Philadelphia’s Relationship to the Harlem Renaissance

Author: Keysiah M. Middleton

School/Organization:

Anna Shaw Middle School

Year: 2006

Seminar: The Harlem Renaissance and Beyond

Keywords: African American History, Harlem Renaissance, New Negro Movement, Philadelphia

School Subject(s): Social Studies, History, African American History

This curriculum unit seeks to explore the New Negro Movement beyond the physical boundaries of Harlem, New York. As a result of the New Negro Movement occurring in several major United States urban centers, it has not only been called the Harlem Renaissance, but also the Negro Renaissance. Due to the Great Migration, where African Americans relocated from the southern region of the United States to points in both its northern and Midwestern regions. There occurred an explosion of activity in the urban centers like Philadelphia that they came to call home. Thus, the New Negro Movement transpired not just in Harlem, but in large cities across the nation. Harlem became analogous with the New Negro Movement primarily because “though not the only major area to boast a large African American population, it came to symbolize modern black society.”

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Introduction

Philadelphia’s Relationship to the Harlem Renaissance” curriculum unit will deal specifically with the disciplines of Reading, English and Language Arts (RELA) as well as that of Social Studies. However, the subjects of Writing, Speaking and Listening will be incorporated as well for the purposes of encouraging proficient writing skills, effectual speaking abilities, and valuable listening skills. This unit will allow educators to incorporate the arts into the educational process. Integrating the arts in classroom activities and lessons will allow for differentiated instruction for students on multiple levels, provide students with the exposure necessary to cultivate their artistic abilities, engage them in hands-on creative activities that will stimulate interest, and have them learn content material while they are having fun.

Students will research relevant information regarding the African American artist, dancers, writers, performers, musicians, as well as entertainment venues, social/political organizations and the church in Philadelphia during the period referred to as the Harlem Renaissance. This information will be read, dissected, studied and analyzed to increase the student’s English and Language Arts skills. Social Studies skills will be enhanced with an acquired knowledge of the Philadelphia African American’s influence on the New Negro Movement through the study of these components. Consequently, students will be able to identify and describe what was occurring artistically and culturally in the city of Philadelphia concomitantly with New York during the renaissance. Students will also be able to explain Philadelphia’s relationship to the Harlem Renaissance as a result of her contributions to and role in the New Negro Movement.

This expanded knowledge, more specifically, of African American history and American history, in general, will provide students with the essential background information needed to describe the African American’s role in both Philadelphia and American history. Furthermore, students will be able to recognize and give details of historical markers within and around the city, specifically those identified with the renaissance period. Students will be able to identify the Philadelphia artist, musician, entertainer, and writer of the Philadelphia Renaissance. After the completion of the unit, students will have ascertained a greater appreciation of the history of African Americans in the city of Philadelphia.

This unit seeks to speak to the need for students to be educated of the fact that Harlem simply served as a geographical location in its relationship to the New Negro Movement, since it was the Chicago Renaissance, Detroit Renaissance, Cleveland Renaissance, Saint Louis Renaissance, Harlem Renaissance, Pittsburgh Renaissance, Philadelphia Renaissance and more that made contributions to the New Negro Movement collectively. The outcome will be an in-depth focus and study of the Great Migration that played a significant role in the creation and development of the urban centers that we thrive in today; how change affects everything yet nothing; and the masterpieces of some of the Philadelphia literary and artistic giants of that period. The curriculum unit will also look at Harlem as the center of multicultural diversity and its identification to the renaissance movement; Philadelphia as the gateway to Harlem and other key destinations; entertainment in Philadelphia; and the African American church, business, and social organization in Philadelphia during the New Negro Movement.

