|| Home Page | Welcome | Contents | Staff | Support Us ||

Harlem Renaissance
by: Aminah Roberts

From 1920 to 1930 the Harlem Renaissance took place. It was a time when many African -Americans produced creative works such as p9aintings and poems. The renaissance expressed the culture of African Americans through the celebration of heritage. The Harlem Renaissance resulted from the migration of African-Americans to the North from 1919 to 1926 along with the rise of radical black intellectuals such as Marcus Garvey, founder of the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) and editor of The Crisis magazine W.E.B. Du Bois.

A famous Harlem Renaissance poet was Langston Hughes. He was born in Joplin, Missouri and later moved to Lincoln, Illinois at age thirteen where he began to write his poetry. Later moving to Washington, D.C. in 1924, his fist book of poetry called The Weary Blues was published two years afterwards. Hughes is known for his portrayals of the lives of blacks from the twenties to the sixties. In addition to being a poet, he was a novelist, and writer of short stories and plays. It is also known that his love of jazz had an influence on his writing as in Montage of a Dream Deferred.

A renowned poet of this time is Maya Angelou. She too is a native of Missouri but born April 4, 1928 in the city of St. Louis. She is also an author, historian, civil rights activist, playwright, dancer, stage and screen producer, director, performer, and singer.
In 1959 following Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s request, she became the northern coordinator for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Angelou was associate editor of The Arab Observer from 1961 to 1962 and two years later she was feature editor of the African Review . She became Reynolds Professor of American Studies for a lifetime in 1981.

She was also the first black female director in Hollywood, writing the original screenplay and musical score for the film Georgia in 1971. Additionally, she has written several prize-winning documentaries such as “ Afro-Americans in Arts” and was nominated for two Tony awards in her Broadway debut Look Away (1973) and her performance in Roots(1977).

© Copyright 2004

|| Home Page | Welcome | Contents | Staff | Support Us ||

Back to the top