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Black History Month Essay

806 words - 4 pages

Famous Harlem Renaissance

During the early 20th century, African-American poets, musicians, actors, artists and intellectuals moved to Harlem in New York City and brought new ideas that shifted the culture forever. From approximately 1918 to the mid 1930s, talent began to overflow within this newfound culture of the black community in Harlem, as prominent figures—Langston Hughes ( The most prolific writer of the Harlem Renaissance. He casted off the influences of white poets and wrote with the rhythmic meter of blues and jazz), Claude McKay (urged African Americans to stand up for their rights in his powerful verses),Billie Holiday (Billie Holiday was one of the most influential jazz ...view middle of the document...

The book had popular appeal and established both his poetic style and his commitment to black themes and heritage. Hughes was also among the first to use jazz rhythms and dialect to depict the life of urban blacks in his work. He published a second volume of poetry, Fine Clothes to the Jew, in 1927.
McKay returned to the United States in 1921 and involved himself in various social and political causes. He worked with the Universal Negro Improvement Association and continued to explore Communism—even traveling to the Soviet Union to attend the Communist Party's Fourth Congress. After spending some time in the United States, McKay again left the country, spending what would prove to be 11 extremely productive years in Europe and North Africa; he wrote three novels—Home to Harlem, Banjo and Banana Bottom—and a short story collection during this period. Home to Harlem was the most popular of the three, though all were well received by critics. Returning to Harlem, McKay began work on an autobiography entitled A Long Way from Home, which focuses on his experiences as an oppressed minority and agitates for a broad movement against colonialism and segregation.
Lester Young gave Holiday the nickname "Lady Day" in 1937—the same year she joined Basie's band. In return, she called "Prez," which was her way of saying that she thought it was the greatest. Holiday toured with the Count Basie Orchestra in 1937. The...

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