Free Essay

African American Musicals

In: Film and Music

Submitted By dmitch3ll
Words 2464
Pages 10

Fortunately for American Musical Theater, many of the black artists who had been honing their craft in vaudeville and black minstrelsy began to turn their talents to musical comedy.

1898—Clorindy, the Origin of the Cakewalk
Clorindy was the first black musical to make it to Broadway. It was not actually in a theater, it was presented on the roof garden of the Casino Theater (roof gardens were outdoor nightclubs on the roofs of many theaters—very popular in the summertime). The roof gardens provided a venue for Broadway producers to try out new talent before putting the performer in a Broadway show. Will Marion Cook, one of the most famous black composers of the time, conceived the show.

In essence, he tricked Edward Rice (Evangeline—1874—1st musical comedy with an original score) into presenting the show on his roof garden by sneaking into a rehearsal and convincing the conductor of the orchestra to play his music. Cook placed his performers on stage and 26 of the finest black voices in America launched into a song that resonated off the rooftop. They were hired. On opening night there were 50 people in the audience at the beginning of the show and a packed house by the end of the first number. Broadway theater patrons heard the voices coming off the roof as they were leaving the theaters on the streets below and flocked to the roof garden. The show seems to have been more of a revue format with a very loose story that centered on the dance of the cakewalk. A black musical would not actually be seen in a major Broadway theater until 1903, when Williams and Walker presented In Dahomey.

The arrival of the Coon Song on Broadway around 1900 renewed the public interest in African-American material. The adoption of the term Coon songs was based on a total misinterpretation by white audiences. Ernest Hogan, a black composer and lyricist, wrote a song called “All Coons Are Alike to Me.” The song was about a beautiful black woman who is in love with 2 men and is trying to decide which one to choose. The white public ignored the true meaning of the lyrics and just paid attention to the title. A whole new genre of songs that carried on the negative stereotypes and propaganda of minstrelsy was born. Coon songs soon exploited every conceivable black characteristic, real or imagined, for its comic possibilities. African-American aspirations to a place in society, food preferences, the imagined inclination for crime, and gambling all were exploited. The final insult was a number of songs where there was an imagined desire by all African Americans to become white as in the song, She's Gettin' Mo' Like The White Folks Every Day. Coon songs were generally ragtime numbers written both by black and white composers that appeared in Broadway shows, vaudeville and burlesque. White women who became known a “coon shouters” often sang the songs.

Many African-American artists became determined to circumvent the continued negative effects of these songs and began to focus on musical comedy as a means to this end.

There were basically 2 schools of black musical theater at the end of the 1800’s and well into the 1900’s.
1. There were those African-American artists who believed that black musicals should try and outdo white musicals in both sophistication and content. They felt that the stereotypes should be refuted and the real persona of the black population should be portrayed (an intellectual, creative and militant approach).
2. There were also black artists who believed that African-Americans should work within established stereotypes in order to modify and change them. They felt that they could use these stereotypes to base their art on their own experiences and let their artistic endeavors reflect the soul of black people. (an intellectual, creative and more passive approach)

2 teams of writers and performers basically represent these 2 schools.

Bob Cole and Rosamund Johnson represented the first school.
Cole was a college graduate who longed for a life in theater. He got his theater training on the road with a black theater repertory company and finally landed in a black minstrel company writing songs. When he approached the white producers with the request for a raise, they refused. Cole left with his music and they had him arrested for theft. The court ruled in favor of the white producers.

Cole began presenting his songs and plays to white producers in New York. After several degrading experiences, he decided to form his own producing company.

His first show was A Trip to Coontown (1893), which played off of the title of the white musical that opened a few years earlier called A Trip to Chinatown. (musical comedy known for bringing more focus to women---Loie Fuller and skirt dancing). A Trip to Coontown used the show within a show format and featured not only black talent, but also Hispanic. The show was just marginally on Broadway and was presented in a run down theater, but still managed to turn a profit. White producers took notice.

