The Harlem Renaissance (LUCENT LIBRARY OF BLACK HISTORY)

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9781590187029: The Harlem Renaissance (LUCENT LIBRARY OF BLACK HISTORY)
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Beginning at the end of World War I, the Harlem Renaissance was America's first African-American literary and artistic movement. Based in Harlem and lasting through the early 1930s, the movement gave voice to a small but gifted group of black writers and artists.

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Grade 7-10–This serviceable overview opens with an examination of the New Negro movement and other political events that stirred early-20th-century discussions of racial civil rights and continues with a look at the publications and authors who laid the groundwork for this notable explosion of African-American culture. Two central chapters focus on the Harlem Renaissance itself. Prominent figures, including Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, and Countee Cullen, are given individual treatment, and the phenomenon of Harlemania is explored, with its jive talk, zoot suits, speakeasies, rent parties, cabarets, and the great influence and appeal of jazz and blues music. The concluding chapter covers the decline of the movement and its lasting influence. Koopmans occasionally includes primary sources but relies more heavily on lengthy quotations from other historians. Sidebars focus on individual people and events, providing human interest as well as visual relief to this clear but often dry treatment of an exceptionally lively time. The black-and-white photos, while informative and adequately captioned, are too few in number. The strength of this book lies in its analytical look at the Harlem Renaissance within its historical context. James Haskins's The Harlem Renaissance (Millbrook, 1996) has far more visual appeal, more primary-source material, a livelier narrative, and more overall depth. Laban Carrick Hill's Harlem Stomp! (Little, Brown, 2004) is a colorful and vibrant work, full of photos, that conveys the pow! of the era most enjoyably.–Joyce Adams Burner, Hillcrest Library, Prairie Village, KS
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