Prof. Erica Richardson
Black culture is a topic studied by many people across the world. It was never in the spotlight like it is now. Black culture has been under the microscope for quite a while. People make movies and write books about the different events that happened to black people and I look at that as shedding light on black culture and their experiences. African Americans had to overcome a lot of hatred and racial inequality to get to where they are now.
Slavery was abolished in 1865 and years after African Americans were still experiencing hatred and inequality. In the Survey Graphic on page 641 “Black Workers and the City” by Charles S. Johnson it states “In certain responsible skilled positions, such as locomotive engineers, streetcar and subway motormen, Negroes are never Employed. A negro worker may not be a street or subway conductor because of the possibility of public objection to contact but he may be a ticket chopper. He may not be a money changer in a subway station because honesty is required yet he may be a porter in entrusted, as a messenger with thousands of dollars daily.” This just shows how backwards society was back then. In addition, it also shows even though slavery was abolished, they were still different ways to miss treat African Americans by not giving them certain jobs. This article sheds light on the experience African Americans had to go through when it came to jobs. Passing by Nella Larsen published in 1929 focuses on how two black women took two different paths in life. But in both paths, they both are passing as white women to receive the privileges white people were getting back then.
The Harlem Renaissance was a time period when African Americans were getting more attention and their culture was being recognized more. African American writers and artists were also getting noticed during the Harlem Renaissance. African Americans were finally free and able to express themselves without being punished for just being black. W.E.B Du Bois was an African American civil rights activist who fought against discrimination and racism. He also was an editor for the Crisis magazine which included information about injustice and mis treatment of black people. The Crisis magazine was one of the first magazine to sell so many copies because of the information it had. It would also show what was going on back then, even though segregation was done they were still lynching and hatred acts happening, and the magazines would bring that to light. According to an article by Carme Manuel named “Mule Bone: Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston’s Dream Deferred of an African American Theatre of the Black Word”it states “The New Negro provided a context for examining the creative writing of the Harlem Renaissance. It describes the historical and cultural context”. This shows during the Harlem Renaissance people began to be more interested in the history and culture of African Americans. Other magazine that was also influential was the opportunity magazine. This magazine also showcases African American art, poems and photography. This ties into shedding light on black culture because you’ll be able to see the different style of writing and art. Our class took a trip to the Met and did a walking tour of Harlem. During these two experiences you can see Black culture in a positive light and the different objects they used like cups, combs etc.
It is clear my blog posts would mainly focus on what the Harlem Renaissance was and the different details I noticed from the images and texts. On page 668 of the Survey Graphic in the article “Negro Art and America” by Albert C Barnes it states “The contributions of the American Negro to art are representative because they come from the hearts of the masses of a people held together by like yearnings and stirred by the same causes. It is a sound art because it comes from primitive nature upon which a white man’s education has never been harnessed.” This shows that because of what African Americans went through with slavery, being mistreated and being lynched the art that they make comes from the pain they went though. It is clear in the 1900’s, African Americans were still dealing with the aftermath of slavery and hatred. So different artists and activists like W.E.B Du Bois starting writing about what was going on and what they had to endure during that time.
Johnson, Charles S. Survey Graphic “Black Workers and the City”
Manuel, Carmen “Mule Bone: Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston’s Dream Deferred of an African American Theatre of the Black Word”
Barnes, Albert C. “Negro Art and America”