In this section, I will be discussing the Harlem Renaissance and the post-depression of the 1930’s.
In working with students, I’ve come to realize that students especially black students, have little to no knowledge about the Renaissance and how this period has anything to do with their Cultural background.
I will in some detail, cite events that have occurred in History.
The word Renaissance means rebirth and resurgence of art, music, and culture.
There was a charge that occurred between artist and intellectuals. There was a demand for equality. This was the beginning of the Renaissance.
The Harlem Renaissance began around 1918 and lasted until about 1933. Although it was short lived, it changed the face of black America forever. During this time, it features some of the biggest names in writing, literature, as well as other related fields.
During the Harlem Renaissance, for the first time black writers suddenly began to appear and assert the values of the black culture.
There was a group of black writers who formed a group in Harlem, so they could meet and share their problems and they analyzed their works together.
For the first time, blacks had attained freedom to be themselves. They had the freedom to write.
By the 1900’s many blacks became professionals. There were scientist, poets, artist, and musicians. There was a desire to promote and defend the talents of blacks.
Afro-Americans did flourish in their writings. The following individuals were among the poets of that period who were considered skillful in competition with other writers.
Writers such as Claude McKay, Countee Cullen, Arna Bontemps and Langston Hughes established themselves as exceptional writers of this period.
In the Post-Depression of the 30’s, the economic problems hit blacks the hardest. During this time, writers became concerned about the survival rather than expression. These writers found themselves getting their subject matter from the South and throughout the United States. Their subject matter was about suffering, frustration suffered by poor blacks, and humiliation of extreme poverty.
Gwendolyn Brooks was among the poets during this time.
The following terminology will be presented to students in this unit. The strategy for presenting this section to students will have continuity and structure. Before students begin studying actual poem selections, they will be introduced to these terms listed below:
1. MOOD—the state of feeling created by a poem, story, or play, such as sentimental or a bitter mood. Students will be given examples of each.
2. LYRIC—a poem that has the form and musical quality of a song in which the poet expresses an intense personal feeling.
3. METAPHOR—a figure of speech in which two things are identified with each other.
4. IMAGE—any word, or group of words, that appeals to the senses creates pictures in the mind.
5. ALLITERATION—the repetition of a consonant sound at the beginning of two or more words in a line of verse.
6. THEME—the central thought or idea in a poem.
7. TONE—the feeling conveyed by a writer’s attitude toward his subject and reveal through his style and choice of words.
8. REFRAIN—a line or stanza repeated at intervals in a poem.
After having been introduced to the above terminology, students will be asked to give examples of each term. Students will be provided with cite examples to help with the distinction of each term.
It is my wish that the authors and their works I have chosen, will help students to understand the world better by sharpening their senses and by making them more sensitive to life around them.
The following information will be presented to students in more detail.
Students will be presented with a biographical sketch of each poet, and events which took place during their lives.