a Master’s degree from Harvard and edited the important African American magazine OpportunityAlthough his style was influenced by British Romantic poets, he was repeatedly drawn to write about black issues
7 Langston HughesThe most well known Harlem Renaissance poet, he wrote 15 volumes of poetry, 6 novels, 3 books of short stories, and 11 playsInfluenced greatly by Whitman’s free verseHughes used the repetitive structure of blues and the loose rhythms of jazz to “explain and illuminate the black condition in America”
8 One of the first African-American professors at New York University. James W. JohnsonAmerican author, politician, diplomat, critic, journalist, poet, anthologist, educator, lawyer, songwriter, and early civil rights activist.Remembered best for his leadership within the NAACP & his novels, poems, and collections of folklore.One of the first African-American professors at New York University.