Harlem Renaissance - Jamestown School District

Harlem Renaissance
An Unhampered Expression of
Harlem Renaissance Writers
Sterling A. Brown
Claude McKay
Langston Hughes
Gwendolyn Brooks
Dinner Guest: Me (Langston Hughes)
I know I am
The Negro Problem
Being wined and dined,
Answering the usual questions
That come to white mind
Which seeks demurely
To Probe in polite way
The why and wherewithal
Of darkness U.S.A.-Wondering how things got this way
In current democratic night,
Murmuring gently
Over fraises du bois,
"I'm so ashamed of being white."
The lobster is delicious,
The wine divine,
And center of attention
At the damask table, mine.
To be a Problem on
Park Avenue at eight
Is not so bad.
Solutions to the Problem,
Of course, wait.
I, too, sing America (Langston Hughes)
I, too, sing America.
I am the darker brother.
They send me to eat in the kitchen
When company comes,
But I laugh,
And eat well,
And grow strong.
I'll be at the table
When company comes.
Nobody'll dare
Say to me,
"Eat in the kitchen,"
They'll see how beautiful I am
And be ashamed-I, too, am America.
Dream Deferred (Langston Hughes)
What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
Like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore-And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over-like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.
Or does it explode?
Southern Road (Sterling A. Brown)
Swing dat hammer--hunh-Steady, bo';
Swing dat hammer--hunh-Steady, bo';
Ain't no rush, bebby,
Long ways to go.
Doubleshackled--hunh-Guard behin';
Doubleshackled--hunh-Guard behin';
Ball an' chain, bebby,
On my min'.
Burner tore his--hunh-Black heart away;
Burner tore his--hunh-Black heart away;
Got me life, bebby,
An' a day.
White man tells me--hunh-Damn yo' soul;
White man tells me--hunh-Damn yo' soul;
Got no need, bebby,
To be tole.
Gal's on Fifth Street--hunh-Son done gone;
Gal's on Fifth Street--hunh-Son done gone;
Wife's in de ward, bebby,
Babe's not bo'n.
Chain gang nevah--hunh-Let me go;
Chain gang nevah--hunh-Let me go;
Po' los' boy, bebby,
Evahmo' . . .
My ole man died--hunh-Cussin' me;
My ole man died--hunh-Cussin' me;
Ole lady rocks, bebby,
Huh misery.
If We Must Die (Claude McKay)
If we must die--let it not be like hogs
Hunted and penned in an inglorious spot,
While round us bark the mad and hungry dogs,
Making their mock at our accursed lot.
If we must die--oh, let us nobly die,
So that our precious blood may not be shed
In vain; then even the monsters we defy
Shall be constrained to honor us though dead!
Oh, Kinsmen! We must meet the common foe;
Though far outnumbered, let us show us brave,
And for their thousand blows deal one deathblow!
What though before us lies the open grave?
Like men we'll face the murderous, cowardly pack,
Pressed to the wall, dying, but fighting back!
We Real Cool (Gwendolyn Brooks)
We real cool. We
Left school. We
Lurk late. We
Strike straight. We
Sing sin. We
Thin gin. We
Jazz June. We
Die soon.
Harlem Renaissance Painters
William H. Johnson
Loïs Mailou Jones
Aaron Douglas
Loïs Mailou Jones
Negro Shack I, Sedalia, North Carolina
Why is Ms. Jones choosing to paint something like this?
William H. Johnson
Chain Gang
Examine the
closely. What
don’t you see
in the
picture? Why
might this be
William H. Johnson
What do you
notice about the
clarity of the
images in this
Why might
William Johnson
have chosen to
portray himself in
such a way?
Aaron Douglas
Study for God's Trombones
This painting is
one of the most
famous of the
What is depicted
in the painting?
Why do you
believe the artist
chose to paint
such a thing?
Aaron Douglas
How do the
images in this
block print
connect to the
title of the work?
Standards - Famous songs that all artists
must know and be able to play - Take the “A”
Train - Duke Ellington
 Improvisation - Musicians create within the
framework of the song. My Little Suede
Shoes - Charlie “Bird” Parker
 Scat Jazz - Lyrics are improvised and usually
are not even words but simply sounds - Lady
Be Good - Ella Fitzgerald
Strange Fruit (Billie Holliday)
Southern trees bear strange fruit,
Blood on the leaves and blood at the root,
Black bodies swinging in the southern breeze,
Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees.
Pastoral scene of the gallant south,
The bulging eyes and the twisted mouth,
Scent of magnolias, sweet and fresh,
Then the sudden smell of burning flesh.
Here is the fruit for the crows to pluck,
For the rain to gather, for the wind to suck,
For the sun to rot, for the trees to drop,
Here is a strange and bitter crop.