Regina Anderson Andrews, Harlem Renaissance Librarian by Ethelene WhitmireThe first African American to head a branch of the New York Public Library (NYPL), Regina Andrews led an extraordinary life. Allied with W. E. B. Du Bois, she fought for promotion and equal pay against entrenched sexism and racism. Andrews also played a key role in the Harlem Renaissance, supporting writers and intellectuals with dedicated workspace at her 135th Street Branch Library. After hours she cohosted a legendary salon that drew the likes of Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston. Her work as an actress and playwright helped established the Harlem Experimental Theater. Ethelene Whitmire's new biography offers the first full-length portrait of Andrews' activism, engagement with the arts of the Harlem Renaissance, and work with the NYPL.
Call Number: Z 720 .A63 W48 2014 - Belleville General Book Collection
Publication Date: 2014-05-01
The Culture of Sports in the Harlem Renaissance by Daniel AndersonDuring the African American cultural resurgence of the 1920s and 1930s, professional athletes shared the spotlight with artists and intellectuals. Negro League baseball teams played in New York City's major-league stadiums and basketball clubs shared the bill with jazz bands at late night casinos. Yet sports rarely appear in the literature on the Harlem Renaissance. Although the black intelligentsia largely dismissed the popularity of sports, the press celebrated athletics as a means to participate in the debates of the day. A few prominent writers, such as Claude McKay and James Weldon Johnson, used sports in distinctive ways to communicate their vision of the Renaissance. Meanwhile, the writers of the Harlem press promoted sports with community consciousness, insightful analysis and a playful love of language, and argued for their importance in the fight for racial equality.
Call Number: GV 584.5 .N4 A46 2017 - Belleville General Book Collection
Publication Date: 2017-03-16
Can't Stand Still by Michael K. JohnsonBorn in 1893 into the only African American family in White Sulphur Springs, Montana, Emmanuel Taylor Gordon (1893-1971) became an internationally famous singer in the 1920s at the height of the Harlem Renaissance. With his musical partner, J. Rosamond Johnson, Gordon was a crucially important figure in popularizing African American spirituals as an art form, giving many listeners their first experience of black spirituals. Despite his fame, Taylor Gordon has been all but forgotten, until now. Michael K. Johnson illuminates Gordon's personal history and his cultural importance to the legacy of the Harlem Renaissance, arguing that during the height of his celebrity, Gordon was one of the most significant African American male vocalists of his era. Gordon's story--working in the White Sulphur Springs brothels as an errand boy, traveling the country in John Ringling's private railway car, performing on vaudeville stages from New York to Vancouver to Los Angeles, performing for royalty in England, becoming a celebrated author with a best-selling 1929 autobiography, and his long bout of mental illness--adds depth to the history of the Harlem Renaissance and makes him one of the most fascinating figures of the twentieth century. Through detailed documentation of Gordon's career--newspaper articles, reviews, letters, and other archival material--the author demonstrates the scope of Gordon's cultural impact. The result is a detailed account of Taylor's musical education, his career as a vaudeville performer, the remarkable performance history of Johnson and Gordon, his status as an in-demand celebrity singer and author, his time as a radio star, and, finally, his descent into madness. Can't Stand Still brings Taylor Gordon back to the center of the stage.
Call Number: E 185.97 .G66 J64 2019 - Belleville General Book Collection
Publication Date: 2019-02-13
South Side Girls by Marcia ChatelainIn South Side Girls Marcia Chatelain recasts Chicago's Great Migration through the lens of black girls. Focusing on the years between 1910 and 1940, when Chicago's black population quintupled, Chatelain describes how Chicago's black social scientists, urban reformers, journalists and activists formulated a vulnerable image of urban black girlhood that needed protecting. She argues that the construction and meaning of black girlhood shifted in response to major economic, social, and cultural changes and crises, and that it reflected parents' and community leaders' anxieties about urbanization and its meaning for racial progress. Girls shouldered much of the burden of black aspiration, as adults often scrutinized their choices and behavior, and their well-being symbolized the community's moral health. Yet these adults were not alone in thinking about the Great Migration, as girls expressed their views as well. Referencing girls' letters and interviews, Chatelain uses their powerful stories of hope, anticipation and disappointment to highlight their feelings and thoughts, and in so doing, she helps restore the experiences of an understudied population to the Great Migration's complex narrative.
Call Number: F 548.9 .N4 C438 2015 - Belleville General Book Collection
Publication Date: 2015-04-03
Landscapes of Hope by Brian McCammack2018 Frederick Jackson Turner Award, Organization of American Historians 2018 George Perkins Marsh Prize, American Society for Environmental History 2018 John Brinckerhoff Jackson Book Prize, Foundation for Landscape Studies In the first interdisciplinary history to frame the African American Great Migration as an environmental experience, Landscapes of Hope travels to Chicago's parks and beaches as well as youth camps, vacation resorts, and the farms and forests of the rural Midwest. Despite persistent racial discrimination and violence in many of these places, African Americans retreated there to relax and sometimes work, reconnecting with southern identities and lifestyles they had left behind. Between 1915 and 1940, hundreds of thousands of African Americans moved away from the South to begin new lives in the urban North. In Chicago alone, the black population quintupled to more than 275,000 in a quarter century. Most historians map the integration of southern and northern black culture through labor, religion, politics, and popular culture. Brian McCammack follows a different path, recapturing black Chicagoans as they forged material and imaginative connections to nature. In the relatively prosperous migration years but also in the depths of the Great Depression, Chicago's black community--women and men, young and old, working class and upper class--sought out, fought for, built, and enjoyed natural and landscaped environments. No matter how crowded or degraded, green spaces provided a refuge for black Chicagoans and an opportunity to realize the promise of nature and of the Great Migration itself. Situated at the intersection of race and place in American history, Landscapes of Hope traces the contours of a black environmental consciousness that runs throughout the African American experience.