Cole then formed a partnership with a classically trained musician from Florida named Rosamund Johnson. Johnson’s brother James was also briefly part of the team. They formed a vaudeville act in order to survive while they wrote musical comedies. Their act was very sophisticated, with Rosamund at the piano and Bob Cole singing the songs that the two had written. They made it clear to booking agents that there would be no shuffling, no black face and no coon songs in their act. During this time they wrote songs for white musicals. The most famous of these was used in 2 musicals and was called “Under the Bamboo Tree.”

They had 2 very successful Broadway shows, which they wrote, produced and starred in.

The first came in 1907 and was called The Shoo Fly Regiment. This was a story based on brave black soldiers of the Spanish American War. These soldiers were educated and patriotic. The show also included love scenes, which had been taboo in black musicals up until that time. Cole and Johnson refused to bow to African-American stereotypes.

Their second major hit came in 1909 and was called The Red Moon. Cole and Johnson had spent time on an Indian reservation during a tour with their vaudeville act. They learned about Indian folklore and music and vowed to write a musical that embraced these forms.

The Red Moon was symbolic in that it was considered a bad luck omen in African-American tradition and a call to war in Indian folklore.

The story is about a young girl named Minnehaha who is 1/2 black and 1/2 Indian. Her Indian father Chief Lowdog has abandoned her and her mother, but later returns and kidnaps her, escaping to the reservation. The story ensues as her boyfriend tries to rescue her and finally all are reunited, including Mom and Chief Lowdog. The show incorporated Indian and African-American song and dance and was a success on Broadway and on tour.

As black musicals began to wane, Cole and Johnson returned to vaudeville.

The comedy team of Bert Williams and George Walker, along with their composer, Will Marion Cook (Clorindy), represented the second school.

Bert Williams was a fair skinned immigrant from the West Indies, who met George Walker in California, where the 2 formed a vaudeville act. They were unsuccessful until Walker convinced Williams to black up. Walker was the quick talking dandy and Williams was the clown. Their act, although based on minstrel stereotypes was artistically superior to most vaudeville acts and they soon became famous. They were brought to New York to save an ailing Victor Herbert show. There was skepticism as to whether their ragtime numbers could be inserted into a Victor Herbert operetta, but they worked with the orchestra tirelessly and had stunning results. They had made a name for themselves on Broadway in a surprising venue, an operetta.

They began to refine their act, giving it a formal structure ---they added more dancing, particularly in the form of the cakewalk, and Williams developed his clown into both a funny and tragic figure—losing at poker, falling in the lake trying to fish. He adopted the song “I’m a Jonah Man,” based on the Bible Character.

The 2 met Will Marion Cook in New York and the 3 began to write a series of musicals called the back to Africa musicals.

The first came in 1903 (same year as Babes in Toyland). It was called In Dahomey. Like Cole and Johnson, Williams and Walker were very observant of life. They had met native Dahomeans in California. White producers had planned an exhibit of native African Dahomena. When their ship was delayed, the producers hired black performers to take their place. Williams and Walker had been among these impersonators. When the ship finally arrived, Williams and Walker spent time with the Dahomeans, learning of their country and their culture. This experience provided them with the inspiration for In Dahomey.

In Dahomey was basically about a man who hires 2 men named Rareback Pinkerton and Shylock Homestead (Parody in the names ---- Williams and Walker played these roles) to recover his stolen property. When they fail, the employer manages to find a pot of gold and takes everyone to Dahomey. Pinkerton and Homestead stay in Dahomey and become part of the royalty of the country.

This was the first all black show to be presented in a major Broadway theater. Once the novelty of the act wore off, the critics managed to honestly assess the quality of the show, particularly the talents of Williams.

The show toured England and managed to turn a 400% profit. This did not go unnoticed by white producers and just like they had done in black minstrelsy, they began to force black producers out of business.

Williams and Walker received criticism from the black intellectuals of the time for maintaining minstrel stereotypes, and just moving them to Africa. They responded to this criticism in a written letter in which they explained that their shows were dependent on white audiences and critics for their survival so they had to keep the expectations of those audiences in mind. They felt that even though the stereotypes were there, they were softened by black writers, and they felt that it was more important to get black performers on Broadway, then to remain in obscurity for lack of meeting some of the expectations of white audiences. Williams and Walker said this was the first step towards equality, and that the job of elevating the image of African-Americans was up to the next generation. They believed that if they developed blatant innovation, whites would not respond, and it would lead to box office failure.

