The Harlem Renaissance, the great flowering of African American arts and culture in the early twentieth century, is hard to define and easy to admire. Coupled with the Great Migration, in which hundreds of thousands of Southern black workers moved to the rapidly industrializing cities of the North, the Harlem Renaissance was a time of great artistic expression, as musicians, visual artists, and writers forged a new consciousness. The works they produced reflected a spirit of change, progress, and optimism – but underlying the excitement were also a sense of struggle; reflective themes of nostalgia, guilt, and regret; and a clear-eyed view of racial relations in American culture. Host Jacke Wilson looks at the works of Langston Hughes, Nella Larsen, Zora Neale Hurston, and the many others who turned Harlem into the center of a worldwide movement.
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“The Mooche” and “Creole Love Call” by Duke Ellington and His Orchestra (feat. Adelaide Hall)
“Young Woman’s Blues” by Bessie Smith
“I’m Just Wild About Harry” from Shuffle Along (1921) (feat. Thelma Carpenter)