The Harlem Renaissance


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"A brief guide to the Harlem Renaissance." From the Academy of American Poets.

Locke, Alain. "Enter the New Negro," Survey Graphic March 1925. From the National Humanities Center.

Johnson, James Weldon. Black Manhattan: Account of the Development of Harlem (1930). Johnson describes the Harlem of 1930, "a black city located in the heart of white Manhattan....it strikes the uninformed observer as a phenomenon, a miracle straight out of the skies." He recounts the African American experience in New York beginning in the seventeenth century, through the effects of the Revolution, the Civil War and the abolition of slavery, and through the earliest black bohemia in New York and the migrants to Harlem from all over, and finally to the emergence of Harlem as "the Negro metropolis."

"Négritude." On Négritude, a cultural movement launched in 1930s Paris by French-speaking black intellectuals from France's colonies in Africa and the Caribbean, which argued for a new race consciousness for blacks. The Négritude movement influenced, and was influenced by, Harlem Renaissance artists, writers and intellectuals who fled to France to escape racism and segregation in the US, including Langston Hughes, James Weldon Johnson, Richard Wright, and Claude McKay. Website by the New York Public Library.

The Harlem Renaissance: a guide to materials at the British Library, by Jean Kemble, 1997. An introduction to the Harlem Renaissance, and an extensive list of writers, artists, and musicians associated with it.

Gosselin, Adrienne Johnson. "Beyond the Harlem Renaissance: The Case for Black Modernist Writers." Remarking that "American literary history views the Harlem Renaissance as an aesthetic movement contemporaneous with, but separate from, Euro-American Modernism," Gosselin sees American modernism as a national cultural movement that includes black writers of the Harlem Renaissance. Modern Language Studies 26, 4 (Autumn 1996) pp 37-45 [free at jstor].

Janken, Kenneth R. "African American and Francophone black intellectuals during the Harlem Renaissance." On the importance of Europe and especially France in African American intellectual life between the two world wars. Historian Spring 1998.


bibliographies & teaching resources

"Harlem Renaissance." A list of 60 books on the Harlem Renaissance; clicking on a book's name brings up a commentary and summary of the content. From Collaborative Bibliographies, Georgetown Univ.

"Race Relations in the U.S." A list of recommended books on literature and race relations, from the American Association of Univ. Presses.

"African American Odyssey." An online exhibit from the Library of Congress, with pictures of original documents and commentary, with sections on Slavery; Free Blacks in the Antebellum Period; Abolition; The Civil War; Reconstruction; Booker T. Washington Era; World War I and Postwar Society; the Great Depression, New Deal, and World War II; Civil Rights.

"Do You Speak American? Lesson plans for teaching written and spoken English, covers use of standard English, prescriptivism and descriptivism, African American English, Spanish and Chicano English, etc. The topic may be approached in teaching about the Harlem Renaissance and the New Negro Renaissance, since these movements broke with Standard American English and introduced new colloquial voices into literature.

The Association for the Study of the Worldwide African Diaspora. The web site for ASWAD, an interdisciplinary association of scholars studying the dispersal of people of African descent throughout the world.


Poets & Writers

Bontemps, Arna

Brown, Sterling

Cullen, Countee

Du Bois, W.E.B.

Hughes, Langston

Hurston, Zora Neale

Johnson, James Weldon

Larsen, Nella

Locke, Alain

McKay, Claude

Toomer, Jean


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