In 1906, they presented Abyssinia. In this show, they depicted Africans as representatives of an ancient and praiseworthy culture and made Americans the target of ridicule. The show was based on a black family touring Europe who flees to Africa after a misunderstanding with the French police. Mistaken identity leads to one family member being mistaken for prince Rastus, the prince of an African country. The show attacked the Coon Song and the American Dream, pointing to the fact that those with little are often happier.

The show was immensely popular, but was lambasted by white critics, who felt that it was too white and had strayed too far form the established stereotypes. Williams and Walker couldn’t win---blacks thought they were selling out by continuing to portray stereotypical characters and when they strayed too far from those stereotypes, whites thought that they were too white.

Walker became ill and was forced to retire from the stage (D.1911)

Williams went to the Ziegfeld Follies and became the first black performer to appear with white performers in the same skit. He truly believed that he was paving the way for black performers. Williams died in 1922 at 48.

The first decade of this century was a heyday for black Broadway musicals. These shows were successful because of the artistry of the material and the quality of the talent. Unfortunately the audiences were mostly white. Theaters were strictly segregated and black audience members who bought orchestra seats were often asked to leave. The NAACP became involved in many battles involving black patrons who had been evicted from the main floor of the theater. Some of these battles were won.

As white producers began to control black musicals, the same thing happened as what had happened in black minstrelsy. The integrity of the material became secondary to spectacle.

During the second decade of the 1900’s African-American artists began to hone their talents away from the glare of the white critics. They performed in the nightclubs and theaters of Harlem and Chicago. They thrived on the input of their own communities.

In the 1920’s, the white community again became fascinated by the artistry of African-Americans. A movement starts in the black intellectual community known as the Harlem Renaissance. This was a period in which a new black cultural identity emerges, a transformation of social disillusionment to racial pride. White publishers became fascinated with the work of black authors, art critics became fascinated with black artists and the white public became fascinated again with black performers. By 1927, there were more white patrons in Harlem nightclubs than there were black.

This leads to another fruitful period on Broadway for black musicals. The most successful black musical to date appears in 1920. It is called Shuffle Along and was written by the famous team of Eubie Blake and Noble Sissle. The show was about corruption in politics---buying votes, making campaign promises, using taxpayer’s money to buy personal luxuries. The most famous song of the show was “ I’m just Wild About Harry.” In 1948, it became the campaign song for Harry Truman (President 1945-1953—made decision to use nuclear weapons against Japan, which ended WWII). There was a 20 minute choreographed fight in the show, which became the precursor to the lengthy ballets that would appear in musicals in the 40’s, most notably, Oklahoma!.

The show made Paul Robeson and Josephine Baker stars and broke the rules of segregation. 1/3 of the orchestra was reserved for black patrons.

Black musicals managed to survive and thrive even though they were usually presented in dilapidated theaters in the heat of summer and had to fight the bias of white critics. These musicals are incredibly important because, like vaudeville, they proliferated an appreciation for African-American music and dance, which formed the basis for most of our vernacular forms.

Similar Documents

Free Essay


...people for various reasons. Some cultures musical styles are similar; however many are also different. African Americans have quite different musical rhythms and instruments from the musical traditions of Native Americans. In this essay I will explain the differences and similarities between Iroquois, a Native American tribe and African American music.               Music is used for various reasons between Iroquois and African Americans. It is used for recreation, rituals and ceremonies, story telling, and language. For example, African Americans sung spiritual songs to help one another during slavery, so the master wouldn't know what they were talking about. Music was also used in Iroquois and Africans Americans society by communicating with others parts of the world. Music was used as an early sign of general cultural diffusion. (Plantinga, p.6) Music is used to help expand our world and cultures.             Music is a part of most activities that African Americans and Iroquois tribes enjoy. Music is taught and learned orally by both cultures. This means that they are sung and played together easily; working together as a team. Alternation between a leader and the group is a common way of call and response. For instance, "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" is a call response song, that's sung by African Americans. Music can be taught within every culture the same, but different at the same time.             Iroquois and African Americans have different types of music they......

