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The Harlem Renaissance

I. Harlem Renaissance

A. An Outburst of Creativity


  1. Beginning around 1918, Harlem was home to many African American professionals, including authors, poets, artists, actors, dancers, composers, and musicians.
  2. With a growing sense of racial pride and a desire for social and political equality, a large outpouring of literature, art, and music began to be produced.
  3. Most of the works were based in some way on the experiences of blacks in America. 

B. Contributing Factors


  1. During the Great Migration, African Americans moved from rural areas to northern cities, including New York City's Harlem neighborhood.
  2. African Americans wanted their thoughts and ideas to be heard in their own words.
  3. Anger over racism. 

C. Home to National Organizations


Harlem was home to two of the most important African American organizations:

  1. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) was founded in 1909 to help advance the rights of African Americans.
  2. The National Urban League was founded in 1910 to help African Americans address the economic and social problems they encountered as they resettled in the urban North. 

D. Important Figures


  1. authors Alain Locke, W.E.B. DuBois, Marcus Garvey, James Weldon Johnson
  2. poets Langston Hughes, Countee Cullen, Claude McKay
  3. artists William H. Johnson, Aaron Douglas, Jacob Lawrence
  4. actors Josephine Baker, Paul Robeson, Charles Gilpin, Ethel Waters
  5. composers Duke Ellington, Eubie Blake, William Grant Still
  6. musicians Cab Calloway, Ella Fitzgerald, Fats Waller, Billie Holiday, Duke Ellington

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