Harlem Renaissance Teaching Ideas - including web connections and activity suggestions
Library of Congress
This is an annotated list of resources available about The Harlem Renaissance through The Library of Congress. Includes lesson plans and learning activities
Kennedy Center for the Arts
The Kennedy Center for the Arts has created this website. This site includes audio & video clips. Requires REAL Player or equivalent software
Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture
This site is an "exhibition website". The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture (NYPL) created this site which include a timeline of the Harlem Renaissance. This site also includes audio & video clips.
PBS aired a film titled "Jazz". On this website, there are links to some of the famous musicians of the Harlem Renaissance Period. Those included are Duke Ellington and Bessie Smith. Audio samples of their work are available.
Listen to the audio clips of music. Students complete response journal writing. Talk about the mood of the music.
How does the music reflect the culture of Harlem Renaissance? Compare/contrast Harlem-era jazz with current jazz
Suggested Unit Activities
Before the Unit
Build prior knowledge:
Build knowledge of the historical era
- Create a list of known artists of the Harlem Renaissance
- Classify the artists as visual artists, musical artist, or literary artists
- Develop a timeline of significant events in African-American history during late 19th & early 20th century
During the Unit
Provide opportunities for students to build note taking skills about the famous people of the Harlem Renaissance
through "cloze" outlines.
Create a "t" chart. List the name of the artist on one side; on the other list 2-4 descriptors about the artists' works
Conduct mock interviews with the artists of the Harlem-era. Students can then publish their interviews in a
newspaper or create their own "Hollywood-type" entertainment news show.
After the Unit
Students construct their own exhibit about the Harlem Renaissance. Discuss what qualities contribute to a "great
exhibit". Create a rubric with the desired qualities.
Reflect upon this quote from Langston Hughes: "Harlem was not so much a place as a state of mind, the cultural
metaphor for black America itself."
Discuss how the artists of the Harlem Renaissance reflected African-American culture during the early 20th century.
Compare the early jazz music to today's contemporary music. Are there similarities?