Words: 715 - Pages: 3

Free Essay

Music 213

...Discrimination in the world of music was just as prevalent as discrimination in other spheres of society, making it difficult for African American musicians to earn a stable, living wage. Moreover, white ownership of clubs, hotels, concert halls, and record companies created a power differential. In contrast, blacks were given less prestigious performance sites and regularly received inadequate pay for their artistic contributions and musical performances. Given these conditions, Pace and his colleagues decided to create a black-owned record company that would promote and support African American musicians, treating them with respect and paying them equal to their talents. In addition, Black Swan Records had a lofty mission that included a desire to reshape negative racial conceptions of black music, as well as to develop strategies for greater access to, and gain material resources that would support and encourage African American business. Early on when record companies finally agreed to allow African American artists to record their music, the industry only permitted styles that conformed to white stereotypes and negative valuations of black music. Thus, so-called comic “coon songs” and minstrelsy the only styles endorsed by the industry for recording purposes. In other words, the industry’s own racially biased judgments of African American music, combined with its selective, gatekeeping practices played a key role in constructing and perpetuating racial conceptions......

Words: 1219 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay

African American Impact on Rock N' Roll

...African American Impact on Rock'n'Roll                          Music has always been evolving with new ideas and techniques from the beginning of time, going from the earliest string instruments to all electronic disc jockeys that are very popular across the world today. Inside all of this, however, is the way this music has been passed between artists and through time. Clearly not all music was discovered in the same place it is popular today, although much of their roots are still visible in these places. People pass information between each other and are always looking and listening for the next big thing, and with the great rock ‘n’roll boom during the mid-20th century, the idea didn’t come to artists like Elvis out of nowhere. The musical origins of the genre started from other popular music at the time, and for rock’n’roll, much of this came from Southern African American musicians. Much credit is given to artists like Elvis for his outstanding musical talent, but it would be naïve to think that only white artists were popular for their music at the time.                 Despite his image as one of the best musical talents, Elvis was not the only great rocker of his time. Throughout the 1950’s, many different artists contributed to the top songs of the decade, many of which happened to be African American. Artists such as Ray Charles, Fats Domino and Nat King Cole played significant roles in bringing black musicians to the mainstream. Their contributions have stood......

Words: 602 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

How African-American Culture Conceived Jazz

...How African-American Culture Conceived Jazz Near the beginning of the twentieth century, Jazz was a new style of music being invented by African-American musicians who lived in New Orleans, Louisiana. The city of New Orleans during the beginning of the twentieth century was loaded with individuals of different ethnicities and backgrounds. Before the early twentieth century, New Orleans was colonized by the French and Spanish. When the French and Spanish colonized New Orleans, they brought with them their slaves from various regions of the African continent; mainly, the slaves came from West Africa. In the book The Story of Jazz Marshall W. Stearns states: …the various stages in the development of the slave trade had a decisive influence on what part of Africa the slaves came from... the majority of slaves came from the West coast of Africa…inter-tribal raids and dynastic wars in West Africa led to the selling of kings and priests into slavery, people who were specialists in their own tribal music and rituals (16). When the French sold the Louisiana Purchase to the United States, the slave trade existed until it was banned sometime in the early nineteenth century. However, even though the trade was banned, slavery in the United States existed until after the Civil War. Within the confines of slavery, a new tradition was made from a mix of African and American traditions. The mix of African and American traditions started when the slaves were......

Words: 1280 - Pages: 6

Free Essay

Early Jazz 1910's

...African  oral  tradi-ons  retained  by   slaves  in  the  United  States   •  Includes      1.  Singing,  esp.  accompanied  by  movement/dance    2.  Communal  par-cipa-on    3.  Spontaneity  (i.e.,  improvisa-on)    4.  Repe--ve  chorus  and  call‑and‑response  structures    5.  A  variety  of  vocal  quali-es  and  incorpora-on  of  groans,   growls,  etc.   •  Con-nually  refreshed  by  the  arrival  of  new  slaves   •  This  reten-on  was  oJen  encouraged  by  whites  because  they   didn’t  want  African  Americans  (who  they  regarded  as   inferior)  par-cipa-ng  in  Euroamerican  life   •  Slaves  were  expected  to  sing  (so  masters  could  locate  them,   gauge  moods,  etc.)   Types  of  music  performed  by   slaves  in  the  United  States   •  Field  hollers   •  Work  songs   •  Ballads   •  Spirituals   •  Recrea-onal  music,  oJen  for   accompanying  dance   The  field  holler   •  Sung  on  coRon  planta-ons,  as  well  as  sugar  and  rice   fields     •  Sung  by  solo  singers,  rather  than  by  a  group   •  Monophonic ......

