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ENG 247: African American Literature II

Black Wall Street

Blacks in the U.S. Military

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Amanda M. Leftwich's picture
Amanda M. Leftwich

Harlem Renaissance & The New Negro (1920-1930)

The Harlem Renaissance was an artistic, intellectual, and cultural movement spanning the 1920s in Harlem, Manhattan, New York. This movement spanned the decade until the mid-1930s and was led by African Americans in the area. At the time, it was called the New Negro Movement after Alain Leroy Locke's book, The New Negro published in 1925. The movement was expanded by the Great Migration (the physical movement of African Americans from the Southern to the Northern States). 


Image Credit: A Great Day in Harlem (or Harlem 1958)  by Art Kane for Esquire Magazine on  August 12, 1958 (published in the January 1959 issue). 

Literature during this period

The New Negro: An Interpretation (1925) by Alain Leroy Locke is a collection of work from the Harlem Renaissance. Also called the Negro Renaissance it includes social political issues of the time, artistic changes, and the burgeoning voice of the African American middle class. The book is split into two parts: Part One: The Negro Renaissance & Part Two: The New Negro in the New World. This book aimed to generate a conversation on the African American community at the time, not enslavement. This is considered the ultimate literary reference source for anyone studying African American literature, history, or culture. Locke is often called the "Dean of the Harlem Renaissance" and was called a philosopher by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.


Image Credit: WikiCommons

The Protest Era & A Call for Civil Rights (1930 - 1950)

The Civil Rights Movement was a struggle for African American social justice in America. This time period spans from roughly 1950s-1960s during which African Americans and allies fought to end racial discrimination and segregation. The Movement ended with the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in 196

The Black Arts Movement & Black Aesthetic (1960 - 1980)

The Black Arts Movement was an African American-led art and culture movement, during the 1960s and 1970s which celebrated Black Pride and individualism through creative works. 

A New Black Aesthetic & A New Millennium (1990 - Present)

The 1990s saw a mainstream push of African American literature through the genres. African American writers showcased hip hop, science fiction, romance, crime fiction poetry, plays, etc. All stories and works created during this time refute negative mainstream ideas of being African American and celebrate the African Diaspora.