Journey to the Harlem Renaissance

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Journey to the Harlem Renaissance

As America moves into a more cultural and diversified era, more people are taking the time to learn about the Harlem Renaissance. The Harlem Renaissance was the foremost form of freedom for African Americans. It showed blacks that they were becoming equals in American society. The talents of African Americans soared in art, music, literature and especially poetry. The main writers embodying the Harlem Renaissance were Claude McKay, Langston Hughes and Countee Cullen.

Claude was born in Jamaica, in 1898. He got his education from his older brother, who “possessed a library of English novels, poetry and scientific texts.” (Callahan, 784) Claude was a little older when he created his first piece of literary work. He published a book called Songs of Jamaica. It was a “record of his impressions of black life in Jamaica.” (Callahan,783) In 1912, he finally got to America, where he wrote Harlem Shadows; “his most important book of poetry.” (Callahan 784) While there, he attended the Tuskegee Institute. In 1914 he moved to Harlem, “the center of black culture in the U.S.” (Anderson, 704) He later published two sonnets, “The Harlem Dancer” and “Invocation”, in 1917. He “would later use the same poetic form to record his reactionary views on the injustices of black life in America.” (Callahan, 785) In addition to social and political concerns, McKay wrote on a variety of subjects, “from his Jamaican homeland to romantic love, with a use of passionate language.” (Callahan, 785) During the twenties he developed an interest in Communism, so he visited Russia to meet the architects of Russian Communism, Lenin and Trotsky. He also lived in France. When he came back to the U.S., he moved back ...

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Works Cited

Anderson, Robert, et al. “Langston Hughes: 1902-1967.” Elements of Literature: Fifth Course. Austin: Holt, 1989. 706

Callahan, John F. “A Long Way From Home”: The Art and Protest of Claude McKay and James Baldwin.” Contemporary Literature 34.4 (1993): 783-785.

Countee Cullen. 7 Feb. 2002

Hampson, Thomas. I Hear America Singing. 7 Feb. 2002

Jackson, Steven. Father of Jazz. 14 Feb. 2002

Johnson, James Weldon, ed. The Book of American Negro Poetry. New York: Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1992; BoondocksNet edition, 2001.

Reuben, Paul P. “Chapter 9: Harlem Renaissance-Langston Hughes”
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