Introduction

This curriculum unit seeks to explore the New Negro Movement beyond the physical boundaries of Harlem, New York. As a result of the New Negro Movement occurring in several major United States urban centers, it has not only been called the Harlem Renaissance, but also the Negro Renaissance. Due to the Great Migration, where African Americans relocated from the southern region of the United States to points in both its northern and Midwestern regions. There occurred an explosion of activity in the urban centers like Philadelphia that they came to call home. Thus, the New Negro Movement transpired not just in Harlem, but in large cities across the nation. Harlem became analogous with the New Negro Movement primarily because “though not the only major area to boast a large African American population, it came to symbolize modern black society.” (1) New York was a place where virtually everyone from everywhere wanted to be. This contributed to the diversity that was to be found in Harlem. Although, the New Negro Movement was happening in various cities across the United States, Harlem housed a more diverse group of people. Drama and social critic, Lester A. Walton stressed Harlem’s diversity by stating that “one finds there members from Africa, Asia, Europe, South and Central America, as well as all parts of the United States, speaking different tongues yet held together by a community of interest.” (2) This homemade
cultural diversity is one of the many reasons Harlem was at one time considered the “cultural capital” of the world. As the “cultural capital” of the world, Harlem became more closely related to the Negro Renaissance. As a result, this unit will expound upon Philadelphia’s contributions to, impact upon and role in what is commonly referred to as the “Harlem Renaissance.” The time frame in which the New Negro Movement took place has resulted in widespread debate. As to when the renaissance began and ended is questionable. The renaissance began approximately in 1915 and was actually still taking place well beyond the 1930s. This unit is intended to instruct sixth, seventh, and eighth grade middle school students not only about the history of the renaissance, but also about the combination of urban center renaissance movements that culminated into the New Negro Movement. This unit may be negotiated to address the issues of specially designed instruction or differentiated instruction to accommodate the needs of inclusion students with Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) in the same grades. This unit can also be utilized and implemented by teachers who teach students performing below their instructional and/or academic grade level. Again, this unit can be adjusted to meet the educational needs of the student.

“Philadelphia’s Relationship to the Harlem Renaissance” curriculum unit will deal specifically with the disciplines of Reading, English and Language Arts (RELA) as well as that of Social Studies. However, the subjects of Writing, Speaking and Listening will be incorporated as well for the purposes of encouraging proficient writing skills, effectual speaking abilities, and valuable listening skills. This unit will allow educators to incorporate the arts into the educational process. Integrating the arts in classroom activities and lessons will allow for differentiated instruction for students on multiple levels, provide students with the exposure necessary to cultivate their artistic abilities, engage them in hands-on creative activities that will stimulate interest, and have them learn content material while they are having fun.

Students will research relevant information regarding the African American artist, dancers, writers, performers, musicians, as well as entertainment venues, social/political organizations and the church in Philadelphia during the period referred to as the Harlem Renaissance. This information will be read, dissected, studied and analyzed to increase the student’s English and Language Arts skills. Social Studies skills will be enhanced with an acquired knowledge of the Philadelphia African American’s influence on the New Negro Movement through the study of these components. Consequently, students will be able to identify and describe what was occurring artistically and culturally in the city of Philadelphia concomitantly with New York during the renaissance. Students will also be able to explain Philadelphia’s relationship to the Harlem Renaissance as a result of her contributions to and role in the New Negro Movement.

This expanded knowledge, more specifically, of African American history and American history, in general, will provide students with the essential background information needed to describe the African American’s role in both Philadelphia and American
history. Furthermore, students will be able to recognize and give details of historical markers within and around the city, specifically those identified with the renaissance period. Students will be able to identify the Philadelphia artist, musician, entertainer, and writer of the Philadelphia Renaissance. After the completion of the unit, students will have ascertained a greater appreciation of the history of African Americans in the city of Philadelphia.

