Harlem Renaissance

From 1919 to 1926, a large number of African Americans moved from the rural South to northern cities such as Chicago, New York City, and Washington, DC. Many of these African Americans were leaving poverty-stricken living conditions of dirt floors, news papered-walls, and one room shacks. Upon arrival in the urban cities, they found a difference in life-style. With new opportunities came a spirit of celebration. This spirit was encouraged and artist of all media blossomed.

In 1925, Alain LeRoy Locke coined the term The New Negro after a book of the same name, to describe cultural celebration that was occurring. Later the term changed to Harlem Renaissance. Poetry, art, jazz, blues, and literature went into new directions that expressed the feelings of the time.

Artist of the time include Langston Hughes, Duke Ellington, Bessie Smith, Cab Calloway and Josephine Baker. These were the days of the Cotton Club and the Apollo Theater.  America was influenced by the expressions of African American culture. The legacy of these and other artist influenced artist of the forties, fifties, and sixties.

You can find collections from this period in the Library of Congress as well as their website.

Exhibits include:

• African-American Odyssey: World War I and Postwar Society: The Harlem Renaissance and the Flowering of American Creativity

Harlem Renaissance and the Flowering of Creativity

This exhibits resources about the Harlem Renaissance.

• William P. Gottlieb: Photographs from the Golden Age of Jazz

Photographs from the Golden Age of Jazz

This exhibits photographer Gottlieb’s photos of jazz musicians and singers such as Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Thelonious Monk, and Dizzy Gillespie.

• American Treasures of the Library of Congress-William  H. Johnson. “Street Musicians”

“Street Musicians”

This exhibits paintings by Harlem Renaissance artist William H. Johnson.

2 Responses to “Harlem Renaissance”

  1. hello i’ve been browsing this website for some time. It has been very informative. Just thought i would post and say thank you!

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