Loading...

ENGL411: African-American Literature

Unit 4: Harlem Renaissance   James Weldon Johnson encouraged African Americans to create their own distinctive literature.  The authors of the Harlem Renaissance, a term used to describe a period of great artistic development, followed Johnson’s lead.  This unit will explore how African Americans of the early twentieth century celebrated their ethnic identity in a time of Modernism, Northern Migration, and racial oppression.

Unit 4 Time Advisory
This unit will take you approximately 16.75 hours to complete.

☐    Subunit 4.1: 3.25 hours

☐    Subunit 4.2: 2.5 hours

☐    Subunit 4.3: 1 hour

☐    Subunit 4.4: 3 hours

☐    Subunit 4.5: 4 hours ☐    Subunit 4.5.1: 3 hours

☐    Subunit 4.5.2: 1 hour

☐    Subunit 4.6: 3 hours

Unit4 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, the student will be able to:
- Identify the boundaries of the period named the Harlem Renaissance. - Identify the major authors of the Harlem Renaissance. - Explain the influence of Jim Crow laws on African American authors. - Explain the term the "New Negro." - Identify the characteristics of Modernism and analyze the movement's impact on African American authors. - Explain the Back-to-Africa Movement. - Explain what the term "passing" means and how it affected African American ideas of colorism. - Explain how the Great Depression influenced African American authors.

4.1 The Harlem Renaissance in New York and Beyond   - Lecture: YouTube: Open Yale Courses: Jonathan Holloway’s “The New Negroes” Link: YouTube:  Open Yale Courses: Jonathan Holloway’s “The New Negroes” (YouTube)

 Instructions: Watch this 50-minute lecture. Locke’s influential
essay "The New Negro" introduced an anthology by the same name that
was at the heart of the Harlem Renaissance. The term refers to the
refusal of African Americans to submit to tenets of Jim Crow
segregation. You may also read a transcript of the lecture
[here](http://oyc.yale.edu/transcript/109/afam-162).  

 Watching this lecture and taking notes and should take
approximately 1 hour.  
    
 Terms of Use: This resource is licensed under a [Creative Commons
Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 United States
License](http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/us/). It
is attributed to Yale University and the original version can be
found
[here](http://oyc.yale.edu/african-american-studies/afam-162/lecture-10#transcript).

4.1.1 The New Negro   - Reading: National Humanities Center: Alain Locke’s "The New Negro" (1925) Link: National Humanities Center: Alain Locke’s "The New Negro" (HTML and PDF)
 
Instructions: Please review the background information on Alain Locke.  Then, click on the hyperlink for the essay “Enter the New Negro” to download the PDF file.  Read the entire text (6 pages).  You should spend approximately 1 hour to complete this reading.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use on the webpage displayed above.

4.1.2 Claude McKay's Influence on the Harlem Renaissance   - Reading: Poet’s Corner Bookshelf: Claude McKay’s Harlem Shadows Link: Poet’s Corner Bookshelf: Claude McKay’s Harlem Shadows (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please read the introduction on this webpage.  Then, select the links to and read the following poems: “America," "The White City," "In Bondage," "Enslaved," "Outcast," "The Lynching," "The Harlem Dancer," "The Tired Worker," and "Harlem Shadows.”  You should spend approximately 2 hours carefully reading and studying these poems.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Reading: Modern American Poetry: Wayne Cooper’s "Claude McKay and the New Negro of the 1920's" Link: Modern American Poetry: Wayne Cooper’s "Claude McKay and the New Negro of the 1920's" (HTML)

    Instructions: Please read the entire lecture.  McKay’s importance to the Harlem Renaissance lay in his novel, Home to Harlem (1928) and in his poetry about Harlem and other race-conscious poetry.  You should dedicate approximately 1 hour to read and study this lecture.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use on the webpage displayed above.

4.2 Modernism   4.2.1 The Characteristics of the Modernist Movement   - Reading: Great Writers Inspire: Rebecca Beasley’s “Modernism” Link: Great Writers Inspire: Rebecca Beasley’s “Modernism” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Read this article for an overview of Modernism.
 
Reading this article and taking notes should take approximately 15 minutes.
 
Terms of Use: This resource is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share Alike 2.0 UK: England & Wales. It is attributed to Rebecca Beasley and the original version can be found here.

4.2.2 Jean Toomer and Modernism   - Reading: PoemHunter.com: Jean Toomer’s Cane: “Reapers” and “Her Lips Are Copper Wires” and Poets.org: Jean Toomer’s Cane: “Karintha” Link: PoemHunter.com: Jean Toomer’s Cane:Reapers” (HTML) and “Her Lips Are Copper Wires” (HTML) and Rooster: Jean Toomer’s Cane:Karintha” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please read all three poems linked above.  Sometimes called a novel, Jean Toomer’s Cane is a collection of stories, poems, and reflections embracing Modernist techniques while expressing ethnic individuality.  You should spend approximately 30 minutes studying these poems.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use on the webpage displayed above.

