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Outside of the art world, people rarely think of the renaissance period describing the written word. This habit has extended, as well. to the Harlem Renaissance; however, the written word was a very important part of this period. There had been Negro writers for at least 140 years. Perhaps, the best known were Charles W. Chestnutt and Paul Laurence Dunbar. Chestnutt's novels included The Conjure Woman and The Wife of His Youth and Other Stories of the Color Line , whereas Dunbar, primarily a poet, was best known for his novel The Sport of the Gods . Chestnut's writing, though moving away from the plantation romanticism which had glorified slavery, possessed realistic flavor, and it emphasized relations based on the divisions of the black and white races rather than developing the interior lives of its characters.

At the same time, and to some extent today, most African Americans found positive value in the stereotypical puritan compulsions to order, frugality, temperance, decorum, and frigidity which had always served to distinguish the civilized (i.e., whites) from the darker peoples they enslaved or colonized who had to be tutored because they embodied just the opposite of many of these characteristics. With Jean Toomer's publication Cane , and, in 1924, with Jessie Redman Fauset's There is Confusion . Unlike their predecessors, these works dealt with our people as people and not as objects to be manipulated for some or other racial propaganda. Langston Hughes, in 1930, published Not Without Laughter , the first Harlem Renaissnce novel to gain wide reknown. Writers such as Claude McKay, created fictional characters who were heroes because they were primitives and free from the Puritan ethic. Painters, sculptors, and musicians were "uplifted" by the popularity of Africa forms of Picasso and Matisse and the adoption of jazz by heralded european composers.

In the 1920's African-Americans seemed to have passed through some rite of passage. As if for the first time, we began, in significant numbers, to be self-assertive and racially conscious. A popular, at the time, term describing such people was "The New Negro" expressed movement from the world of Booker T. Washington to that of W.E.B. duBois and Marcus Garvey. More than anything else, the Harlem Renaissance was a marker of the shift of the Black intellectuals from the South to the urban North. Thus, the Harlem Renaissance expresses a time, an orientation, a spirit, and more than a location, for its representatives can be found outside of New York City; for example, Philadelphia and Chicago both possessed reflections of the Harlem scene.


Timeline of the Harlem Renaissance













Voices from the Harlem Renaissance , edited by Nathan Irvin Huggins [Oxford University Press $16.95] is a fine collection of over 120 selections from the political writings and arts of the Harlem Renaissance. The above paragraphs were adapted from the 8 page introduction in Huggins' book.

Thus, the Circle Association presents, for your interest, web links to pages devoted to the general Harlem Renaissance.

Links in the order we find them.

= NEW to all our pages!!!

Resources for Harlem Renaissance -

Phat African American Poetry Book contains works of the Harlem Renaissance poets: Arna Bontemps, Langston Hughes, Georgia Douglas Johnson, Helene Johnson, Claude McKay.

The Library of Congress' African American Mosaic Exhibition

A complete Harlem Renaissance site at the university of colorado

Historical Photographs photographs and captions provided by Bettie Cole, and are being used in the book she is...

A Jean Toomer Page: Five web pages consisting of a biography, samples of his work, a bibliography, and photos.

Marcus Garvey.

Zora Neal Hurston page

Voice of the Shuttle: Minority Studies page

Harlem Renaissance book The Garden Thrives

Harlem Renaissance painters

Harlem Renaissance: New York in the Twenties

Harlem Renaissance Bibliography

The Harlem Renaissance: A Selected List

The Black Experience in America, Chapter09

Harlem: Mecca of the new Negro

Harlem Renaissance1

Harlem Renaissance2

Harlem Renaissance Links

Harlem's Schomberg Center for Research in black culture

Altavista search turned up 4000+ links (I only checked 50)

Infoseek search turned up 2000+ links

Lycos search turned up 500+ links

Yahoo search turned up 17 links

Back To The Circle Association's African American Websites


This page is one of many maintained by Scott Williams for The Circle Association. Any suggestions and/or comments can be sent to Please mention the name of this page in your letter.