From Renaissance to Resistance
The Harlem Renaissance was only a brief period in American and African American history, but for the people who experienced this flowering of cultural expression in the visual arts, music, dance, theater, and literature, and for those who remember the era in books and films, there are enough memories to last a lifetime. It represented a new awareness of cultural identity among African American peoples, one that celebrated Black achievement and accomplishment on its own terms rather than on the terms of White America and Europe. It was no longer simply enough to aspire to be accepted by White society in mimicry of their customs and style. It was now acceptable to be “Negro” and to take pride in the style and tastes of the community from which one emerged. It was a move to get beyond the “Negro problem” in America and an attempt to take a place as a viable cultural contributor to the American situation. Philosopher Alain Locke summed it up in his collection of essays, poems, short stories, and songs entitled The New Negro. This work represents a change in thought and perception among African Americans in the early twentieth century as a result of migration and the blending of cultures. It encapsulates the spirit that gave birth to the movement that became known as the Harlem Renaissance, but was a cultural rebirth that took place all across America in communities where African Americans lived thrived, and prospered. Write short answers, [3-5 sentences] for each of the questions below. Each answer is worth 25 points toward a maximum score of 125 points. A well-written short answer should identify significant themes addressed in each lesson.
1. What reasons did Alain Locke give for his differentiation between African American folk culture and “true art”?
2. How did writers, along with painters, musicians, and intellectuals help to transform perceptions of African American culture in the New Negro Movement?
3. Who were some of the important African-American poets and writers of the 20th century?
4. In addition to their interests in music, especially the blues, what were some of the other “key problems of mutual interest” that were explored in the writings of Ralph Ellison and Amiri Baraka (Leroi Jones)?
5. How did members of the Black Panther Party use poetry to express their resistance against social, political, and cultural oppression?
APA Format, 357 words