THE HARLEM RENAISSANCE
Lessons, Literature, Art, Jazz,
Blues, and Black History
NEXUS Connects: The Harlem Renaissance
Black creativity, suppressed in America for centuries, percolated and the arts intermingled in the cultural melting pot of Twenties Harlem. Students explore this fusion of African American literature, art, blues, jazz and black history in The Harlem Renaissance volume of NEXUS.
WE DO THE RESEARCH FOR YOU, providing all of the backstory you’ll need in literature, art, blues, jazz and black history in this inspiring student resource that’s a teacher resource too.
We employ an Interdisciplinary Approach to teach an Interdisciplinary Period, utilizing interactive, classroom-tested teaching strategies and lessons that inspire students of all levels.
LASSROOM NOTES PLUS, NCTE (National Council of Teachers of English)
“Each [NEXUS] volume…is a hybrid of a well-written interdisciplinary textbook and a lively, attractive magazine….’Songs of the Seventh Son’ is one of many thoughtful chapters in The Harlem Renaissance volume of NEXUS. ”
HE COLLEGE BOARD
“All Nexus volumes emphasize the critical skills and analogical thinking that are crucial for success on the SAT.”
Aligned with Common Core Standards. For secondary students.
African American Literature from Langston Hughes to Zora Neale Hurston, from Arna Bontemps to Dorothy West
- An exciting Common Core exploration of Harlem Renaissance literature.
- Students examine inspirational poetry influenced by W.E.B Du Bois’ theories.
Figures of Speech: from Harlem Slang to Rap
n this lesson students learn exciting and entertaining ways to explicate figurative language as they carefully explore Zora Neale Hurston’s Glossary of Harlem Slang, an inherently figurative patois, and her hilarious “Story in Harlem Slang” (Spunk collection). Students then interpret some of the most artful lyrics of Grammy Award-winning rapper Coolio.
– Harlem Renaissance Short Stories that Explore the Great Migration
Langston Hughes + Poetry = Blues
enned by Pulitzer Prize-winning Poet (1994) Yusef Komunyakaa, this chapter explores Langston Hughes’s blues and jazz-influenced poetry and the use of tension and humor in his spare verse. Students also examine the jazz rhythms of his poems.
Langston Hughes’s Influence on Later Poets
Harlem Renaissance Poetry – Songs of the Seventh Son
tudents explore social theories of W.E.B. Du Bois through poems they inspired by Langston Hughes, Helene Johnson, Arna Bontemps and Claude McKay. The chapter teaches students to interpret complex poetry and connect it to black history as well as their own lives. It also enables students to compare a variety of interpretations of the same topics.
tudents trace the history of black theater, focusing on the pivotal role of 20s’ and 30s’ plays and musicals, from Eubie Blake and Noble Sissle’s era-defining hit Shuffle Along to Langston Hughes’s early comedies like Little Ham.
The Great Migration
he historical backbone of this volume, this multi-pronged lesson covers the events that paved the way for the Harlem Renaissance, from Reconstruction through W.W.I and its aftermath. Powerfully written with a narrative introduction, the chapter probes the politics of prejudice.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.1, RH.2, .RH.3, RH.6, RH.8, and RH.9 (for 9-10 and 11-12).his chapter aligns with
“n exuberant three-page overview whose atmospheric approach does not fail to acknowledge that during that period, as Langston Hughes put it, “the Negro was in vogue.” While recognizing that the “marketability” of African American culture was driven by white tourists, the introduction still gives a good accounting of the achievements made possible by the “vogue” and includes recollections of Harlem life from Hughes, Dorothy West, and others.” – THE COLLEGE BOARD
arlem Renaissance arts interpreted black history and the contemporary black experience for a broad national audience for the first time in American history.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.1, RH.2, and RH.3 (for 9-10 and 11-12).his lesson meets Common Core Standard
- Harlem Renaissance music and black music from the Delta to the Chicago Blues.
- Students to learn to recognize and distinguish the various musical voices of the period.
The Roots of the Blues
A Brief History of the Blues” at the All About Jazz website.)his chapter and the accompanying “Blues Supplement” and Harlem Renaissance lesson plans teach students the history and contemporary relevance of the blues. They also explore the structure of the blues and its offspring rock and roll and learn to write their own blues compositions and lyrics, modeled on the blues poetry of Langston Hughes. (For a list and descriptions of the various types of blues see “
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.1, R.2, R.6 and R.8. For more on the blues see Race Records and Selling Black Music below.his lesson satisfies Common Core Anchor Reading Standards:
Jelly Roll Morton & Jazz
s “rap was borne at the block parties of the Bronx in the late seventies and early eighties, jazz was nurtured and perfected at rent parties in the twenties – not only in Harlem, but in Chicago and St. Louis.” (“When Harlem Was Heaven,” The Harlem Renaissance, NEXUS.)
Race Records and Selling Black Music
his chapter chronicles the evolution of the blues from its birth in the Mississippi Delta through the Classic Blues in Harlem to the Chicago Blues as well as the challenges and prejudice black musicians faced in the recording industry.
African American Art
Harlem Renaissance Visions—The Art of Aaron Douglas
The Judgment Day at the National Gallery of Art and Let My People Go at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. They may also want to explore and emulate the interdisciplinary collaborations between Douglas and poet Langston Hughes (see Harlem Renaissance Lesson Plans.) For more on reading visual metaphors see “Poetry in Botticelli’s Primavera,” Romeo and Juliet and the Renaissance and “Greek Art, Visual Storytelling,” Antigone and the Greek World.tudents learn to “read” the visual metaphors and contrasts of the leading painter of the Harlem Renaissance Aaron Douglas and to interpret his visual narratives of black history. Students should compare the image to the left, The Creation, with
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL7 (for 9-10 and 11-12; and National Core Art Standards, Program 8, Anchor Standards 1, 5, 7, 8, 10 and 11 (for 9-10 and 11-12).his exciting chapter and lesson satisfies
Harlem Renaissance Lesson Plans and Interdisciplinary Guidelines
NEXUS SUPPLEMENTS can be accessed under the SUPPLEMENTS menu. NOTE: NEXUS supplements and booklets are protected by U.S. Copyright and cannot be photocopied, photographed, or downloaded.
Harlem Renaissance Writing Projects
- Harlem Renaissance activities
Harlem Renaissance project ideas
Additional Blues Resources for Students
Abridged Glossary of Harlem Slang, by Zora Neale Hurston
GUIDELINES: The NEXUS guidelines suggest interdisciplinary activities and student-friendly ancillary readings.