A celebration of the Harlem Renaissance

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A Celebration of the Harlem Renaissance
Name ______________ US History

Determined to make a new start for themselves, 750,000 African Americans migrated from the segregated rural south to northern cities seeking jobs and a better life. One in four landed in the Harlem section of Manhattan, north of 125th street above central park, making it the largest black community in the United States. In Harlem, black Americans had their own world…a world in which almost everyone was black, including the police, business owners, landlords, teachers, etc. Secure in this world, and sheltered from the bitter racism found in much of the United States, black artists, poets, musicians, writers and philosophers felt free to express themselves, and to reflect on the black experience in America. In doing so, they helped create a new identity for black Americans.

Task: You will be assigned two primary sources from the Harlem Renaissance: One piece of art and one text source (song, poem or speech excerpt) Your task is to analyze EACH source, and then answer the following questions in complete and coherent sentences about each, making specific reference to your sources for support. You may need to spend some time really looking at and thinking about your sources because the message(s) may not be right in front of your face.

  1. How does your primary source contribute to the “New Negro” idea? This is the

idea that blacks felt positive about being black!...Because black people are attractive, talented, hard-working and spiritual people who have made, and are making (in the 20’s) positive contributions to American society.

  1. How does your primary source reveal and/or challenge the painful nature of racism in America?

*Note…depending on your sources, you may find evidence to answer both questions, or

you may only find evidence to answer one.

Class Presentation: You will share your sources with the class (project your painting, play your song, etc.) When you do, you are expected to explain each sources’ meaning with the class and explain to us how each source contributed to

  1. The “New Negro” idea

  2. Revealing/challenging racism

Major Figures of the Harlem Renaissance

W.E.B. DuBois Marcus Garvey

Arturo Schomberg Rev. Adam Clayton Powell Sr.


Langston Hughes James Weldon Johnson Countee Cullen

Arna Bontemps Claude McKay Anne Spencer

Esther Popel Angelina Weld Grimke

William H. Johnson (painter) Palmer Hayden (painter)

Aaron Douglas (painter) James Van Der Zee (photog)

Lois Mailou Jones (painter) Jacob Lawrence (painter)

Romare Bearden Ellis Wilson (Painter)

Edward Burra (painter) Hale Woodruff (painter)

Willis Richardson (playwright) Florence Mills (actress)
Authors (books/short stories)

Gwendolyn B. Bennet Marion Vera Cuthbert

Alice Dunbar Nelson Jessie Redmon Fauset

Jean Toomer Zora Neale Hurston

Ida B. Wells Barnett Nella Larsen

Charles Chestnutt


Duke Ellington (Jazz) Billie Holliday (Jazz)

Louis Armstrong (Jazz) Joe “King” Oliver (Creole jazz)

Mamie Smith (Blues/jazz) Ethel Waters (vocalist/actress)

Benny Carter (Jazz/Big Band) Ella Fitzgerald (Jazz)

Cab Calloway (Jazz) Bessie Smith (Blues/Jazz)

Eubie Blake (Composer/Pianist)

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