Read up on Harlem Renaissance—February 5, 2010
When you think of February what comes to mind? Is it chocolate, flowers, thoughts of love and your favorite valentine? Well I think of valentines, but, I also think about history, black history to be exact. February is Black history month and it is packed full of writers, musicians, war heroes, scientists, inventors and civil rights leaders. One part of history that I love to read about is the Harlem Renaissance. The Harlem Renaissance refers to the boom in African American cultural and intellectual life during the 1920’s and 1930’s, and was centered around the New York City neighborhood called Harlem.
One book that has a lot of information on the Harlem Renaissance is “The Harlem Renaissance: A Celebration of Creativity” by Lucia Raatma. The author writes about men and women who had an impact on black history in the early 20th century. Some of the people the author writes about are actor Paul Robeson, poet Langston Hughes, writer Zora Neale Hurston, musician Duke Ellington, vocalist Bessie Smith and sculptor Augusta Savage. If you are interested in the poet Langston Hughes the library has several books, some of his titles are “The Dream Keeper and other Poems”, “The Collected Poems of Langston Hughes” and “The Simple Return”. If your interests are music we have on CD, “Sophisticated Lady” by Duke Ellington which is wonderful!
Another book that has moved me, sometimes to tears, is “The Portable Harlem Renaissance Reader”. One poet that I love is James Weldon Johnson. His poetry is truly moving, it is said that he was an agnostic, but he wrote some beautiful religious poetry. Others mentioned in the book are: Arna Bontemps who was a poet and wrote, “One Hundred Years of Negro Freedom” and “Golden Slippers, an Anthology of Negro Poetry for Young Readers”. Carter Woodson was an author and a journalist who wrote “The Negro in our History and “The Miss-Education of the negro.
By the great depression the Harlem renaissance began to fade but these men and women paved the way for other African Americans to have a say in world culture. So stop in and check out these great authors, poets and activists.