Harlem Renaissance 1918-1935 Program

“An’ the stars began to fall” by Aaron Douglas; Template: The New Negro by Alain Locke. Pic By Barahona003 [CC BY-SA 3.0
The Harlem Renaissance 1918-1935: A People Find Themselves; A Nation Discovers More of Itself

The First World War and its end brought many changes to the culture of the United States. One of the groups impacted were African Americans who began leaving the South in a period that became known as the Great Migration.

This migration was due in part to the opportunities created by the war and in part by the violence after the Civil War in the reconstructed South. About five million black southern Americans moved to the Northeast and Midwest, mostly to cities to set up new and hopefully better lives. One of those cities was a borough of NYC called Harlem.

The black population’s isolation in Harlem along with new opportunities and avenues to prosperity created a cultural renaissance of black self-reflection, art, literature, dance, music, and industry that was witnessed and embraced by a wider American audience, although not the entire American audience.

The African Bantu word, Ubuntu, translated as “I am because we are,” is a good way to understand the Harlem Renaissance phenomena that represents different kinds of black people coming together to form a more unified identity together.

The Harlem Renaissance represents not only black life at one time and place, but a new era of black and American culture in general.

What We’ll Do:

In this program we look at what it means to be undervalued by your culture and look towards self-affirming responses and resistance to being undervalued through the experiences of black Americans from about 1918 to 1935. We look at people finding their American voice and how their singing changed the American tune forever. (Early to mid Twentieth century 1900 to 1950).