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Ch 10: The Harlem Renaissance and Literature

About This Chapter

Watch online video lessons and learn about the Harlem Renaissance. Learn about the literary characteristics associated with this period, and discover some of the poets and writers from the movement.

The Harlem Renaissance

The Harlem Renaissance took place in the 1920s and 1930s. It was considered a period of great creativity and took its name from one of the best-known, predominately African American neighborhoods in the U.S. This period is also known as the New Negro Movement.

The Harlem Renaissance was a surge of powerful African American innovation within the arts. Works from this movement spoke about history and modern times. Writers expressed themselves with strong words that held soulful imagery. Words became powerful and explained to those outside of this culture what life inside the culture was really like. It expressed the troubles, the folklore and the spirituality of the African American people. Many of this period's most influential works came in the form of literature.

Our lessons will introduce you to the Harlem Renaissance through a look at poetry, novels and other pieces produced during this time. Discover how this period and the work that came out of it had a lasting impact on American identity. As you watch our lessons, you'll be introduced to three legendary literary figures from this movement. Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God is covered. You'll analyze this novel and see how it reflects the culture at the time. Also study Langston Hughes. Watch a lesson on Hughes' poem 'Harlem.' Study the use of simile and define Hughes' role in this movement. You can also watch a lesson on Claude McKay where you'll analyze his role in the movement and how his work celebrated the African American culture.

6 Lessons in Chapter 10: The Harlem Renaissance and Literature
Test your knowledge with a 30-question chapter practice test
The Harlem Renaissance: Novels and Poetry from the Jazz Age

1. The Harlem Renaissance: Novels and Poetry from the Jazz Age

The Harlem Renaissance was a movement in the 1920s and 1930s during which there was an explosion of African-American art and literature. This lesson looks at the themes, causes, and important figures of the Harlem Renaissance.

W.E.B. Du Bois: Theories, Accomplishments & Double Consciousness

2. W.E.B. Du Bois: Theories, Accomplishments & Double Consciousness

W.E.B. Du Bois was an important figure in American civil rights history, and his idea of the double consciousness delved into what it felt like to live as a black person in a white people's world. Learn more about his life and works in this lesson.

Countee Cullen's Role in the Harlem Renaissance: An Analysis of Heritage

3. Countee Cullen's Role in the Harlem Renaissance: An Analysis of Heritage

The Harlem Renaissance exposed the world to everyone from W.E.B. DuBois to Ella Fitzgerald. In this lesson, we'll explore one of the movement's most iconic and resonant poems, Countee Cullen's 'Heritage.'

Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God: Summary & Analysis

4. Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God: Summary & Analysis

Zora Neale Hurston's novel 'Their Eyes Were Watching God' is a famous Harlem Renaissance novel that examines race and gender issues through the eyes of its main character, Janie Crawford. This lesson gives a synopsis of the novel and examines how it approaches race and gender.

Langston Hughes & the Harlem Renaissance: Poems of the Jazz Age

5. Langston Hughes & the Harlem Renaissance: Poems of the Jazz Age

Langston Hughes was a popular poet from the Harlem Renaissance. His Jazz Age poems, including 'Harlem' and 'I, Too, Sing America,' discussed the racism facing African Americans in the 1920s and '30s.

Claude McKay: Role in Harlem Renaissance & 'America' Analysis

6. Claude McKay: Role in Harlem Renaissance & 'America' Analysis

Claude McKay was an influential Harlem Renaissance poet. His poems 'America' and 'If We Must Die' explored the complicated relationship African Americans had with the world around them.

Chapter Practice Exam
Test your knowledge of this chapter with a 30 question practice chapter exam.
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Practice Final Exam
Test your knowledge of the entire course with a 50 question practice final exam.
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