  • Reading: Modern American Poetry: Brown, McKay, North, Jones, Scruggs, and VanDemarr’s “On ‘Her Lips Are Copper Wire’” Link: Modern American Poetry: Brown, McKay, North, Jones, Scruggs, and VanDemarr’s “On ‘Her Lips Are Copper Wire’” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Please read this literary criticism and review by various authors on Toomer’s poem, “Her Lips Are Copper Wire.”  You should spend approximately 30 minutes studying this lecture.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Reading: The Chronicle of Higher Education: Rudolph P. Byrd and Henry Louis Gates, Jr.’s "Jean Toomer's Conflicted Racial Identity" Link: The Chronicle of Higher Education: Rudolph P. Byrd and Henry Louis Gates, Jr.’s "Jean Toomer's Conflicted Racial Identity" (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Please read the entire essay.  Reading and taking notes should take approximately 1 hour for this resource.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use on the webpage displayed above.

4.3 Back to Africa   4.3.1 What Was the Northern Migration?   - Reading: University of Notre Dame: Richard B. Pierce’s “The Migration” Link: University of Notre Dame: Richard B. Pierce’s “The Migration” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please read the entire lecture notes.  Take approximately 30 minutes to study this lecture.
 
Terms of Use: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike 3.0 License.  Please respect the copyright and terms of use on the webpage displayed above.

4.3.2 The Back to Africa Movement and Marcus Garvey   - Reading: Lehman College: “Marcus Garvey on Africa for Africans” Link: Lehman College: “Marcus Garvey on Africa for Africans” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Click on the file name to download the PDF.  Then, read the entire file (3 pages).  Please note that you may have to rotate certain pages of the reading to appear vertically.  This reading should take approximately 15 minutes.
 
Terms of Use: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike 3.0 License.  Please respect the copyright and terms of use on the webpage displayed above.

4.4 Color Consciousness in the African American Community   - Reading: National Humanities Center: Trudier Harris’s "Pigmentocracy" Link: National Humanities Center: Trudier Harris’s "Pigmentocracy" (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please read the entire lecture for a sociological exploration of skin color in African American culture and literature.  You should spend approximately 1 hour reading and studying this lecture.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use on the webpage displayed above.

4.4.1 Embracing and Rejecting Skin Color   - Reading: National Humanities Center: Nella Larsen’s Passing: “Chapter Three” Link: National Humanities Center: Nella Larsen’s Passing:Chapter Three” (HTML and PDF)
 
Instructions: Please read the background information, and then click “Passing” to download the PDF of excerpts from Chapter 3.  Read Chapter 3 in its entirety (8 pages).  Larsen's Passing is an examination of skin color from the perspective of the African American community.  Through the depiction of characters who have passed, Larsen criticized issues of white supremacy and the denial of race.  This reading should take approximately 1 hour to complete.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use on the webpage displayed above.

4.4.2 The Quest for American Racial Identity   - Reading: Academic Room: African American Review, John Sheehy’s "The Mirror and the Veil: The Passing Novel and the Quest for American Racial Identity”

Link: Academic Room: *African American Review,* John Sheehy’s "[The
Mirror and the Veil: The Passing Novel and the Quest for American
Racial
Identity](http://www.academicroom.com/article/mirror-and-veil-passing-novel-and-quest-american-racial-identity)”
(HTML)  
    
 Instructions: Please read the entire article (12 pages); make sure
to click on the “next” link to move on to each subsequent page of
the article.  This reading should take approximately 1 hour to
complete.  
    
 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use on the
webpage displayed above.

4.5 Rural Issues and the Depression   4.5.1 Zora Neale Hurston, Folklife, and Gender   - Reading: The Library of Congress’s African American Odyssey: “The Depression, The New Deal, and World War II” Link: The Library of Congress’s African American Odyssey: “The Depression, The New Deal, and World War II” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please read this entire webpage to learn more information about how the Depression, Roosevelt’s New Deal, and World War II affected the African American community.  This reading should take approximately 15 minutes to complete.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use on the webpage displayed above.

  • Reading: Florida Gulf Coast University: Jill Uppling’s "“Sweat" and “The Gilded Six-Bits:” Between Hurston's Biography and Education" Link: Florida Gulf Coast University: Jill Uppling’s “‘Sweat’ and “The Gilded Six-Bits:” Between Hurston's Biography and Education”(HTML)
     
    Instructions: In the table of contents, click on the link to the essay “‘Sweat’ and “The Gilded Six Bits:” Between Hurston’s Biography and Education.”  Please read the entire essay.  Reading and taking notes should take approximately 30 minutes to complete.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use on the webpage displayed above.

