Harlem Renaissance


external image ss_afri-amer.jpg
Nightlife by Archibald J. Motley. Image source: http://www.artic.edu/aic/collections/exhibitions/AfricanAmerican/index

This page contains resources related to our study of the Harlem Renaissance.

[ Background Readings ]

As an introduction to this mini-unit, you will read and take brief notes on the sources below. Use the "5W+H" questions (who, what, where, when, why, and how) to guide your reading and notetaking.

[ Harlem Renaissance texts ]

  • "The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain" by Langston Hughes -- After reading and taking notes, answer the following questions in the Collaborize Classroomdiscussion forum using at least 3-5 sentences each:
    • What is Hughes' reaction to the statement "I want to be a poet -- not a Negro poet"? Why does he react this way? Do you agree or disagree with this reaction?
    • Hughes describes two groups of people in his essay. Who are they? (Hint: look at paragraphs two and four.) How are they similar and different? What are the advantages and disadvantages of each?
    • In your own words, restate Hughes' thesis (i.e. the main point he is trying to argue).
    • In your opinion, is this problem of racial identity still an issue today? Why or why not?
  • Poetry of Langston Hughes: "I, Too" and "Theme for English B"-- After reading these poems, answer the following questions in the Collaborize Classroom discussion forum using at least 3-5 sentences each:
    • Who is the speaker of "I, Too"? What is his identity? How does he define himself? Describe him in as much detail as you can, using specific references to the poem to support your description.
    • Who is the speaker of "Theme for English B"? What is his/her identity? How does he/she define him/herself? Describe the speaker in as much detail as you can, using specific references to the poem to support your description.
    • How are the attitudes/mindsets of these speakers similar and different? Again, support your ideas with references to the text.
    • How do these poems support the thesis of Hughes' essay "The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain"? Use references from each text to support your ideas.
  • The Poetry Foundation's Harlem Renaissance collection contains work from numerous poets of the period.

[ Supplemental Readings ]


[ Assignments and Projects ]