The Harlem Renaissance

1. What historical, social, and cultural forces shaped the Harlem Renaissance?

The Harlem Renaissance blossomed African American creative arts associated with the larger New Negro movement, a multifaceted phenomenon that helped set the directions African American writers and artists would pursue throughout the twentieth century. The social foundations of the movement included the Great Migration of African Americans from rural to urban spaces and from South to North. Rising levels of literacy, the development of the NAACP, "uplifting" the race, and many other things.

2.What does Johnson's poem say about the vitality of the city during the Harlem Renaissance?

He still sees the beauty of the city even though there are bad things happening

3.What details does Hurston use to present her views on succeeding despite social barriers?

She sent a letter to Professor Grover to request to give a concert of negro folklore to accurately represent African life

4. How does Hughes use the analogy of rivers to express his perception of African American heritage and history?

Rivers are similar to the soul and never ending. He says his soul is deep like rivers so he can thrive and understand. He says his soul has grown deep like the drivers since the idea that it grows further emphasizes the organic nature of knowledge and one's soul.

5. Why was Harlem the center of the renaissance of African American arts in the 1920's a James Weldon Johnson's 1933 description of the Harlem Renaissance.

African Americans moving into one area. Harlem was the center because they could afford it.

6.How did the Harlem Renaissance impact American society during the 1920's and beyond?

It added African American art into a culture. It's the first time that African Americans had an impact in culture.

7. In what ways did W.E.B. Dubios and Booker T. Washington influence politics during the Harlem Renaissance?

Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. Dubios both were avid civil rights advocates. Washington's view was to use passive ways to get civil rights for blacks. Dubios wanted immediate action and change for blacks. He felt that the blacks had to be aggressive and take their rights.

8.How do the arts communicate historical data and perspective?

Jazz music revolutionized the rythym and beat that was prominant at the time. A lot of people didn't realize the level of talent that was in Harlem, so the literature shown the people how talented Harlem really is.

9.What were the significant economic events that preceded the Great Migration, a movement of African Americans from the South to the North.

Many African Americans starting taking advantage of the industrial jobs that arose during World War I after they moved North

10. What was there about the Harlem neighborhood that encouraged so many artists to produce great work at this time?

Because they were in a depression and they connected it to civil rights and reform orginizations

11. What is the historical significance of "I, Too" by Langston Hughes?

It shows how African Americans were treated badly even though they were still Americans and should have had all the rights that the white men had

12. What prompted the theme of "Mother to Son" by Langston Hughes and how is this theme applicable in any time period?

The theme was prompted by how the African Americans were mistreated. People have always been in some way done wrong because of their race and this has gone on forever and still does today.

The Jazz Scene

From the Harlem Renaissance came the Jazz Age. Jazz was born during this time by African Americans. Jazz was America's first authentic form of art.

Billie Holiday (singer)

Billie rose as a social phenomenon during the 50's, but she began singing in jazz clubs as a teenager during the Jazz Age. She had big hits like, "What a little Moonlight Can Do," and "Miss Brown to You."


Women in the 20's starting committing so called "violations" by cutting their hair, wearing short dresses, and a new form of dancing. Dancing picked up during this time because of Jazz. Jazz was easier to move to and made the people feel more freely about what they were doing.


The Harlem Renaissance is also known as the Black Literary Renaissance. African Americans used poetry to explain how they feel or to show how they were mistreated along with many other reasons. There were many famous poets from the Harlem Renaissance but Langston Hughes was probably the most prominent with some of his famous works like "I, Too" and "Mother to Son."

James Weldon Johnson (writers)

African Americans used writing as another way to express how they felt. One of the famous writers was James Johnson. He was a civil rights activists as well as a writer. He wrote "The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man" this didn't really attract attention until he published it under his name at first he published it anonymously. Johnson died in a car wreck in the 30's at the age of 67.


Artist during the Renaissance attempted to win control of their people from white denigration. They started using styles related to African Traditions and folklore. Prior to WWI the African American painters did not concern themselves with the African American matter.


There were many important things involved in the political aspect of the Harlem Renaissance. This is the time when African Americans started getting the rights they deserved.

Harlem Society

The Harlem Renaissance was centered around the Harlem neighborhood in New York. Harlem was home to a growing African American "middle-class." Many African Americans moved to Harlem during the first World War because of the labor needed in the North.