Words: 1305 - Pages: 6

Free Essay

American Roots Music

...American Roots Music 1 American Roots Music 2 The expression "American roots music" may not be well-known to all, and involves some enlightenment. At the start of the 20th Century, the phrase "folk music" was used by scholars to explain music made by the whites of the European ancestry. As the century grew, the meaning of folk music expanded to include the song styles, particularly the blues of Southern blacks. Folk music was viewed as a window into the cultural life of these two groups. Folk songs communicated with people’s hopes, dreams, and sadness of their everyday lives. More and more music was made by other groups of Americans such as Mexican Americans, Native Americans, and Cajuns (Louisiana)." The songs were sung on front porches where families would gather, in churches, in the fields and while rocking children to sleep. The melodies and words were passed down from parent to child. The songs and meanings were often changed to reflect change in times. Knowledge of folk songs and musicians grew, and popular musicians began to draw on folk music as an imaginative source as never before in the 1960s. "Folk music" became a form of popular music by singer/songwriter Bob Dylan, who helped pioneer the acoustic performing style that echoed the society based on folk musicians. Music writers,......

Words: 856 - Pages: 4

Free Essay

Stax and American Soul

...Instructor’s name Class name and section Date of submission UofM email address Significance of Stax on African American soul It has been a tough tussle for the African American people to advocate for their civil rights in the society and a contest against racial discrimination and isolation. Establishment of Civil Rights Movement was their chief strategy towards realizing their desires. Stax Museum of American Soul Music was one among various groups that engaged with a lot of enthusiasm in the struggle to terminate separation and ameliorate lives of their people. Other than just being a musical hub, Stax records were a cultural center where all people regardless of color or racial background were welcomed. They treated all the attendants equal, they produced an extensive variety of music making them an important aspect of the Memphis society. They inspired the African American community and gave them encouragement, fought seclusion which was widely and passionately supported during that time. Through its production business, they were able to finance performances targeting to benefit the needy in the African American society and encouraged children from the isolated society to progress with their education. They centered their interest in African American music its development and the influence it brings to the society. The neighborhood surrounding the Stax studio was a well webbed and naïve, due to this fact, they were able to record reasonable steps of......

Words: 1108 - Pages: 5

Free Essay

Developmental Aspects of Play

...Introduction to World Music Syllabus-Spring 2013 This course is an introduction to music and to the musical mechanics from a global perspective. There will be three aims: • to increase the students understanding of music, including its elements, structures, and terminology through live performances, students and guest artists; • to increase the students awareness, cultural connections to explore and their understanding of global relationships; how these cultures utilize musical elements, and the role that music plays within that culture; and • Most importantly, to increase the students understanding of the origins of the students’ owns individual music appreciation and the connection to the global village. Course Objectives • To explore and reconsider ideas about cultural contact in the process of musical change • To understand music terminology • To understand, review and write reports on live performances using terminology demonstrating knowledge of musical elements within rhythm, pitch, and structure • To understand and further identify the social, economic, historical, philosophical and psychological elements, which affect the form of the assigned music • To identify aurally and explain rhythm, pitch, structure and style of African, South and Central America, Caribbean, and North American, and at the discretion of the Professor a non-African Diaspora music, i.e., Middle Eastern or Asian using class excerpts • To......

