In Search of African America:  One Collector's Experience January 17-March 21, 2004

In the quarter century following the First World War, African Americans were on the move in many ways. First and foremost was the migration of black families from the southern states into the big cities of the northeast and Midwest. They took tough jobs in the factories and packing plants and came to call the north home.

But African Americans also were on the move in self-determination. They asserted their rights through political organizations such as the Universal Negro Improvement Association, the NAACP, the Nation of Islam and the Congress of Racial Equality. Men such as Marcus Garvey, Walter White, Elijah Muhammad, and Adam Clayton Powell spoke up for black people.

Blacks also were prominent in literature. Supported by the estate of C.J. Walker, black writers flourished in Harlem in the 1920s: Jean Toomer published Cane; Claude MacKay published Home to Harlem; Langston Hughes published The Weary Blues. By the end of the 1930s, Zora Neale Hurston had written her second book, Their Eyes Were Watching God and Richard Wright burst onto the literary scene with his masterpiece, Native Son.

In sports, African American proved their prowess. The Negro Baseball League was a showcase for stars such as Oscar Charleston, Satchel Paige and many others. Jesse Owens proved his superiority and won accolades for black athletes by taking four gold medals in the 1936 Olympics. And Joe Lewis added insult to injury when he won back his heavyweight boxing crown from Max Schmeling.

The Harlem Renaissance
1920-1946

 

harlem renaissance exhibit section

harlem renaissance exhibit section

In this photo:
--Mr. Hicks giving a tour of the exhibit.

 

 
This exhibit is divided into 10 sections

1. Introduction
--The James Hicks Collection

2. The Burden of Slavery, 1619-1861

3. The Civil War, 1861-1865
4. The Price of Freedom: Reconstruction, 1865-1877

5. Say Hello To Jim Crow, 1878-1897

6. Up From Slavery: The Self Help Period 1898-1919
7. The Harlem Renaissance, 1920-1946 (you are here)
8. The Civil Rights Era, 1947-1968
9. The Black Power Movement, 1968-1980
10. The Turn of the Century, 1981-2004
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