This unit seeks to speak to the need for students to be educated of the fact that Harlem simply served as a geographical location in its relationship to the New Negro Movement, since it was the Chicago Renaissance, Detroit Renaissance, Cleveland Renaissance, Saint Louis Renaissance, Harlem Renaissance, Pittsburgh Renaissance, Philadelphia Renaissance and more that made contributions to the New Negro Movement collectively. The outcome will be an in-depth focus and study of the Great Migration that played a significant role in the creation and development of the urban centers that we thrive in today; how change affects everything yet nothing; and the masterpieces of some of the Philadelphia literary and artistic giants of that period. The curriculum unit will also look at Harlem as the center of multicultural diversity and its identification to the renaissance movement; Philadelphia as the gateway to Harlem and other key destinations; entertainment in Philadelphia; and the African American church, business, and social organization in Philadelphia during the New Negro Movement.

Rationale

Did the New Negro Movement/Negro Renaissance/Harlem Renaissance occur primarily in Harlem, New York? Many people seem to believe that New York City, particularly Harlem, is solely responsible for the arts renaissance that came about within the AfricanAmerican urban communities during the 1920s, 1930s, and early 1940s. How is it that urban centers across the country sprang up with a new sense of writing literature, performing dance and producing music, film, theatre and art? I arrived at preparing and developing this curriculum unit as a result of wanting to expose students to what was happening in Philadelphia concurrently to what was stirring in Harlem during the same time period. In addition to knowing the significance of the role other large cities played in helping to create this unique event, it is important for students to know why Harlem is more closely associated with this New Negro Movement as well as why this cultural explosion of African-American literature, art, music, dance, and theatre is consistently taught in connection exclusive to Harlem. Although, several cities around the country were extensively involved in the promotion of this African American artistic eruption, our goal is to focus on Philadelphia as a noteworthy participant. This unit will allow students to delve into a portion of the rich history of Philadelphia as an old city. The curriculum unit will examine some of this history through the eyes of the Philadelphia Renaissance.

The goal of the unit is to address the extension of this cultural phenomenon that materialized in several other cities such as Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland, Saint Louis, Pittsburgh, and Philadelphia that created the New Negro Movement. Students will be able to expand on how the Great Migration affected the New Negro Movement. They will be able to explain that as new urbanites, the former Southerners were now exposed to a different kind of culture, and that this newly found cultural exposure allowed African Americans to exist with a new sense of identity. African-Americans would experience a new form of social life that involved sophisticated styles of literature, art, music, dance, and theatre. Subsequently, this experience not only evolved in Harlem, but also in other major cities of the United States that were also affected by the Great Migration.

Students should be able to explain that, although it is Harlem that is identified with the African American cultural and artistic evolution, other major urban centers had an important role in developing this new sense of identity. The migration of many African Americans to the north caused some tensions to arise between northern-born African Americans and southern migrants. The Renaissance often chronicled the tensions that threatened the movement towards a change for a new social and cultural identity. The story “Miss Cynthie” by Rudolph Fisher can be read and discussed to address this more in detail because it is a “story that is reconciled by the fusion of Southern culture with Northern culture.” (3) Moreover, this unit will focus some attention on some of the chief players of the Philadelphia Renaissance, like Jacob Lawrence, Langston Hughes, Alain Locke, Jessie Fauset, Marion Anderson, Ethel Waters, and Paul Robeson to name a few. We will consider the role they played and review some of their works that contributed to the Renaissance.

Henry Louis Gates, Jr. writes in “New Negroes, Migration, and Cultural Exchange” that “the great movement of people of African descent from rural South to the urban North between 1900 and 1930 was the largest movement of black bodies since slavery radically abstracted black Africans from Senegambia and Ghana to Angola, from River Nigeria to the Congo, and then removed them to South America, the West Indies, and the agriculture-dominated Southern United States.” (4) The New Negro Movement was one of the many outcomes that were a direct result of this Great Migration. It is for this reason that we cannot neglect to focus some attention on this important chapter of American history. The relocation of African Americans from the South to the North was more of a shift from rural to urban. Actually, many Americans of all kinds began to move from rural America. “This pattern of moving from rural to urban fit the general pattern of population shift for the United States as a whole.” (5)

