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. Since opera was not as popular among African Americans and people of color, they were denied the opportunity to perform it. When you think of opera, you probably think of white people performing it.  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, 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.


1910 — 1922
Vol. 19, No. 3
                            The Opportunity: Social Progress


The Crisis, (1923), cover art






Works Cited

The crisis (1923). Pratt Institute. (n.d.). Retrieved March 9, 2022, from

Wikimedia Foundation. (2021, December 29). Gwendolyn B. Bennett. Wikipedia. Retrieved March 9, 2022, from journals: Crisis.

Modernist Journals | Crisis. (n.d.). Retrieved May 10, 2022, from

Modernist journals: Crisis. A record of the darker races. vol. 19, no. 3. Modernist Journals | Crisis. A Record of the Darker Races. Vol. 19, No. 3. (n.d.). Retrieved May 10, 2022, from 

“Social Progress”. Opportunity. 1925, p  62.

Herskovits, J. Melville “Preliminary Observations in a Study of Negro-White Crossing”. Opportunity. 1925, p. 72.

HARRIS, DONALD. On Company Time: American Modernism in the Big Magazines. COLUMBIA UNIV Press, 2016.

Leave a Reply