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The Harlem Renaissance

Initially called the New Negro Movement, the Harlem Renaissance was the rise of African-American culture in the 1920s and 1930s. It was at first centred in the Harlem district of New York City but soon spread to other urban areas. Though now perhaps best known for the writers, it started as much as anything else as a political movement, opposed to racism and segregation under the leadership of W. E. B. DuBois and Marcus Garvey, who celebrated black culture. While there had already been an extensive black culture, a sudden spurt took place, with works by Claude McKay, Jean Tooomer and others. With the help of the magazine, Fire!, with contributions by writers such as Zora Neale Hurston and Langston Hughes as well as Alain Locke‘s book The New Negro, the movement took off. It involved not only writing but also art, music, theatre and night life. This combination of talent led to the production of many works in these fields, some of which continue to influence later generations. The Depression which, as far as Harlem was concerned, led to the Harlem race riots of 1935, and the greater focus on economic and social rather than cultural issues, led to the gradual decline of the Harlem Renaissance. Some of the key players moved away, some to Paris. However, the Renaissance left a legacy that had a huge impact on US culture in general and African-American culture, in particular.

Key authors

Arna Bontemps
Countee Cullen
Langston Hughes
Zora Neale Hurston
Nella Larsen
James Weldon Johnson
Claude McKay
Jean Tooomer

Books on The Harlem Renaissance

Lois Brown: The Encyclopedia of the Harlem Literary Renaissance
Veronica Chambers: The Harlem Renaissance
Jim Haskins: The Harlem Renaissance
Nathan Huggins: Harlem Renaissance
George Hutchinson: The Harlem Renaissance in Black and White
David Levering Lewis (editor): The Portable Harlem Renaissance Reader
Cary D. Wintz and Paul Finkelman (editors): Encyclopedia of the Harlem Renaissance

Other links

Harlem Renaissance
Harlem Renaissance
Harlem Renaissance
The Harlem Renaissance
The Harlem Renaissance
The Harlem Renaissance
Harlem Renaissance – A Brief Introduction
A Brief Guide to the Harlem Renaissance
The Harlem Renaissance and the Flowering of Creativity
Harlem Renaissance: Pivotal Period in the Development of Afro-American Culture
The Harlem Renaissance (art)
African-American Art and the Political Dissent during the Harlem Renaissance
The Impact of the Music of the Harlem Renaissance on Society
Harlem Renaissance Women
Drop Me Off in Harlem
The Harlem Renaissance Births a Black Culture
The Harlem Renaissance: Black American Traditions
The Social Contributions of The Harlem Renaissance
A Guide to Harlem Renaissance Materials (Library of Congress)