The Harlem Renaissance was a remarkable period during which African Americans experienced many obstacles and victories from the 1920s to the 1930s. As they over came these challenges, they established social progress and had a series of social accomplishments. The Harlem Renaissance was the upbringing of Social progress, and magazines and novels of this period represented the accomplishments of African Americans. Black people overcame racial injustice in order to obtain a better education, a better career, a better future, and better prospects. Black people made massive progress in the areas of art and writing (poetry), music (opera), and education. Around this time period, African Americans began to be recognized for their efforts to expand and enhance their culture, acquire respect, and advocate for their rights. Social progress and racial uplift is significant to educate people today about the uplifting of black people and steps towards equality and recognition of black achievements. Typically, African Americans were viewed as merely labor and, before that, possessions. White people disproportionately imposed dispossession on African Americans. Harlem Renaissance literature indicates valuable African Americans’ contributions to a society that were often neglected and misinterpreted. My first 3 blogs demonstrate how the Harlem Renaissance accelerated black culture and now what black people overcame. During this time period, people gained knowledge and educate themselves about what African Americans have gone through and their upbringing of succeeding and black excellence.
Beginning with W.E.B DuBois, with the Crisis magazine that had an impact and was very popular and was mainly concentrated on African American history, politics, culture, social injustice, and their rights. Crisis Magazine had a representation for African Americans and reshaped people’s opinions on African Americans. The implications of “the New Negro “ is the Crisis Magazine on having a voice for African Americans to speak their truths and facts to educate other people. According to Donal Harris in Printing the Color Line in The Crisis “However, in 1910 another kind of magazine, the African American monthly, specifically The Crisis, emerged with the conscious desire to reshape the style, size, and color of commercial periodicals as well as the implicit race of the people who read and wrote them.” (Harris, 62). These covers of the Crisis Magazine show the experience of how African Americans had issues with racial stereotypes and racial discrimination and try to correct the stereotypes. These covers were supposed to be the new representation of the New Black America. The purpose of these covers was to overcome the stereotypes of African Americans. These covers also show and determine on how it was moving, how they showed African American accomplishments, and how they influenced. These covers of The Crisis Magazine are for readers in the world and African Americans as it helps them not only change the image of African Americans in the public eye. As well as help combat the narrative of the stereotypical and racism that was going on. This magazine also tries to have a voice for African Americans to expand and increase their culture and to gain respect, and to advocate for their rights. This can also help to open opportunities for their future. In the United States, African Americans were not acknowledged by the public and were not treated well.
Viewing all of these covers, they are so descriptive, natural, and real, which made me visualize and interpret what W.E.B Du Bois was attempting to do with these covers. Based on the Crisis Magazine, what makes African Americans and Blacks American is having the freedom and independence to have their own choice and able to have opportunities for their future. For instance, in the Crisis Magazine in Vol. 18, No. 1 (1919-05-01) and Vol. 17, No. 5 (1919-03-01) they show on how many African Americans entered for World War I, which shows loyalty and being proud, and wanting to fight for their country. Another example of what makes African Americans American is based on what they have been through. They weren’t able to have an education but now they have the freedom and choice. For example in the Crisis Magazine in Vol. 24, No. 4 (1922-08-01) this shows and represents in the cover that African Americans are wanting to have an education and a career for their future. The covers are for African American descents can use the cover of crisis as a visual representation of what their culture has achieved and accomplished over the years. The Crisis wasn’t just a news magazine; it was a step towards equality and recognition of black achievements.
In Survey Graphic Harlem Mecca of the New Negro “The Making of Harlem” by James Weldon Johnson. Harlem became a place that doesn’t necessarily have ownership because due to the culture, art, literature, and music. Harlem was only the beginning of something new that puts America’s culture into shock. This made African Americans come together in Harlem to search for a new future and new opportunities and to become themselves. They also had the same interests of progressing and getting ahead without leaving behind their customs, culture, and beliefs, developing in this way. According to James Weldon Wilson, In the Making of Harlem, it states “Harlem is indeed the great Mecca for the sight-seer, the pleasure-seeker, the curious, the adventurous, the enterprising, the ambitious and the talented of the whole Negro world; for the lure of it has reached down to every island of the Carib Sea and has penetrated even into Africa.” (Wilson, 13). This quote determines that African Americans wanted to develop to grow and to achieve, and to have ambition and talent. They developed many careers such as politics, arts, music, beauty, and entertainment. For example, in Black Culture in Bloom: The Harlem Renaissance by Richard Worth it states, “The Harlem Renaissance gave African Americans like A’Lelia Walker an opportunity to be proud of their success. Harlem had become the rage. Going uptown to Harlem was a popular fad that attracted many New Yorkers and travelers. The popularity of Harlem helped bring success to the writers, entertainers, and artists of the Harlem Renaissance.”(Worth, 75). This shows that the tireless struggle of African Americans to progress and teach their culture, which they are proud of, had a good result in many outstanding African Americans in art, music, and other fields.
