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A Renaissance in Harlem: Lost Voices of an American Community.

Harlem Renaissance] Bascom, Lionel C.

29 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0380976641 / ISBN 13: 9780380976645
Published by Bard Books, New York, 1999
From Gregor Rare Books (Langley, WA, U.S.A.)

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About this Item

A Fine tight copy in a Fine unclipped dust jacket. This books compiles oral histories, recollections and stories about the Harlem Renaissance, all told in interviews and first person narratives. A dynamic anthology of Harlem in the 1920s brings together unpublished material by Ralph Ellison and Dorothy West as well as the stirring voices of ordinary people, including peddlers, prostitutes, Pullman porters, and domestic workers. Bookseller Inventory # 25341

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Bibliographic Details

Title: A Renaissance in Harlem: Lost Voices of an ...

Publisher: Bard Books, New York

Publication Date: 1999

Edition: First Printing of the First US Edition.

About this title


Established to create jobs during the Depression, the Work Projects Administration sent writers into the neighborhoods and alleyways of Harlem to capture its distinctive voices during its most flamboyant, socially active and aesthetically vibrant era. It was a time when Harlem was Mecca, as vital as any world capital, surging with a tide of Negro migrants in search of the American Dream. The 1930s heralded the greatest period of self-discovery in African-American history after the Civil War and before the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s.

In this illuminating document, we are introduced to a West Indian conjure man known for his infallible charms and herbal remedies; a dancer at the Apollo Theater who mourns the untimely death of the entertainer who inspired her; a domestic worker determined to fight for fair wages and better treatment. And we meet Matt Henson at his retirement from his government job, still denied official recognition for his status as the first American to plant the United States flag on the North Pole.

Enter the bars, the nightclubs, the beauty shops, the street markets, the employment offices and homes. Visit with fish vendors, war veterans, Pullman porters, prostitutes, and countless others. Come listen to the memorable sounds of swing music, the singing and shouting of church choirs, and the lonely plea of a mournful spiritual.

A Renaissance In Harlem is an essential addition to the historical record of the African-American experience, a startling re-creation of a lost era in the life of New York City, and a valuable look at the early writings of two masters of American literature. Filled with humor, compassion, outrage and hope, it is an uplifting celebration of a place and people integral to the American story.

From the Back Cover:

Lost for generations in the vaults of The Library of Congress, these remarkable essays by some of the era's finest writers, including Dorothy West and Ralph Ellison, vividly evoke daily life during the Harlem Renaissance.

The Lindy-Hoppers at the Savoy began to practice acrobatic routines, and to do absurd things for the entertainment of the whites, that probably never would have entered into their heads to attempt merely for their own effortless amusement. Some critics say that this is what happened to certain Negro writers, too -- that they ceased to write to amuse themselves and began to write to amuse and entertain white people, and in doing so distorted and over colored their material, and left out a great many things they thought would offend their American brothers of a lighter complexion. All of us know that the gay and sparkling life of the so-called Negro Renaissance of the '20s was not so gay and sparkling beneath the surface as it looked.

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