The Harlem Renaissance:

A Decade of African American Creativity and Pride

By: Chika, Ginger, Henry, and Sierra

Introduction- Ginger

The Harlem Renaissance of the 1930's was a time of innovation; more and more people were becoming interested and excited about the new styles of music and art being created. Literature about African American rights was being published, while rights activists and educators were speaking and defending African American rights. Celebrities, like Louis Armstrong and "Duke" Ellington, were being born. And this new age of modernization was taking place in the heart of Harlem, New York. Because of the booming African American population of Harlem, soon it turned into a bustling city, full of music, art, and life. This craze of the arts wasn't just retained in Harlem, however; this is how one city changed the arts of the whole nation in merely one decade.

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BackgroundThe Harlem Renaissance was an art movement. It took place in the neighborhood of Harlem in New York City. The people would use things such as art, music, literature, and more "to destroy the wrongful stereotypes" (Jordan 4). Before the Harlem Renaissance, the blacks were wrongfully stereotyped and faced prejudice because of the things some people had heard or assumed. In fact, the Harlem renaissance was also used to help strugguling African Americans. Gifted African Americans would create organizations "to help the average black person rise above the prejudice and discrimination" (Kallen 8).
Connection to World-Sierra

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During the Harlem Renaissance there were both artists and activists. W.E.B. DuBois, one of the more famous activists, “is best known for his work with the National Association for the Advancement of colored people” (Jordan 5). The NAACP was founded in 1990 and is still working to promote equality today. This link will take you to their website so that you can read more about what their organization is about. NAACP Without this organization lynching may have continued and other irrational crimes targeted at African Americans. To Read more about W.E.B. DuBois refer to this link. W.E.B. DuBois

Connection to Literature-Sierra
Many views about African Americans changed during the Harlem Renaissance. For example, “white people in other cities began supporting the black cultural arts” (Kallen 40). This shows how over time white people began to accept African Americans for whom they are. This is very similar to how Atticus accepts Tom Robinson in the book To Kill a Mocking Bird. Atticus truly believes Tom is innocent, and he does not assume that because he is black he committed the crime. In fact, he is one of the few who actually attempts to defend him, " ' you know what we want' another man said.’Get aside from the door, Mr. Finch.' 'you can turn around and go home again, Walter,' Atticus said pleasantly" (Lee 151).
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Connection to Self-Sierra
Bullying is when someone targets another student and repeatedly acts upon the student with malicious intent. Racism,in my
external image untitled.gifpoint of view is a form of bullying. During the 1930s racism was quite common and was directly targeted at African Americans. However, over time African Americans realized if they exemplified their good qualities through art and music then they would be known for their paintings and sculptures rather than the color of their skin. In fact, some said “music, literature, plays, and paintings depicting black life flourished; black entrepreneurship thrived”(McLendon 4). So during times like the renaissance, many people were able to express their true identity and not be depicted as someone who is of lesser value than a white man.