Call Number: F 548.9 .N4 M325 2017 - Belleville General Book Collection
Publication Date: 2017-10-16
Experiencing Bessie Smith by John ClarkBessie Smith occupies a unique place in the history of American music. She was one of the first undisputed artists to come from the American vernacular tradition of the twentieth century, and as a woman, she was a figure of extraordinary power. She organized and led her own touring companies, wrote some of her repertoire, controlled her many relationships (romantic and otherwise), and even negotiated her own contracts. This type of agency was virtually unheard of in the popular music industry during the first half of the century, and Smith is often cited as a major influence on artists who sought to manage their work and reputation. Her musical output comprises a long series of recordings done between 1923 and 1933, all of which feature her vocal range, musical ability, and emotional power. Her band included some of the best black musicians of the day. In Experiencing Bessie Smith, John Clark chronicles Bessie Smith's vital contribution to and influence on music, the music industry, and the recording industry. While her recording career lasted only a decade, she toured long before setting her music to vinyl, with much of her early career amply documented. Singers from Billie Holiday to Janis Joplin were influenced by her work, and both musicians and music lovers today continue to be entranced by her unmistakable style.
Call Number: ML 420 .S667 C53 2017 - Belleville General Book Collection
Publication Date: 2017-10-06
Josephine Baker and Katherine Dunham by Hannah DurkinJosephine Baker and Katherine Dunham were the two most acclaimed and commercially successful African American dancers of their era and among the first black women to enjoy international screen careers. Both also produced fascinating memoirs that provided vital insights into their artistic philosophies and choices. However, difficulties in accessing and categorizing their works on the screen and on the page have obscured their contributions to film and literature. Hannah Durkin investigates Baker and Dunham's films and writings to shed new light on their legacies as transatlantic artists and civil rights figures. Their trailblazing dancing and choreography reflected a belief that they could use film to confront racist assumptions while also imagining--within significant confines--new aesthetic possibilities for black women. Their writings, meanwhile, revealed their creative process, engagement with criticism, and the ways each mediated cultural constructions of black women's identities. Durkin pays particular attention to the ways dancing bodies function as ever-changing signifiers and de-stabilizing transmitters of cultural identity. In addition, she offers an overdue appraisal of Baker and Dunham's places in cinematic and literary history.
Call Number: GV 1785 .A1 D87 2019 - Belleville General Book Collection
Publication Date: 2019-08-06
Paul Robeson - A Life of Activism and Art by Lindsey R. SwindallPaul Robeson: A Life of Activism and Art is the biography of an African American icon and a demonstration of historian Lindsey R. Swindall's knack for thorough, detailed research and reflection. Paul Robeson was, at points in his life, an actor, singer, football player, political activist and writer, one of the most diversely talented members of the Harlem Renaissance. Swindall centers Robeson's story around the argument that while Robeson leaned toward Socialism, a Pan-African perspective is fundamental to understanding his life as an artist and political advocate. Many previous works on Robeson have focused primarily on his involvement with the US Communist Party, paying little attention to the broader African influences on his politics and art. With each chapter focused on a decade of his life, this book affords us a fresh look at his story, and the ways in which the struggles, successes and studies of his formative years came to shape him as an artist, activist and man later on. Robeson's story is one not simply of politics and protest, but of a man's lifelong evolution from an athlete to an entertainer to an indispensible man of letters and African American thought. Swindall neatly outlines the events of Robeson's life in a way that freshly presents him as a man whose work was influenced by more than just his circumstances, but by a spirit rooted in dedication to the African's place in American art and politics.
Call Number: E 185.97 .R63 S948 2013 - Belleville General Book Collection
Publication Date: 2015-09-15
Zora and Langston by Yuval TaylorHurston and Hughes, two giants of the Harlem Renaissance and American literature, were best friends--until they weren't. Zora Neale Hurston (Their Eyes Were Watching God) and Langston Hughes ("The Negro Speaks of Rivers," "Let America Be America Again") were collaborators, literary gadflies, and close companions. They traveled together in Hurston's dilapidated car through the rural South collecting folklore, worked on the play Mule Bone, and wrote scores of loving letters to each other. They even had the same patron: Charlotte Osgood Mason, a wealthy white woman who insisted on being called "Godmother." Paying them lavishly while trying to control their work, Mason may have been the spark for their bitter falling-out. Was the split inevitable when Hughes decided to be financially independent of their patron? Was Hurston jealous of the woman employed as their typist? Or was the rupture over the authorship of Mule Bone? Yuval Taylor answers these questions while illuminating Hurston's and Hughes's lives, work, competitiveness and ambition.
Call Number: PS 3515 .U789 Z93 2019 - Belleville General Book Collection