The progress of African Americans during the Harlem Renaissance was changing in the “Social Progress” in the Opportunity Magazine. African Americans have been achieving and succeeding with art, music, writing, and education. Around this time, African Americans have been acknowledged and received recognition to expand and increase their culture and to gain respect, and to advocate for their rights. This can also help to open opportunities for their future.
African Americans were fighting and trying to have opportunities that enlightened themselves in different aspects, having an education, theatre, music, art, politics, and entertainment. Some of those people who sought for opportunities and became successful that I mentioned in my blog post are Gwendolyn B. Bennett, Carl Van Vechtim, and Senator Adelbert H. Roberts. Many African Americans who started standing out because they kept searching for opportunities to get what they wanted and kept going to help their community and unity. According to Word, Image, and the New Negro by Anne Elizabeth Carroll it states “Furthermore, while the primary purpose of Opportunity’s studies and news stories about African Americans’ achievements is perhaps to define African Americans as capable of integration and accomplishments, they also assert that American society would benefit if African Americans were granted greater opportunities.”( Caroll, 56). This represents and determines that African Americans are capable of having a better education and career, having a successful future for themselves and receiving better opportunities.
During the Harlem Renaissance Era, social progress and racial uplift is very important to enlighten people about the uplifting of black people and steps towards equality and recognition of black achievements. African Americans have expanded and increased their culture and to gain respect and to fight for their rights. The literature, essays, and artwork of the Harlem Renaissance demonstrate the many values and views that are forming and changing during the period. Which can show that African Americans have seen success and black greatness as a result of their upbringing.
HARRIS, DONALD. On Company Time: American Modernism in the Big Magazines. COLUMBIA UNIV Press, 2019.
Harlem, Mecca of the new negro. Yale University Library. (n.d.). Retrieved May 10, 2022, from https://collections.library.yale.edu/catalog/17368696
Modernist journals: Crisis. Modernist Journals | Crisis. (n.d.). Retrieved May 10, 2022, from https://modjourn.org/journal/crisis/
Modernist journals: Crisis. A record of the darker races. vol. 18, no. 5. Modernist Journals | Crisis. A Record of the Darker Races. Vol. 18, No. 5. (n.d.). Retrieved May 10, 2022, from https://modjourn.org/issue/bdr512492/
Modernist journals: Crisis. A record of the darker races. vol. 17, no. 5. Modernist Journals | Crisis. A Record of the Darker Races. Vol. 17, No. 5. (n.d.). Retrieved May 10, 2022, from https://modjourn.org/issue/bdr511760/
Modernist journals: Crisis. A record of the darker races. vol. 24, no. 4. Modernist Journals | Crisis. A Record of the Darker Races. Vol. 24, No. 4. (n.d.). Retrieved May 10, 2022, from https://modjourn.org/issue/bdr521604/
Worth, Richard. Black Culture in Bloom : The Harlem Renaissance, Rosen Publishing Group, 2020. ProQuest Ebook Central, https://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/baruch/detail.action?docID=6228046.
Anne Elizabeth Carroll, Word, Image, and the New Negro : Representation and Identity in the Harlem Renaissance(Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2005).
