As we celebrate Black History Month, let’s reflect on one of the most culturally significant time periods of African American history: the Harlem Renaissance.
I have always been interested in the Harlem Renaissance, stemming from reading Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston when I was in high school. I followed that up with reading the beautiful biography by Valerie Boyd, Wrapped Up in Rainbows: The Life of Zora Neale Hurston. I was so impressed by the life and writing of Hurston, and what it meant for her to be such a prominent figure in the Harlem Renaissance. Before I knew it, I was exploring more. Having already been introduced to jazz music in middle school, I knew the genius of Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, and Billie Holiday. What I didn’t know, however, was the extent of their contribution to the Harlem Renaissance movement and all the other art, music, and writing that was being created during the 1920s and 30s in the cultural epicenter that was Harlem.
If you are looking for some authors, artists, musicians, and other prolific people of the Harlem Renaissance to get you started on your search for learning more about this historic time of rebirth for the African American culture, check out some of my suggestions below. It’s my humble attempt at a beginner’s guide, so please add your own contributions in the comments!