The opportunity to relocate in the North availed itself to African American Southerners in a number of ways. World War I and its demand for industrial labor; tales of better prospects; the possibilities of greater freedoms and not as many racial restrictions; fewer
lynchings; better access to public education; a severe blight of southern farms as a result of boll weevil infestations and damage to crops caused by flooding, were just a few of the many reasons on the surface that caused African Americans to uproot themselves and move away from the South. In fact, “during this period, America’s own Dark Ages, more black people were lynched, burned, and tortured than at any other time in the nation’s history. Blacks fled ” in large numbers from the South. (6) However, there are some underlying reasons that gave birth to the Great Migration as well. Our attention has been diverted away from an analysis of many real issues. This part of the unit will be utilized to build on the students’ critical thinking skills. Students will begin to thoroughly think through and examine why a large group of people would make such a drastic change in their lives.

In Black Exodus: The Great Migration from the American South, Alferdteen Harrison, discusses these underlying causes. She wrote that “during the Great Migration, 1915 to 1960, about five million rural Southern African-Americans migrated to the northern industrialized cities of America. The immediate conditions for the Great Migration were created after the Civil War when African-Americans were not given forty acres and a mule, the means to economic survival at that time. Intensifying the deprived status of the African American was the system of legal segregation that gradually emerged throughout the South after the 1896 Plessy vs. Ferguson Supreme Court decision legalizing separate railroad accommodations. Legal segregation aborted the trend to recognize the citizenship rights of African-Americans that had begun thirty-one years earlier with the Emancipation Proclamation and continued with the passage of the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments. Segregation presented many contradictions to American democracy, particularly in the South where more than five million African-Americans decided to leave in search of a better life.” (7) The South, during this period, was a horrible place for an African American.

Although, the North did not prove to be that much better, it was still, by all standards, a better place to be than in the South. One might argue that any opportunity would have given African Americans an excuse as well as a chance to forge forward for something better. However, “the most immediate cause of this migration from the South was the First World War, which shut off the flow of cheap European immigrant labor in 1914. By 1915, with war production in full swing the United States, the need for industrial workers was acute. Two unexpected and heretofore unwanted sources were tapped—white women and black southerners.” (8) As a result of this one can surmise that the migration was primarily an economic move.

The Chicago Defender was very instrumental in printing stories of the opportunities to be had “up North.” The Chicago Defender was a widely read newspaper in African American communities all over the South. According to David Levering Lewis, “as many as 1,300,000 Afro-Americans were reading or having read to them the weekly national edition of the Defender.” (9) As a result of this, throughout the five-year period between
1914 and 1919, the African American populations in American Northern cities grew substantially. Nearly one million Southerners relocated to the North at that time. Almost 40 percent of the northern African American population resided in Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Detroit, New York, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia towards the end of 1920. The influx of migrants was dramatic in that southern migrants arrived in cities continuously in droves. Between 1920 and 1930, approximately one more million African Americans arrived in the North. Consequently, by the end of the decade, there were almost two million African Americans from the South living in Northern cities.

The “City of Brotherly Love” was no exception to this. As an old city, Philadelphia had already had a significant African American population as a result of it being a key destination for freedman after the Civil War. In fact, “New York and Philadelphia received thousands of freed people from Virginia and Maryland after the war.” (10) In 1924, the country’s second largest urban African American population can be accredited to the city of Philadelphia. Despite this, Philadelphia still was affected by the Great Migration. “Between 1910 and 1920 the black population rose to 134,224, or 7.4 percent of the city’s total, with most of the increase coming between 1916 and 1919. The rise of the 1920s was considerably greater, with migration peaking between 1922 and 1924 at more than 10,000 per year. A net increase of just over 85,000 raised the city’s black population to 219,599, or 11.3 percent, by 1930.” The bulk of the new arrivals came from Georgia, South Carolina and Virginia. (11)