  • Reading: Florida Gulf Coast University: Barbara L. Williams’ version of Zora Neale Hurston’s "Sweat" Link: Florida Gulf Coast University: Barbara L. Williams’ version of Zora Neale Hurston’s "Sweat" (HTML)
     
    Instructions: In the table of contents, click on the link titled “The Text of ‘Sweat’ with Anchors for Primary Symbols and Images.”  Read this entire text.  Almost relegated to obscurity, Hurston's works were recovered in the 1970s and offer deep insight into issues of the African American community, particularly those of women as seen in "Sweat."  You should spend approximately 2 hours reading and studying this text.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use on the webpage displayed above.

  • Lecture: Annenberg Foundation’s American Passages: A Literary Survey: “Episode 13: Southern Renaissance” Link: Annenberg Foundation’s American Passages: A Literary Survey: “Episode 13: Southern Renaissance” (Adobe Flash)
     
    Instructions: Scroll down the webpage, and click on the “VOD” icon next to episode 13 “Southern Renaissance.”  Please view the video lecture from approximately 15:49 minutes until the end.  Viewing this lecture should take approximately 15 minutes to complete.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use on the webpage displayed above.

4.5.2 Arna Bontemp and Spirituality   - Reading: Modern American Poetry: Charles L James and Robert E Fleming’s “Arna Bontemps' Life and Career” Link: Modern American Poetry: Charles L James and Robert E Fleming’s “Arna Bontemps' Life and Career” (HTML)

 Instructions: Please read the entire lecture about Bontemps’ life
and career.  Arna Bontemps is best known as a poet of the Harlem
Renaissance, but his stories also exude the quiet spirituality that
his poetry is known for.  This reading should take approximately 30
minutes.  
    
 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use on the
webpage displayed above.
  • Reading: Dr. Sandra Crihfield’s American History: Arna Bontemps’ "A Summer Tragedy" (1933) Link: Dr. Sandra Crihfield’s American History: Arna Bontemps’ "A Summer Tragedy" (PDF)
     
    Instructions: Scroll down the webpage about half way, and select "A Summer Tragedy" from the website.  Read the entire text (7 pages), and consider answering the questions at the end of the story.  "A Summer Tragedy" is part of Bontemps’ collection of stories set in the rural South about dignified and spiritually quiet people.  This reading should take approximately 30 minutes.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use on the webpage displayed above.

4.6 Music and Dialect as Representations of Identity   4.6.1 Langston Hughes as Blues Poet   - Reading: University of California, Davis: Anne Fleischmann and Andy Jone’s “Jazz and Literature” Lecture Link: University of California, Davis: Anne Fleischmann and Andy Jone’s “Jazz and Literature” Lecture (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please read this entire lecture in which the authors deconstruct the meaning of Langston Hughes’s “The Weary Blues.”  You should spend approximately 45 minutes reading the poem and studying this lecture.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use on the webpage displayed above. 

  • Reading: Poets.org: “Langston Hughes:” “The Negro Speaks of Rivers,” “Harlem,” “Theme for English B,” and "The Weary Blues" Links: Poets.org: “Langston Hughes:” “The Negro Speaks of Rivers,” “Harlem,” “Theme for English B,” and "The Weary Blues" (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Please read the background information on famous Harlem Renaissance poet, Langston Hughes.  Then, on the right side of the Poets.org webpage, click on the links to and read the following poems: “The Negro Speaks of Rivers,” “Harlem,” “Theme for English B," and "The Weary Blues."  Hughes's poems exhibit both his early influences of American poets Carl Sandburg and Walt Whitman, and his interest in black musical forms of blues and jazz.  You should spend approximately 1 hour reading the background on Hughes, as well as reading and studying each of his poems listed above.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use on the webpage displayed above. 

  • Lecture: Annenberg Foundation’s Voices and Visions: “Episode 6: Langston Hughes” Link: Annenberg Foundation’s Voices and Visions: “Episode 6: Langston Hughes” (Adobe Flash)
     
    Instructions: Click on the “VOD” icon to launch the video.  Please watch the entire video lecture (57 minutes).
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use on the webpage displayed above. 

4.6.2 Rhythm and Poetry   - Lecture: Annenberg Foundation’s American Passages: A Literary Survey: “Episode 10: Rhythms in Poetry” Link: Annenberg Foundation’s American Passages: A Literary Survey: “Episode 10: Rhythms in Poetry” (Adobe Flash)
 
Instructions: Scroll down the webpage to Episode 10 “Rhythms in Poetry,” and click on the “VOD” link to launch the video.  Please watch the video from 14:36 minutes until the end.  Viewing this lecture should take approximately 15 minutes to complete.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use on the webpage displayed above.