The Harlem Renaissance


Completely excluded from the fine ideals of the Declaration of Independence in 1776, African Americans spent the next two centuries searching for political, intellectual and cultural empowerment in American society. Prior to the 1920´s African Americans were depicted as the goodhearted and obedient ¨negro¨ (Uncle Tom´s cabin) or the uneducated farmer. With the Harlem Renaissance a new image of sophisticated and intellectual Afro Americans began to emerge. The harlem Renaissance was more than an artistic movement ; it helped lay the foundation for the post-World War II phase of the Civil Rights movement.

The Harlem Renaissance – A new racial consciousness for African American artists who believed that, through art, they could fight stereotypes and racial prejudice.

See previous post : Art as a weapon which also deals with this topic.


How has slavery affected the African American culture ?

How to combat stereotypes of Black Americans ?

To what extent has the Harlem Renaissance helped to combat/to fight the stereotype ?

To what extent has the Harlen Renaissance helped African Americans achieve recognition?

To what extent has the Harlen Renaissance helped African Americans gain power?

Documents :

On stereotypes :

Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom´s Cabin, 1852

Maya Angelou, I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, 1969

On Discrimination and the Jim Crow Laws

Toni Morrison, Sula, 1973

On the Harlem Renaissance – Art as a weapon/as a counter power

Langston Hughes, I Too Sing America, 1925

William H. Johnson, The Chain Gang, 1939

Gordon Parks, American Gothic, 1942