Southern African Americans from all walks of life migrated northward and settled in Philadelphia. A study of Philadelphia’s population increase during the 1920s and 1930s will give students some perspective of how important Philadelphia was as a primary destination for southern migrants during that time frame. In addition to identifying the causes of the Great Migration, students will explore both the positive and negative affects of the migration. The “Promised Land” became a living hell for many Southern migrants, women in particular. After World War I, employment was almost non-existent for African Americans. These Northern urban centers they called their new homes quickly became segregated ghettos and the quality of life for the migrants deteriorated. Life became just as difficult for Southerners in the North as it had been in the South involving almost the same issues. Students will be able to compare and contrast pre- and post-New Negro Movement populations. This will broaden the student’s understanding of how and why the city of Philadelphia emerged as a key collaborator of this cultural and artistic movement. They will gradually begin to comprehend that “Philadelphia did play an essential role in advancing the black cultural movement of the 1920s.” (12)

Directly related to the creation of major urban centers in the United States was the need for African Americans to cultivate a new sense of self, hence the term the “New Negro Movement”. In Philadelphia, various African Americans artists structured this new identity. Jurgen Hienrichs notes that Philadelphia was just as much a key location as New
York City, in that it operated as a gateway to other destinations, particularly Harlem for those continuing their artistic and intellectual journey. Philadelphia’s “seaport and central geographical location on the eastern seaboard made it a center of commerce and trade where the arts, literature, and music could flower. Philadelphia, like other large cities, provided a community of increasingly mobile artists, musicians, and writers with an urban-centered experience of modernity. Philadelphia’s impact on the Harlem Renaissance manifested itself in three areas: (1) in a spirit of tolerance and cultural experimentation stemming from the city’s abolitionist heritage and deep-rooted religious traditions; (2) in a community of innovative artists, writers, and musicians whose nexus of modernity and African American identity; and (3) in the advancement of educational opportunities for blacks in prominent local institutions.” (13)

There is a countless number of Philadelphians who contributed to the New Negro Movement that resulted in the Philadelphia Renaissance. However, this unit will study only a few of its members for each facet of this artistic African American movement. Much of the role Philadelphia played will be more detailed in Unit IV of the Lesson Plans. It is imperative that students learn about how literary figures used the art of letters and their mastery of words to have an impact on social change in the United States. The power of the pen is an enormous tool that can be, when used effectively, can tap into one’s heart, mind, and soul. The circumstances African Americans faced at the time called for change and with the call for change usually came the call for action. Literary figures like Alain LeRoy Locke, Jessie Redmon Fauset, and Langston Hughes, to name a few utilized the power of the pen as their course of action. Students will not only read the personal biographies (or bibliographies) of theses individuals, but also some of the works they produced that set the stage for change while at the same time providing the world with great literature.

Alain LeRoy Locke has been called the father of the New Negro Movement because of his work, primarily, as a strategist and theorist of the movement. Locke, a native of Philadelphia, along with his family had strong ties to the city. His father, Pliny Locke, attended the Institute for Colored Youth in Philadelphia. After graduating, he taught and later served as principal of the Institute. Today, The Institute for Colored Youth is called Cheyney University.

Alain LeRoy Locke was born in Philadelphia on September 13, 1886. Locke’s intellectual accomplishments and academic achievements are quite impressive. He received two Bachelor of Arts degrees, two Master of Arts degrees and a Ph.D in philosophy. He attended Central High School in the Olney-Logan section of Philadelphia. Locke graduated second in his class in 1902. He went on to attend the Philadelphia School of Pedagogy. He studied at Harvard University from 1904 until 1907 where he completed a four year program in three years. Locke received his first Bachelors degree. This allowed him the freedom to pursue his first Masters degree. His academic achievements continued onto London, England where he studied as the first African
American Rhodes scholar at Oxford University. He received his second Bachelor of arts degree here. Locke continued his education in Germany where he pursued advanced studies in philosophy. In Germany, Locke received his second Masters degree. In 1918, Locke received his Ph.D in philosophy from Harvard University. “Locke was one of the first African Americans to write about the significance of African art. He wanted all African Americans, in particular contemporary African American artists, to seek inspiration and take pride in their rich artistic heritage.” (14)

