Harlem Renaissance Jaren oates, madison reed, yasmine gaub, jenny mcdonald

Influence of Music

  • In the Harlem Renaissance, many black people had bands and branched out in the musical part of life
  • Music become more than just white people playing tunes, it was now black people also with jazz and fun
  • One of the originators of a big band jazz was Duke Ellington, who was a turned pianist, composer, and band leader- he got his start at Barron's Cabaret, a Harlem joint where Jazz flourished
  • Others, like Ferdinand "Jelly Roll" Morton were also an influence and very talented

Literature of the 20's

  • Just like African-American bands, there were also many black people coming out as writers and changing the way of literature
  • The most talented Harlem writer and poet of the decade was Langston Hughes
  • He was working as a busboy at a Washington hotel when he was discovered by Vachel Lindsay, a popular poet
  • He became articulate and passionate spokesman for American Americans in the 1920's and beyond- he also wrote novels, short stories, experimental theater pieces and an autobiography

The Weary Blues

This was an example of Langston's poetry, a couple of the lines in it are:

Droning a drowsy syncopated tune,

Rocking back and forth to a mellow croon,

I heard a Negro play.

Down on Lenox Avenue the other night

By the pale dull pallor of an old gas light

He did a lazy sway. . . .

He did a lazy sway. . . .

Nightclubs and Fun

  • Harlem nightclubs came around this time like everything else, people began dancing more scandelous and outrageouslyand black and whites hung out together
  • Harlem became popular and lively
  • African-American entertainers wowed audiences of all races and whites went to clubs like Connie's Inn and the Cotton Club
  • Most patrons were white and most entertainers were black
  • It was the black jazz players, musicians who traced their heritage tot he crazy-quilt racial and ethic stew of New Orleans, who made a lasting mark on American music

Art and its blossoming

  • Black people started blossoming everywhere like both music and writing, but also art and painting started coming up and being discovered
  • Artists made significant contribution that focused on the culture and history of black Americans
  • Laura Wheeler (Picture 2) painted scenes from the lives of the small number of upper-class African-Americans
  • Aaron Douglas (Picture 1) became known for his illustrations and black-and-white drawings
  • His goal was to interpret what he understood to be the spiritual identity and African roots of blacks in the U.S through art


Created with images by Patrick SuIIivan - "IMG_3782" • ky_olsen - "Duke Ellington, Aquarium, New York, N.Y., ca. Nov. 1946" • shrinkin'violet - "the dj booth at papillon nightclub"

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