Health and Social Education Connection-Chikaexternal image ChainGang.jpgThe Harlem Renaissance had many ties to Health and Social education. It affected people, by changing the way they thought of African Americans. The Harlem Renaissance introduced America to the beauty in African Americans. Up until this point they were only thought of as slaves, and different than others. The Harlem Renaissance was “an era in which African Americans celebrated their culture and enjoyed the unique experience of being celebrated” (Haskins 13). Due to this spiritual movement African Americans began to take pride in their selves, and stand up for what is right. This later became the basis for the Civil Rights Movement. Now, because of the Harlem Renaissance, African Americans would not have been given the opportunity to blossom into what they are today. The Harlem Renaissance has forever changed our society in this way.
The Harlem Renaissance also connects to Health and Social Education, because it promoted a sense of unity. People taking care and supporting others was something that came out of the Harlem Renaissance. For example: groups such as the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People “gave African Americans a sense of community" (Haskins 27). Today we can see how these groups have influenced us by observing our interactions with one another. Unity in the Harlem Renaissance was important because without it we would not have been introduced to different types of arts and culture concepts by the African Americans. For example, jazz was a genre of music that emerged from the Harlem Renaissance. People began to play and appreciate Jazz music. We often listen to Jazz and think of the Harlem Renaissance as the place where it originated. Without people come together things like this would not have been possible. The Harlem Renaissance encouraged people to come together.
Significance of the Harlem Renaissance- Ginger
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Anti-racism was a huge factor of the Harlem Renaissance, and “[The Harlem Renaissance] in some ways ushered in the civil rights movement ofthe late 1940’s and early 1950’s” (Harlem Renaissance: American Art and Literature, 2). By African Americans influencing American culture and becoming popular throughout the nation, they were diminishing conflict between Caucasians and African Americans. For example, “black people looked to the arts as a way of easing racial tension” (Kallen 40). Having art as an outlet for expression of African American culture and racial discrimination led for African Americans to have more influence in their society, which gave them a voice for the civil rights movement. Also, the people that were popular during the Renaissance and how they influenced American culture had an impact on the U.S. During this time period “a number of ‘first’ were met in terms of education, music, literature and arts” (Conn 1). Many monumental achievements were made during this time that outshone any standards that were set on art and African Americans from previous years. So, the antiracism factor to the Harlem Renaissance and the art that was created and surpassed the normal fashions of their culture are what impacted the nineteen thirties.

IB Learner Profile Trait Connection- Chika
“Art is dangerous. It is one of the attractions: when it ceases to be dangerous you don't want it." ~ Duke Ellington

This quote said by Duke Ellington discusses how art is a privilege that is well needed in our society. It addresses how artists took risks during the Harlem Renaissance to create new styles that we now enjoy. These people could be classified as risk-takers, because they took the steps and they had the courage to try something that may not have been appreciated by everyone. They were brave in creating the styles, and without their bravery, we would not have some of the styles that we have today. A good example is Jazz music.
Another IB learner trait that could have been observed during the Harlem Renaissance is communicator. Artist of the Harlem Renaissance found different ways to communicate their ideas to other people. Some ways they communicated their ideas was through music and art works such as paintings and murals. Because of these communication tools people of the Harlem Renaissance were able to understand the struggles of African Americans and whites through them.


Here is a video made by the Discovery channel on the Harlem Renaissance. It gives a brief overview, information about some of the writers of the time and how the Harlem Renaissance started.

Harlem Renaissance Venn Diagram

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Works Cited
Conn Bridget. “Famous People During the Harlem Renaissance.” EHow. Demand Media, 23 July 2010. Web. 14 Apr. 2013.

Harlem Renaissance (American Literature and Art): Encyclopedia Britannica Online. Encyclopedia Britannica, n.d. Web. 14 Apr. 2013.

Haskins, James. The Harlem Renaissance. Brookfield, CT: Millbrook, 1996. Print.
Jordan, Denise. Harlem Renaissance Artists. Chicago, Illinois: Heinemann Library, 2003.Print.

Kallen, Stuart A. The twentieth century and the Harlem Renaissance: a history of black people in America, 1880-1930. Edina, Minnesota: Abdo, 1990. Print.

Lee, Harper. To Kill A Mockingbird, Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott Company, 1960. Print.

McLendon, Jacquelyn Y. “Harlem Renaissance.” St. James Encyclopedia of popular culture. Ed. Sara Pendergast and Tom Pendergast. Vol. 2. Detroit: St. James Press, 2000. 365-367 Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 9 April 2013.

"The Harlem Renaissance [6,913 Views]." TeacherTube. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 May 2013. <>.

"History Poster Publish with Glogster." 22 May 2013. <>

"Harlem Renaissance Public Radio Special." 22 May 2013. <>

"The Harlem Renaissance Red River Radio" 22 May 2013 <>