Locke is also credited as an individual who helped to familiarize white America with the New Negro Movement that was occurring during the 1920s and into the 1940s. Locke’s role in the New Negro Movement is important because he encouraged African Americans “to seek out subjects in African American life and to set high standards for themselves.” (15) He believed that this strategy would help to gain equality and respect for African Americans. Alain Locke not only stressed the use of the African American cultural heritage as the basis of all artistic work, but he used his position in the movement to promote the literary careers of young artists and authors like Countee Cullen, Zora Neale Hurston, and Langston Hughes. In the unit that will focus on Alain Locke, students will analyze a few of his writings that directly look at how he strategized the movement. The teacher will guide students through in reading and analyzing, The New Negro: An Interpretation, The Negro in America, The Negro and His Music and Negro Art: Past and Present. These works are divided into excerpts that concentrate on certain passages that get the point across.

Another native to Philadelphia was Jessie Redmon Fauset. She was also very influential and instrumental to the movement. Jessie was born in Philadelphia in 1882 and lived on 17th Street in South Philadelphia. Despite accounts that Jessie was born in Camden, New Jersey as well as Fredericksville, New Jersey, “in her own personal statements, Fauset claims Philadelphia as her birthplace and the parsonage as her home.” (16) She attended the Philadelphia High School for Girls in 1900. Upon her graduation from high school, she continued her studies at Cornell University, where she was the first African American student in attendance. Jessie returned to Philadelphia to continue studies at the University of Pennsylvania where she received a Master of Arts degree in French.

Jessie was important to the movement because she was the first writer to depict the African American middle class. Two of her works, There is Confusion published in 1924 and Comedy American Style published in 1933 both set in Philadelphia, portray this. In addition to depicting a different aspect of African American life, Fauset contributed informative essays to the movement. She wrote many biographies of prominent African Americans. She believed that this was important because of the need to educate the younger generations of African Americans about “the achievements of their race.” To her credit and accomplishments of the New Negro Movement are the titles of writer, biographer, essayist, literary critic, short story writer, and poet. Excerpts of her novels
that portray the African American middle class will be read for contrast and comparison. Students will compare the African American middle class community of the 1920s and today. Jessie also worked with Black Opals, a Philadelphia literary journal. Black Opals was a literary club established in Philadelphia. The club served Philadelphia and its surrounding areas as a literary exposure outlet for young local black writers. The journal was in circulation from 1927 to 1928.

Objective

The objective is to teach this curriculum unit in accordance with the Pennsylvania Academic Standards for Reading, Writing and History (See Appendix) and curriculum subject to produce effective lessons and activities that will develop the student’s knowledge base and skill concentration during the academic school year that he may be completely knowledgeable of the content material and capable of passing State Standardized Test. This curriculum unit serves as a supplemental educational device to support the existing course material to positively affect learning. Therefore, the secondary objective is to incorporate this unit making use of the standards, anchors and assessments to aid in student achievement. The New Negro Movement is an enormous topic to encompass. As a result of this, this curriculum unit has been divided into five subunits to shed some light and focus some attention on every possible aspect of the subject matter. The intent of Unit I is to familiarize students with the distinctive ways in which to refer to events. Students analyze and interpret historical sources through defining the literal meaning of historical passages, and look at reasons and causes for multiple points of view. Additionally, this subunit seeks to expand student vocabulary by differentiating between literal and figurative meanings of words. Other purposes of Unit I include having students evaluate continuity and change as well as investigate and explain historical research to confirm the time and place of past events. These will address History standards 8.1.8. A and 8.1.8.B.

The aim of Unit II is to extend Unit I by having students develop the ability to identify and describe how continuity and change have influenced American history. Also, by having students read and understand works of literature utilizing the concepts of comparing and contrasting literary elements that include setting, plot, theme, point of view and tone, for example. This subunit also seeks to expand on the student’s writing proficiency and interest in reading through his ability to apply organizational literary elements, such as cause and effect and relevant illustrations. These will expound upon the History standard 8.1.8.A and deal with Reading standards 1.1.8.E.1, 1.3.8.B., and Writing standards 1.4.8.A.5 and 1.4.8.B.1.

