Join Discovery Education for a Virtual Viewing Party on Tuesday, February 23, at 1 PM ET, as students across the country simultaneously share in the story of Ruby Bridges, the first black student to attend an all-white elementary school in Louisiana.
Afterward, take part in a virtual discussion and share reflections, comments, and questions and #CelebrateWithDE.
The contributions of black Americans to art and culture are practically immeasurable. One era of African American art, music, literature, and activism was the Harlem Renaissance between 1919 and the early 1940s. During this period, writers, painters, and musicians in Harlem helped establish a voice for African American culture in twentieth-century America.
As the artists of the Harlem Renaissance explored their own past and culture, much of white America was learning about the African American experience for the first time. While the Renaissance included a wide range of cultural pursuits, writing, music, and painting were the primary distinguishing art forms.
To learn more about how African American culture expressed its unique voice and the impact it had on all of America, view the video segment The Harlem Renaissance.
Have students look for ways that the music of the Harlem Renaissance influenced other aspects of culture at the time while watching The Birth of Jazz. They may note its impact on fashion, dance, and literature, among others.
The Harlem Renaissance and the jazz age marked the first time that African American music and culture made their way into popular culture, and for the first time in America, the culture of a minority was embraced by the majority. The modern hip hop movement has similarly influenced popular culture. Have students watch Hip Hop Roots to learn more about the origins and elements of hip hop culture. Have students compare and contrast the impact of the Harlem Renaissance and hip hop on society by organizing their facts and ideas through SOS: Get VENN-y with It.
Have students continue their research on the Harlem Renaissance and hip hop while drawing connections between that era, themselves, and modern popular culture using SOS: Connect the Dots.
Additional resources about moments, people, and themes of the Harlem Renaissance to explore:
- Cultural Contributions of Black Americans: Art: Reactionary Leaders Marcus Garvey & W. E. B. DuBois (audio)
- Literature During the Harlem Renaissance (video segment)
- Art During the Harlem Renaissance (video Segment)
- W.E.B. DuBois Founds NAACP (video segment)
- Langston Hughes, Playwright and Activist (video segment)
- Duke Ellington Performs at Carnegie Hall (video segment)
- Marian Anderson Sings at the Lincoln Memorial Washington, D.C. (audio)
- History of Jazz: Jazz Movements outside of the Mainstream (audio)
- George Washington Carver, Renaissance Man (video segment)
- Stuff You Missed in History Class Podcast: Who Was “Black Moses?” (podcast)
Discovery Education Streaming Plus users can also view a complete, standards-aligned lesson plan at “The Harlem Renaissance: Giving Voice to a Culture.”