21.4 The Harlem Renaissance

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Last updated: May 9, 2019

Zora Neale Hurston
A girl in Eatonville, Florida, in the early 1900s, she loved to read adventure stories and myths. After spending time with a traveling theater company and attending Howard University, she ended up in New York where she struggled to the top of African-American literary society by hard work, flamboyance, and, above all, grit. She portrayed the lives of poor, unschooled Southern blacks—in her words, “the greatest cultural wealth of the continent.

“Black is beautiful”
Black migration was an expression of their changing attitude toward themselves—an attitude perhaps best captured in a phrase first used around this time,

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Great Migration
Between 1910 and 1920, in a movement known as the ______________, hundreds of thousands of African Americans had uprooted themselves from their homes in the South and moved north to the big cities in search of jobs.

By the end of the decade, 5.2 million of the nation’s 12 million African Americans—over 40 percent—lived in cities.

National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)
Founded in 1919, this urged African Americans to protest racial violence.

“The Crisis”
Written by Du Bois as a platform for leading a struggle for civil rights.

James Weldon Johnson
A poet, lawyer, and NAACP executive secretary—the organization fought for legislation to protect African-American rights. As a school principal, newspaper editor, in Florida. In 1900, he wrote the lyrics for “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” the song that became known as the black national anthem.

W. E. B. Du Bois
A founding member of the NAACP, led a parade of 10,000 African-American men in New York to protest such violence. He wrote “the Crisis.

Ida B. Wells
The NAACP continued its campaign through antilynching organizations that had been established in 1892 by ___________.

Marcus Garvey
An immigrant from Jamaica, believed that African Americans should build a separate society. His different, more radical message of black pride aroused the hopes of many. In 1914, he founded the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA).

Oratory
The art of public speaking.

Harlem
A neighborhood on the Upper West Side of New York’s Manhattan Island. In the 1920s, It became the world’s largest black urban community, with residents from the South, the West Indies, Cuba, Puerto Rico, and Haiti.

Harlem Renaissance
Problems in the 1920s were eclipsed by a flowering of creativity called the ________________, a literary and artistic movement celebrating African-American culture.

Alain Locke
A Harvard-educated former Rhodes scholar. in 1925 he published “The New Negro.”

“The New Negro”
Written by Locke it was a landmark collection of literary works by many promising young African-American writers.

Claude McKay
A novelist, poet, and Jamaican immigrant, was a major figure whose militant verses urged African Americans to resist prejudice and discrimination. His poems also expressed the pain of life in the black ghettos and the strain of being black in a world dominated by whites.

“Cane”
Written by Jean Toomer , it was a mix of poems and sketches about blacks in the North and the South—was among the first full-length literary publications of the Harlem Renaissance.

Langston Hughes
He was the movement’s best-known poet. Many of His 1920s poems described the difficult lives of working-class African Americans.

Some of his poems moved to the tempo of jazz and the blues.

The Cotton Club
This was one of a number of fashionable entertainment clubs in Harlem. Although many venues like this place were segregated, white audiences packed the clubs to hear the new music styles of black performers such as Duke Ellington and Bessie Smith.

“Shuffle Along”
By Langston Hudges it was a black musical comedy popular in 1921. It included “Love Will Find a Way,” won popularity among white audiences. The show also spotlighted the talents of several black performers, including the singers Florence Mills, Josephine Baker, and Mabel Mercer.

Paul Robeson
The son of a one-time slave, became a major dramatic actor. His performance in Shakespeare’s Othello, first in London and later in New York City, was widely acclaimed.

Louis Armstrong
In 1922, a young trumpet player named ____________ joined Oliver’s group, which became known as the Creole Jazz Band. His talent rocketed him to stardom in the jazz world.

Fletcher Henderson’s Band
After two years in Chicago, in 1924 Louis Armstrong joined the____________________, then the most important big jazz band in New York City.

Edward Kennedy “Duke” Ellington
A jazz pianist and composer, led his ten-piece orchestra at the Cotton Club.

Cab Calloway
A talented drummer, saxophonist, and singer, formed another important jazz orchestra, which played at Harlem’s Savoy Ballroom and the Cotton Club, alternating with Duke Ellington.

Along with Louis Armstrong, he popularized “scat,” or improvised jazz singing using sounds instead of words.

Bessie Smith
A female blues singer, was perhaps the outstanding vocalist of the decade. She recorded on black oriented labels produced by the major record companies. She achieved enormous popularity and in 1927 became the highest-paid black artist in the world.

“Lift Every Voice and Sing”
James Johnson wrote this, the song that became known as the black national anthem.

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