The progress of African Americans during the Harlem Renaissance was changing in the “Social Progress” in the Opportunity Magazine. African Americans have been achieving and succeeding with art, music, writing, and education. Around this time African Americans have been acknowledged and received recognition to expand and increase their culture and to gain respect and to advocate for their rights. This can also help to open opportunities for their future. Many of the people that have succeeded and received recognition for example novelists such as Carl Van Vechtim and Otto K. Khan; chairman of the Board Directors of the Metropolitan Opera Company. Most African Americans that have achieved it were also by having an education and preparation and have careers which were Gwendolyn B. Bennett, Senator Adelbert H. Roberts, and R. Maurice Moss. Gwendolyn B. Bennett assisted Pratt Institute- Brooklyn, Columbia University, and among other universities for Art. According to the Social Progress, it claims “Miss Bennett’s artwork while at Pratt Institute attracted considerable attention, and some of her drawings have appeared as covers and illustrations in the Crisis and Messenger. Her poetry has equalled her art. One of her poems appears in the current issue of OPPORTUNITY.”( page 62). Gwendolyn B. Bennett is one of the most successful African American women that has worked for the Crisis Magazine and Opportunity Magazine. Also, her artworks and poems she wrote were both published in the Crisis Magazine and Opportunity Magazine. One of the cover arts that Gwendolyn B. Bennett made and was published in the Crisis Magazine was called “The Crisis Christmas Number” in 1923. Also some of her poems that were published as well from Opportunity Magazine and Crisis Magazine that were called “Heritage” in The Opportunity in December 1923, “Nocturne” in the Crisis in November 1923, and “To Usward” in the Crisis and Opportunity in May 1924. Another person that has received an education and made a career for himself is Senator Adelbert H. Roberts, who graduated from Northwestern University Law School and was the first African American to be elected as a senator in Chicago. R. Maurice Moss also made a career but to help others. According to “Social Progress” it states “Mr. Moss is a graduate of Columbia University and has spent a year at the New York School of Social Work. His experience includes boys’ and athletic direction in community service and Y. M. C. A. work, and surveys of the Negro population in several communities.”( page 62). Based on the reading, the “Social Progress” in the Opportunity Magazine determines on how African Americans have succeeded, accomplished, and made a better future for themselves.
Although Social Progress showed many positive notes on how African Americans have many accomplishments. After having suffered discrimination in schools because of the color of their skin, factions since they were children, they forged a better future for their new generations with much sacrifice, perseverance, and better opportunities for education. According to Preliminary Observations in a Study of Negro-White Crossing by Melville J. Herskovits it states “The population of Harlem, as has been mentioned, where the school in which the boys were measured is situated, is of great known mixture, —thus, of the adults from whom genealogies were obtained only two claimed to be full blooded Negroes.” (Herskovits, page 72). The children were being measured based on their weight, height, head size, face features especially nostrils and lips. For example, in Preliminary Observations in a Study of Negro-White Crossing by Melville J. Herskovits it demonstrates “Narrow lips, thin nostrils— (NT) -31 Broad lips, thin nostrils— ( BT ) -25 Narrow lips, wide nostrils— (NW ).— 25 Broad lips, wide nostrils— (BW ) -35” (Herskovits, page 72). This reading determines on how Preliminary Observations in a Study of Negro-White Crossing in the Opportunity magazine shows how African Americans were being discriminated against based on their facial features, the color of skin, and body. In the reading “The Preliminary Observations in a Study of Negro-White Crossing” by Melville J. Herskovits speaking about the color of skin, facial features, and segregation can connect with “Printing the Color Line in The Crisis” from American Modernism in Big Magazines” by Donal Harris because Du Bios talks about this certain cover Art in the Crisis called “Woman of Santa Lucia”. While looking at this cover art you would think it would be a good representation of African Americans to the public but in reality, African Americans feel that it isn’t the right representation of them. According to “Printing the Color Line in The Crisis” from American Modernism in Big Magazines by Donal Harris” by Donal Harris states “In the 1920 Crisis article “In Black,” he writes, “Colored folk, like all folk, love to see themselves in pictures, but they are afraid to see the types which the white world has caricatured.”( Harris, page 82). This quote determines that African Americans didn’t want African Americans that were “too black” because they wanted new forms of representation and they also didn’t want to be seen as the racial stereotypes.
Based on these passages in the Opportunity Magazine, Crisis Magazine, and Printing the Color Line in The Crisis” from American Modernism in Big Magazines they showed how African Americans have struggled and have been through racial discrimination. Over the years, African Americans overcame this to have a better education, career, have a future for themselves, and want better opportunities.
The crisis (1923). Pratt Institute. (n.d.). Retrieved March 9, 2022, from https://www.pratt.edu/the-work/gallery/the-crisis-1923/
Wikimedia Foundation. (2021, December 29). Gwendolyn B. Bennett. Wikipedia. Retrieved March 9, 2022, from https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gwendolyn_B._Bennett