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Art and Writing of the Harlem Renaissance

Jazz Age Harlem in the 1920s and 1930s may be best known for the work of musical giants such as Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Louis Armstrong, Ethel Waters, and Chick Webb, but the flowering of art and literature that came to be known as the “Harlem Renaissance” is of equal note. James Weldon Johnson’s “Black Manhattan” was the seedbed of writers and poets, such as Langston Hughes, Countee Cullen, and Zora Neale Hurston, and of sculptors and painters, like Richmond Barthé, Aaron Douglas, Meta Vaux Warrick Fuller, Palmer Hayden, Augusta Savage, and Loïs Mailou Jones. Harlem also became the site of intense intellectual debate and analysis, about African American identity, politics and religion in America, and the New York cultural scene, raising questions such as whether a Harlem artist or writer would better be served by seeing himself or herself as a Black artist or as an American modernist. We will explore these issues in essay selections by Harlem writers Alain Locke, Langston Hughes, W. E. B. Du Bois, and more.

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You'll Walk Away with

  • Familiarity with the legacy of the Harlem Renaissance
  • An understanding of the tension between American modernism and the Harlem Renaissance

Ideal for

  • The curious and creative
  • All members of the community—working, retired, and in-between
NO open sections available for this course at the moment. Please check back next semester.