Renaissance Collage: Unpacking wealth in difference during the Harlem Renaissance.

Faturoti, Ambrose Olumuyiwa , Department of English, University of Virginia
Howard, Alan, Department of English, University of Virginia
Turner, M. Rick, Office of African American Affairs, University of Virginia

As this study has sought to showcase, Harlem during the 1920s was a nuanced symbiosis on unlike parts and persons, whose coalitions, rivalries, joint projects and personalities fueled the engine the powered Harlem's Renaissance. While the project has sought to profile a number of individuals that represent certain themes of each section, it also acknowledges that it does have shortcomings, perhaps the largest being its under-representation of women.

Two of the most noteworthy women of the Renaissance that do not bear extensive mention here are Madam CJ Walker and Jessie Fauset. Any study of this period that does not at least acknowledge the tremendous way in which each of these women impacted the movement in Harlem during this period would grossly underserve any reader.

Madam Walker's influence on black American was staggering indeed. A self-made women when such was unfathomable in business, her pioneering entrepreneurship in black American hair and skin care made her one of the most rich and respected individuals in Harlem. Her drive to succeed despite culturally-bred gender bias made her, without question, a women of the times. She stepped outside of the cultural mores and achieved greatly, recontextualizing what was possible for women in black America.

Jessie Fauset was a representative of the New Negro movement. She was born and raised in Philadelphia. Among her greatest accomplishments were her Phi Beta Kappa key, being published in numerous magazines, and perhaps foremost, being names Literary Editor of the The Crisis from 1920-26. Her influence heavily characterized the nature of resistance to white domination through the press and her writing reinforced the ideals she sought to preserve by how she edited The Crisis. Her writing was included in Locke's The New Negro.

One other acknowledgement this study must make is to the art of Aaron Douglass. The art of Aaron Douglass truly took the spirit of the movement, the feel in the Harlem breeze, and transposed it into striking images of the envisioned African past and the heart-rending memories of North American slavery to name a few themes. His art captured the period's pre-occupation with how the black Americans were to relate to their complicated history. Douglass's art was a prime example of how black Americans images themselves through the way they remembered.

MA (Master of Arts)

Originally published on the XRoads site for the UVA American Studies program. Years range from 1995-2005. Content is captured at the level of functionality available on the date of capture.

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