Throughout the course, Literatures of the Harlem Renaissance. I’ve noticed that Harlem Renaissance writers focused on the contributions of black people in the fields of art, music, writing, and education, along with black refinement and its history, commencing with the Harlem Renaissance. I’d like to bring up black modernity as an important aspect of black refinement because we can see how black refinement plays out through different time periods. Such as how black leaders made a concerted effort to challenge long-held stereotypes about black people in America. My blog posts connect with the fundamental issue of black refinement and identity re-invention in different ways, How black leaders made a concerted effort to challenge long-held stereotypes about black people in America. I’d like to discuss how black people led the re-invention of black identity in America. My blog posts connect with the fundamental issue of black refinement and identity re-invention in different ways like bringing up black modernity as an important aspect of black refinement because we can see how black refinement plays out through history. with, Harlem —it’s golden age and the nuances of its exploitation I’m hoping that these blog posts will inform readers about some of the important contributions and how the key aspects of improving black representation in the fields of art and publications that influenced the transition, as well as some of the people that helped lead the movement.
”W. E. B. Du Bois was one of the few African American philosophers and writers who was preoccupied with this rhetorical issue. Du Bois’s books, speeches, and essays, as a relentless scholar and activist, return to the problems of African American rhetorical creation and practice time and time again. Furthermore, as a key participant in the Harlem Renaissance, his efforts to influence the development of black art in order to foster a black public voice is notable” W.E.B. Du Bois The Crisis, shows refinement, which is the act or process of improving something. The covers of The Crisis show the “normality” as well as the black perspective about the black experiences in America because it is a direct parallel of their experiences at the time. It shows or is an example of both the alienation and representation that Black people at this time wished to have. This Sambo figure and art, created by white people at the time, dehumanized Black people and reduced them to a caricature that was dismissed. This is why journals like The Crisis grew popular, especially among well-educated Black people, because it demonstrated that they were not stereotypes.
In Survey Graphic: Harlem: Mecca of the New Negro “The Making of Harlem” Johnson states “Harlem is not merely a Negro colony or community, it is a city within a city, the greatest Negro city in the world, It is not a slum or a fringe, it is located in the heart of Manhattan and occupies one of the most beautiful and healthful sections of the city Harlem is not a quarter of run-down tenements, but a quarter of new-law apartments and attractive homes, with well-paved and well-lit streets. It has its own churches, social and civic institutions, stores, theaters, and other entertainment facilities. It also has the highest density of African-Americans per square mile of any place on the planet. Page 635 of Johnson’s book After World War One, the first black individuals migrated into the area on I34th Street east of Lenox Avenue in Harlem. There is no indication of the perimeter of residences where both black and white renters live. This image depicts Harlem as a “city within a city” with a wealth of history, as evidenced by the fact that some portions of the city still have brown street signs rather than green, indicating that it is a “city inside a city” (landmarks).
During the walking tour of Harlem, I was able to see that the walk was intriguing. The journey began at the Schomburg, which according to the NYPL is a “Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem, one of The New York Public Library’s renowned research libraries, is a world-leading cultural institution devoted to the research, preservation, and exhibition of materials focused on African American, African Diaspora, and African experiences.” which is located at 135st and Malcolm X Blvd inside there’s a room filled with images of historical figures and events from Harlem’s early years.
The Marshall Jazz Club in Harlem was the first to combine banjos, saxophones, clarinets, and trap drums to produce what we now call jazz. In his book From Jazz to Swing: African American Jazz Musicians and Their Music, 1890-1935, Thomas J. Hennessey writes that “Black jazz musicians” were a part of this transition of the urban culture, particularly in New York and Harlem. They “developed a form of entertainment that embodied the mood of the time” (15).. Over this forty-year period, Harlem’s immigrant population shifted from mostly White to predominantly Black, and Black musicians and people associated with music contributed to this racial shift in Harlem’s image. Between 1890 and 1935, Harlem’s isolation as a “city-within-a-city” of New York (Osofsky x) was partly owing to its separation from the rest of the city, but it was also due to economic and social issues. In James Weldon Johnson’s book The Making of Harlem, he describes Harlem as a “city inside a city,” and how “a stranger is struck with amazement at the metamorphosis that takes place once he crosses One Hundred and Twenty-fifth Street (Johnson 635).” He utilizes a marker like this to highlight how different and unusual Harlem was from the rest of the city at the time, as does Carter when she compares the house above to the street below. In his book “Angels in Harlem,” Doctor Clayton said that Harlem was the area where brown-skinned angels in the guise of blues singers and worldly angels collaborated to discover a route for cultural interchange. Those angels of the blues and jazz musicians served to spread Harlem’s poetry, writing, music, and art far beyond its physical and temporal confines.
In all, the connection between people’s perceptions of the Harlem Renaissance and the fundamental issue of black refinement, which African Americans during this time used to “ reinvent” themselves or their image to white America, and the concept of refinement was rooted not only in race but also in classism. And though without this era we wouldn’t have gotten all the artistic advancements and creations brought by the Harlem Renanicess it is important to acknowledge how detrimental it was because it felt like they were constantly trying to validate their existence as worthy of being recognized and respected when they shouldn’t have had to do all that to be seen as people and worthy contributes to the arts and society and budding American culture.
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/
Harlem, Mecca of the new negro. Yale University Library. (n.d.). Retrieved May 10, 2022, from https://collections.library.yale.edu/catalog/17368696
Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. The New York Public Library. (n.d.). Retrieved May 12, 2022, from https://www.nypl.org/locations/schomburg
Smith, Virginia Whatley. “The Harlem Renaissance and its blue-jazz traditions: Harlem and its places of entertainment.” Obsidian II, vol. 11, no. 1-2, spring-winter 1996, pp. 21+. Gale Literature Resource Center, link.gale.com/apps/doc/A205735220/GLS?u=cuny_baruch&sid=bookmark-GLS&xid=f2980f47. Accessed 12 May 2022.
Swartz, Patti Capel. “Masks and masquerade: the iconography of Harlem Renaissance.” The Midwest Quarterly, vol. 35, no. 1, autumn 1993, pp. 49+. Gale Literature Resource Center, link.gale.com/apps/doc/A14474564/GLS?u=cuny_baruch&sid=bookmark-GLS&xid=df50e5fa. Accessed 12 May 2022.
Watts, Eric King. “Cultivating a Black Public Voice: W. E. B. du Bois and the Criteria of Negro Art.” Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism, edited by Thomas J. Schoenberg and Lawrence J. Trudeau, vol. 218, Gale, 2009. Gale Literature Criticism, link-gale-com.remote.baruch.cuny.edu/apps/doc/EOIWEL163402553/GLS?u=cuny_baruch&sid=bookmark-GLS&xid=6270a4f8. Accessed 22 May 2022. Originally published in Rhetoric & Public Affairs, vol. 4, no. 2, 2001, pp. 181-201.