Above is a collage of of the walking tour of Harlem and the class trip to the Met. You can see different images and art like cups and combs created by African Americans. Black culture is being represented in a positive way by showing how they contributed to the art. Also in the video you see a Zora Neale Hurston cup and these different plates which looks very wealthy. It really shows the black experience in a good way, sometimes you would think shedding light on black culture and their experience would be about slavery and the bad things that happened to them. But the museum documents what black culture is and how their experiences helped impact the world.
Sometimes people confuse these concepts culture and race, the google definition of culture and race is “a class-action of people according to their beliefs and values that include spirituality, religion, region, language, and livelihoods” race is ” a classification of people according to their physical appearances, geographic ancestry, and heritable characteristics.” Many different things stood out to me from the Opportunity Archive. One passage that stood out to me was “Some Universals in the Race Problem”. On page 6 it states “In discussing the race problem it will help greatly to clear the deck and find out how much of it is racial and how much merely cultural and social.” This stood out to me because it made me think do culture play a role in the race problem because I don’t think people are born racist, I think they are taught it. So what if the culture of a racist family was different, the odds of that family being racist changes. For example on page 6 it states “The main business of life is to learn to live together.” If that was taught in certain families the world would probably be a better place. I know that these magazines like Survey Graphic and Opportunity Archives were made shed light on black culture but it also made studying black culture interesting. As we were discussing in class what are the reasons to keep archives and we came up with evidence to prove that we you were there, and survival. Without the archives how would we know what went on back then? Du Bois had made magazines which would shed light on black culture and what was going on back then. Those magazines ended up helping to fight for black people rights and women rights.
Harlem according to the passages I choose during the Harlem Renaissance is a place where a bunch of different African American came together to shed light on black culture, change the racial stereotype image they were given before and take a step in the direction of dismantling racism.
After finishing the Passing novel, I learned a lot about what happened in the 1920’s. Before reading the novel and watching the film I didn’t even know passing was a thing. I think the Passing film and novel was made to inform us on what was going on back then and show us the life of a black women and what they had to deal with. The book and film shed light on the experience of being a black person in the 1900’s in Harlem giving a vivid description of how they were being treated. In the film you see two black women who took different paths, Irene married a black man and had 2 kids, while Irene married a white man and is enjoying the luxury of going to high end restaurants because she passing as a white woman. During the movie you Irene is a little nervous sometimes while she “passes” in the high end restaurants while Clare is more rebellious and carefree. I think that connects to how African Americans are more carefree and rebellious because of what their ancestors went through. Irene is passing as a women too but when she is a little more discrete and isn’t as care free as Irene. I find it funny that the film is in black and white which means there is lack of color but its about how people were treated because of their skin color.
Many people try to do things represent black culture in different ways especially in the 1900’s. Du Bois was one of those who represented black culture by putting certain things in the articles like New York Times or New York post etc to shed light on equal rights. As stated in the article “Founding the Crisis is a turning point in Du Bois’s career, and the time he spent building it financially influences his ideas about how best to represent race in popular culture.” Du Bois wanted to expose racial injustice and how different colored people were treated compared to others.
Shining light on black culture in that time and age was unique because before that in the late 1800’s they were lynchings of blacks, and still segregation in certain places. “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.” The Crisis has impacted the way magazines are made today because of the way it effected people back then.
The Crisis was unique back then because before that blacks really didn’t have a voice and with the Crisis magazine it was a way to express themselves. Also giving blacks a platform to show not just people in the community but people all over the world their culture and the racial inequality that was going on. Problems that African Americans were going through that were included in the Crisis magazine was Women rights, violence, education and racial discrimination. “The problem is not that the political crisis is over that somehow racial inequality was abolished in the first fifteen years of the magazine’s life but that the crisis of black print culture has evolved.” Due to the Crisis shedding light on the problems African Americans face it contributed to the abolishing of racial inequality.
Not only was the Crisis magazine used to show the black culture and what they were going through, it was also used as a documentation of black culture back then. To elaborate on that, the Crisis magazine is like records of black history because it shows what was going on in that time period. I feel that the Crisis magazine has an impact on us today because newspaper articles and magazines include the daily news or gossip of what is going now which the Crisis magazine did back in the 1900’s. I like how the magazine helped unite African Americans because after the magazine was published we finally felt like we could voice our opinions and fight for our rights without being punished.
“The Crisis played an integral but often over- looked part in the history of the big magazines, as its innovative methods for representing race and racialized intellectual work so successfully set a pattern for African American print culture.” it is clear that the magazine was created to shed light on black cultures and African Americans post slavery in the 1900’s which has impacted the way magazines are made today.