The goal of Unit III is to have students understand the cultural contributions of individuals, groups, and organizations to the history of Pennsylvania. The ultimate plan is get students to concentrate attention on Pennsylvanian cultural, artistic, social and commercial leaders who have impacted American culture. This subunit concentrates on History standards 8.2.8. A and 8.2.8.C.

Unit IV functions to support Unit III because it will empower students with additional facts and knowledge about the city by reviewing the particulars on local historic sites, attractions and places in Philadelphia that African Americans have had some association with. This unit deals with History standard 8.2.8.B.

The Philadelphia church and organizations are the central points of Unit V, the goal being for the students to analyze social organization in Philadelphia during the Philadelphia Renaissance. This unit also addresses history standard 8.2.8.B.

Lesson Plans

The curriculum unit should be taught utilizing various reading strategies and techniques centered toward improving reading skills. The unit also incorporates techniques to foster critical thinking skills. Lessons entail the use of reading strategies such as clarifying, comparing and contrasting, connecting to prior experiences, inferencing, predicting, questioning the text, recognizing the author’s purpose, seeing casual relationships, summarizing, and visualizing” to increase comprehension. (17) These strategies should be modeled before, during, and after (BDA) reading so that students are aware of how to practice the strategy when they begin to read. This unit will also incorporate the use of graphic organizers as manipulatives to aid in the learning process. To build critical thinking we utilize the skills of analogy, brainstorming, challenging assumptions, combining, considering consequences, recognizing the dominant idea, fantasizing, forecasting, mental imagery, random stimulation, thinking in reverse terms, and suspending judgment. (See Appendix)

Unit I includes the introduction and serves as a building block for the entire unit. The unit begins with concept mapping to give students the general idea. (See Appendix) It involves covering the range of terms used to define the educational, inventive and collective transformation of African Americans during the New Negro Movement; the discrepancy of the time frame in which the movement occurred; and why the city of Harlem, and not all of the participating cities, is mostly associated with the renaissance. The Introduction may result in four lessons depending on the strength of the students. Consequently, this component will look like:

Unit I

Lesson 1

Review of the Concept Map. (See Appendix) Students will be given an overview via a graphic organizer. This is to give them a general idea of what is to be covered in the unit. Students can begin to build on background knowledge.

Lesson 2

What should the African American cultural, artistic, and social phenomenon have been called? The New Negro Movement/Negro Renaissance/Harlem Renaissance? Do Now: Have students think of and record something that is referred to with several names. For instance, a house is also referred to as a home, pad, crib, residence, dwelling, etc. Have students do this for five things. Have the students also write why something would have several names. Students will be introduced to the background information surrounding the renaissance. The lesson will cover the use of various synonyms that describe the same thing using very different terms.

Lesson 3

When did the New Negro Movement actually occur? The purpose here is to show students that sometimes, important events are not always properly documented, so a range is used to define the time period leaving room for discrepancies.

Lesson 4

Why is “Harlem” most closely associated with the renaissance and not all of the cities that contributed along with the time frame that the movement occurred? Do Now: Have students list what they think are the top ten cities in the United States and why. If they have been to any of the cities they list, have them also describe their experience in that city. Finally, have them compare that city as well as the experience to Philadelphia. Students will review the history and background information of Harlem and how it came to be known as the “economic and African American cultural capital of the world.”

Unit II discusses the Great Migration’s causes and affects on the African American southern migrant and the United States as a whole. This unit also contains three sections. The lessons may be covered independently or in combination depending on the student’s academic speed. It covers, in the first lesson and in more detail, the causes that resulted in southern migration such as racial discrimination, the lynching, burning and torture of African Americans, World War I and its high demand for northern industrial labor, the idea of better opportunities in the North, and the boll weevil epidemic. The second lesson incorporates the statistics of the massive numbers of African Americans migrating from points south and most specifically, Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland to start new lives in the North, more so in Illinois, Missouri, New York, Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania. Lastly, lesson three covers the effects of the Great Migration that resulted in the poor living conditions of African Americans who migrated to the North, their ghetto confinement in certain urban areas of the cities, increase in mortality rates, limited access to public services, racial segregation, and most importantly, restricted job opportunities.

