The Jazz Scene
William Henry Webb, also known as Chick Webb, was an American jazz and swing drummer. He was born in Baltimore, and was diagnosed with tuberculosis of the spine. He used the money he saved up as a paperboy to buy his first drum kit. At the age of eleven, he was playing drums professionally. By the age of seventeen he had moved to Harlem and started his own band. The group he led became the house band for the Savory Ballroom. He became one of the most well-regarded band leaders and drummers of Swing. At the Savory Ballroom's "Battle of the Bands" Webb usually won and was called the King of Swing.
Louis Armstrong is one of the most well-known musicians of the Harlem Renaissance. Born to a poor family in New Orleans, Armstrong started out playing in small clubs. He also played at funerals and parades around New Orleans. In 1922, however, Armstrong was invited to play in the second cornet of a Creole Jazz Band in Chicago. But after only two years, he moved to New York City to play in the Fletcher Henderson Orchestra at the Rose-land Ballroom. He appeared on Broadway in 1929. He married a dancer from the Cotton Club in 1942. All through the 1950's and 1960's he appeared in many films and went on many tours.
Festus Claudius McKay, better known as Claude McKay, was a key figure in the Harlem Renaissance, a prominent literary movement of the 1920s. His work ranged from vernacular verse celebrating peasant life in Jamaica to fairly militant poems challenging white authority in America, and from generally straightforward tales of black life in both Jamaica and America to more philosophically ambitious fiction addressing instinctual/intellectual duality.
Within 10 years of arriving in Harlem, Wallace Thurman gained many employments such as ghost writer, a publisher, an editor and a writer of novels, plays and articles. He was the editor of The Messenger.
Langston Hughes was a writer, whose pieces ranged from novels, to plays. He wrote short stories, children’s books, translations, and anthologies as well.
Zora Neale Hurston
Zora Neale Hurston during the Harlem Renaissance, she befriended some very famous writers, such as Langston Hughes. By 1935, she had published a handful of short stories, articles, as well as a novel, Jonah’s Gourd Vine.
Lois Jones attended the School of Museum of Fine Art, Boston, during a time of strong discrimination against African Americans. She entered her works into exhibitions that did not recognize African American artist by having white friends deliver the paintings. In other cases, prizes awarded to her were taken away and given to her white competitors. Despite these challenges Jones prevailed as an artist.
The Harlem Society
The rivers represent major aspects of African American history, such as, home (the Congo), slavery (the Nile), and the Civil War (the Mississippi).
There was more freedom here and because the community was so close together, everyone could encourage each other to do more.
This is the time when African Americans are trying to be more involved in society and gain their rights. This poem is how Hughes declares his equality.
The Harlem Renaissance was a tough time for African Americans who were trying to gain there freedom. People complain about little things when other people have it harder. The African Americans learned that they needed to be grateful for what they have, just like people of our time should be.