Harlem Renaissance Projects

Harlem Renaissance Hall of Fame Museum Project

In order to learn more about the impact of the prominent people who shaped America during the Harlem Renaissance time period, our Lit/Lang III class will be inducting members into our Hall of Fame Museum.  Inductees into our museum will be primarily the writers and poets of the era as well as musicians, artists, and social change leaders.  In addition some prominent places like the Cotton Club will also be highlighted in the museum.

Choose your inductee to the museum

You must choose from the following list and seek approval from Mrs. Stolte or Borger if you have another idea for an inductee. No sports figures – they’ve been overdone- learn about someone new. If there’s someone you want to cover, ask us. Links in orange weren’t on your original handout. Continue reading


I Wish for You to Be Happy

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art-credit: Sejal P.

After responding to the journal about violence & love today (posted below), I asked students to engage in a mindfulness activity: they were to secretly choose 2 students in class and when I told them to, they were to close their eyes and think “I wish for them to be happy” for 5 seconds.

Their “homework” is to engage in this simple mental activity as they move through the halls to their classes or at the first five minutes of class each day.  It is a potential way to combat all the hate and judgmentalness in our world that led to the horrific events of slavery, convict leasing, Jim Crow, and hate in our country’s history.

Hopefully they share their “homework” with their parents / guardians and encourage them to engage in this exercise at work. 😀

To learn more, listen to “Mindfulness on Demand” from the Note to Self Podcast series.

Journal prompt:

02/16/17: Violence & Love
MLK said, “The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy, instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it. Through violence you may murder the liar, but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth. Through violence you may murder the hater, but you do not murder hate. In fact, violence merely increases hate. Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

What are some real ways we can use love to defeat hate?

“I, Too” by Langston Hughes

I, Too
By Langston Hughes

I, too, sing America.

I am the darker brother.
They send me to eat in the kitchen
When company comes,
But I laugh,
And eat well,
And grow strong.

I’ll be at the table
When company comes.
Nobody’ll dare
Say to me,
“Eat in the kitchen,”

They’ll see how beautiful I am
And be ashamed—

I, too, am America.

Poems need to be recited to the class by the end of the Harlem Renaissance Unit (TBA).  This is worth 100 points. See assignment prompt and rubric for details.

Harlem Renaissance: Celebrate Good Times

After the systemic oppression of slavery & convict leasing followed by the trials of the Great Migration, African-Americans finally had space to express themselves through art, music, and poetry.

“I, Too” by Langston Hughes (all students will memorize & recite this by the end of the unit for a 100 point presentation grade)

It Don’t Mean a Thing, If It Ain’t Got That Swing” by Ella Fitzgerald

Minnie the Moocher” by Cab Calloway

Jump and Jive” Cab Calloway and the Nicholas Brothers

Cotton Club Dancers dancing to “Bugle Call Rag” by Duke Ellington

Lindy Hoppers dancing

Nightlife by Archibald John Motley

Students will pull from other Harlem Renaissance links for the duration of this unit.

Slavery by Another Name

Realism came out of a need to accurately represent what was actually happening in our country which included the horrors of slavery and the Civil War.

Students will watch the PBS documentary Slavery by Another Name which covers the period of time immediately following the Emancipation Proclamation.  Most Americans believe that freedom came easily and instantaneously after Lincoln’s speech, but that was not the case.  Through convict leasing and peonage, slavery in alternative forms lasted through the 1940’s in this country.

Students will take notes as they view the film – notes can be in a traditional format or they can be creative and make a word cloud, doodle, etc. Notes are due at the end of each day’s viewing.

Isabel Wilkerson wrote The Warmth of Other Suns which chronicles the Great Migration out of the south to New York & the east coast, Chicago & the Midwest, and LA & the west. Wilkerson was interviewed on Democracy Now where she discussed the three primary tales in her book.

The Great Migration led to the Harlem Renaissance, which we’ll be discussing in coming weeks.

Compass Testing & Research

In order to take dual-credit courses, students need to take the Compass exam offered by SWIC.  On Thursday, 02/09, the Compass will be given here at SHS.  Students who want to take it need to apply to SWIC for a student ID number.

Students asked Borger to take them to the lab so they could complete this task, and she made time in the schedule to do that.  7th hour did it on 02/07. 1st hour will do it today, 02/08.  Hopefully that is enough time for students to get their ID’s and take the Compass on the SHS campus.  If they can’t take it tomorrow, they can always take the Compass at SWIC or one of its satellite campuses.

Students should then conduct some preliminary research on slavery, lynching, or convict leasing.  Students should choose a theme from this page or read information on lynching or the narrative of a lynching victim’s family.

Look through the links below and try to locate images that parallel information from their theme and/or from the narratives of Frederick Douglass or Harriet Jacobs.  They should describe the image in as much detail as they can  on a separate sheet of paper, including the title of the photo and which site it came from (i.e. Man in Cell, Slavery by Another Name).

African Americans in Slavery

Slavery by Another Name Photo Gallery

Museum of African American History and Culture

America’s Black Holocaust Museum Gallery