Words: 1249 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay

Humanities 370 Notes

... • Mixed races – either intentional or unintentional. o Mulatto – ½ black (this is an offensive term which the root word is mule) o Quadroon – ¼ black o Octoroon – 1/8 black Video – Fisk singers and early white gospel video • Literacy was a problem – acapella singing. • Gospel – “Good news” • Fisk = HBCU in 1866 Video: the history of gospel music 02 • In the African heritage it had to be the music, the preacher and the religious. o Had to be the preacher and the response • Music was to be free but then brought Christianity which was pulled out from that they say. • Involving percussion tones • Melees tone – not singing the tone right to but to shape it. We wear the mask poem: Paul Laurence Dunbar (1872 – 1906) • Mask – façade, disguises you, hides you, masquerade, protection, performers. Performance v. rituals • Ritual o Gospel • Performance o For others/benefits o Entertainment o Image Video: Education on Minstrel – goes into the Images topic • Developed in 1820. • T.D. Rice • Jim crow presents himself as an African (black face) by performing how the Africans perform. Performance within a performance. • Compromise of 4, etc. o Paid performances • Call and response Images: • Co-opted • Corruption of the history image • Massive available – were everywhere. • The images like the lips exaggerated, clothing, hair. • Looked more animalistic in the pictures • Children in images that they were alligator bait • Food......

Words: 3558 - Pages: 15

Premium Essay

Rap Music and the Symphony

...that includes rhythmic poetry put over a musical background. The background consists of beats combined with digitally isolated sound bites from other recordings. The first recording of rap was made in 1979 and the genre began to take notice in the U.S. in the mid-1980s. Though the name rap is often used back and forth with hip hop. The name hip-hop comes from one of the earliest phrases used in rap on the song “Rapper’s Delight” by Sugarhill Gang. “I said a hip hop, hippie to the hippie, the hip, hip a hop, and you don't stop, a rock it to the bang bang boogie, say, up jump the boogie, to the rhythm of the boogie, the beat.”(Asante 109) In addition to rap music, the hip-hop subculture also formed other methods of expression like break dancing, graffiti art, a unique slang vocabulary, and fashion sense. Rap started in the mid-1970s in the South Bronx area of New York City. The birth of rap originated in the African American community and was first recorded by small, independent record labels and marketed towards, mostly to a black audience. Rap music was created out of the needs for people to express their inner most feelings and emotions. The rap culture emerged after the African American Civil Rights Movement at the end of the 1960s and in the early 1970s (Price 4). It was created out of the African American people’s need to further continue with their struggle to accomplish the goals of equality, fairness, and integration into American society. This new style soon......

Words: 804 - Pages: 4

Free Essay

Black Acnd Blue by Louis Armstrong

...This style of music, known as Jazz, was performed with the audience in mind. It was heavily influenced by ragtime and washboard bands. Jazz is also highly competitive since the musicians wanted to stand out from the rest of the crowd. Their differences were accomplished through the use of timbres, improvisation, and many other characteristic of Jazz. Louis Armstrong’s version of “(What Did I Do to Be So) Black and Blue” illustrates the characteristics of Jazz, is completely unique to his style of preference, and advocates against racial discrimination. Improvisation was the most unique and challenging style utilized in the Jazz era. Musicians used this skill set to differentiate themselves from other artists within their original musical scores along with remakes of other artist’s songs, as no two performances of a song were the same. This is because the musicians literally made up or created the notes they played for their solos during the performance. The top skilled performers of Jazz were defined by their unique ability to create interesting solos with both their vocals and instruments. Louis Armstrong had the ability to use phrasing as a singer to capture syncopations that were prominent in early jazz. Jazz in the 1920’s was a combination of blues, ragtime, swing notes, and other European influences. Armstrong was able to capture the blue note, which is distinctive by being played or sung a pitch that is slightly lower than the major scale. Louie......

Words: 1306 - Pages: 6

Premium Essay

Country vs Rap

...Compare and/or contrast essay Country vs. Rap Country music and rap music are two totally different musical genres. Despite their Musical differences^ there are some similarities in the concerts and shows the artists put on. There are also many differences between the two. Some of those differences include, the types of venues, the musical instruments, and the difference in shows and performances. The majority of country artists are Caucasian and the majority of rap artists are African American, so they bring different varieties of crowds. Over the years, the majority of most rap concerts are held at indoor venues such as basketball stadiums, indoor theaters, or hockey arenas. Some country concerts are held inside but most of the time are held outside. Another thing, many county artists perform at fairs and carnivals during the summer. The Jefferson County, TN fair has a country artist come every summer and preform. Before a country artist puts on a concert, it’s typical to have people in the parking lot tailgating and barbecuing before the show. However, at a rap concert most of the people just arrive a few minutes before the show actually starts. Additionally, more variances consist of musical instruments. Usually the only thing found at a rap concert is a DJ on stage spinning records. Although, at a country concert there is huge variety of musical instruments being used such as a banjo, piano, harmonica, violins, drums, and other......

Words: 586 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

How Was Music During the Harlem Renaissance

...neighborhood of New York City, many French-speaking black writers from African and Caribbean colonies who lived in Paris were also influenced by the Harlem Renaissance.[1][2][3][4] The Harlem Renaissance is unofficially recognized to have spanned from about 1919 until the early or mid-1930s. Many of its ideas lived on much longer. The zenith of this "flowering of Negro literature", as James Weldon Johnson preferred to call the Harlem Renaissance, was placed between 1924 (the year that Opportunity: A Journal of Negro Life hosted a party for black writers where many white publishers were in attendance) and 1929 (the year of the stock market crash and the beginning of the Great Depression). Contents [hide] 1 Background to Harlem 2 Development of African-American community in Harlem 2.1 An explosion of culture in Harlem 3 Music 4 Characteristics and themes 5 Influence of the Harlem Renaissance 5.1 A new black Identity 5.2 Criticism of the movement 6 Notable figures and their works 6.1 Novels 6.2 Short story collections 6.3 Drama 6.4 Poetry 6.5 Leading intellectuals 6.6 Visual artists 6.7 Popular entertainment 6.8 Musicians and composers 7 See also 8 References 9 External links 10 Bibliography Background to Harlem [edit] Until the end of the Civil War, the majority of African Americans had been enslaved and lived in the South. After the end of slavery, the emancipated African Americans began to strive for civic participation, political......

Words: 3129 - Pages: 13

Free Essay

Bert Williams

...Williams, was born on November 12th 1874 in Nassau, Bahamas. At the age of ten, Bert Williams and his parents went to New York City. From New York City, Bert Williams and his parents moved to Riverside, California, where Bert attended and graduated from Riverside High School. Soon following his graduation Bert’s father became very ill, which forced Bert to abandon his civil engineering studies to help earn a living. Bert started singing minstrel ditties in Cafes around San Francisco and collecting the little money people gave. Williams was struggling to provide for himself and his family, fortunately Williams met George Walker, another African American, who was also struggling to make a living. In 1895 he and George Walker auditioned and became a very popular vaudeville team. In 1902, Williams wrote and produced an all-African American musical show In Dahomey, where Williams and Walker appeared with great success. He continued to write similar shows like Abyssinia (1906), Bandanna Land (1907), and others until the death of Walker in 1909. In that year Williams joined the Ziegfeld Follies, and continued to write songs and other materials. In the December of 1921, Williams received good reviews from Under the Bamboo Tree, but the show did not. Right after, Williams developed pneumonia, but he didn’t want to miss any performances, because he knew very well that he was the only thing that kept the show alive. On February 27th, William collapsed during a performance in Detroit,......

Words: 724 - Pages: 3

Free Essay

Eth 125 Appendix D |A subgroup within a religion that operates under a common name, trandition and identity. | Part II Select at least 1 religious and 1 ethnic group not your own from the list below. Religious groups (based on Christianity Evangelical Protestant Mainline Protestant Historically Black Churches Roman Catholic Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) Jehovah’s Witnesses Orthodox (Greek, Eastern) Judaism (Orthodox, Conservative, or Reform) Buddhism (Theravada or Mahayana) Islam (Sunni, Shia, Sufism) Hinduism Ethnic groups (based on divisions in U.S. Census Bureau documents) Asian (Asian descent) Black (African descent) Hispanic and Latino (South or Central American descent) Pacific Islander (Polynesian descent) White (European descent) Part III Answer the following questions in 150 to 250 words each about the religious group you selected: How does your...

Words: 2645 - Pages: 11