To thoroughly teach the Great Migration portion of “Philadelphia’s Relationship to the Harlem Renaissance,” I refer to the expertise of Jacob Lawrence’s The Migration Series. Lawrence’s sixty-piece “visual narrative” told the story of the migration through paintings. These vivid, colorful and bold paintings could not have told this story any better. Students will be able to learn about Jacob Lawrence– the artist, analyze and critique his works of art while simultaneously learning the story of the Great Migration as told through pictures. Although, not a native Philadelphian, Jacob Lawrence did spend a portion of his childhood years in Philadelphia. Young Jacob Lawrence and his family not only briefly lived in Philadelphia, but were participants in the Great Migration. Who better to tell the story than someone who lived the story that is being told? As a result of Lawrence having some connection to Philadelphia, I believe his works during the New Negro Movement are more of a national contribution to the American arts than a local one. Therefore, Philadelphia does have some small claim to him.

The unit also takes a look at a few of the works of poet and writer, Langston Hughes. The Great Migration was the subject of a few of Langston Hughes’ works. In fact, he and Jacob Lawrence collaborated in 1948 on “One Way Ticket.” Both pieces of work share the same title. Hughes wrote the poem and Lawrence produced an ink on paper illustration. This segment of the unit will give students the opportunity to read, analyze and interpret literature through the identification of poetic forms. Other poems, by Hughes, dealing with the subject of the Great Migration include, “The South”, “Po Boy Blues”, and “Black Seed”. Hughes, like Jacob Lawrence, was not a native of
Philadelphia, but he studied in the area at Lincoln University. Langston Hughes was a major literary figure of the New Negro Movement at home and abroad. He produced countless works that include short stories, novels, poetry, and essays. For this reason, it would be impossible to teach a curriculum unit that discusses both the New Negro Movement and the Great Migration and not mention Hughes or include any of his works. This covers a portion of what the unit seeks to achieve in the area of literature and art. The outcome for this unit should be:

Unit II

Lesson 1

The causes of the Great Migration –

Do Now: Why would you just get up, leave a place that you have always considered home, and never look back? What would cause you to just uproot your life and leave your family, friends, and job? Have students make inferences and draw conclusions based on their background knowledge of the Great Migration. Here students will study the racial discrimination, lynching, burning and torture of African Americans in the United States, WW I, the need for industrial labor, the idea of better opportunities in the North, the boll weevil epidemic and Southern crop damage due to flooding as well as the underlying causes that showed early signs that such an event would occur.

Lesson 2

The Story of the Great Migration –

Do Now: Who is Jacob Lawrence? Who is Langston Hughes? Using an LCD projector and laptop display visual images of Jacob Lawrence and Langston Hughes. Discuss who they are. Give their personal history and discuss their achievements. Converse about the massive numbers of African American southerners that moved North. Briefly review the numbers of migrants that relocated to cities such as Chicago, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Detroit, Harlem, Saint Louis and Philadelphia. Also, talk about where they came from. Present the visual image One-Way Ticket illustration of Jacob Lawrence’s, The Migration Series along with Langston Hughes’ poem, One-Way Ticket. (See Appendix) As a class, read the poem; analyze the art and dialogue to determine the meanings of each. Group students into teams of four and give each group a copy of the illustration and poem to review, re-read, discuss among themselves and share ideas.

Based on their outcomes of both items, Have each group jot down a twenty-five word summary of their analysis of the two pieces and share their ideas with the class. Segue into Jacob Lawrence’s sixty piece collection that actually tells the story of the migration in more detail. This assignment may take up to a week or two to complete for students to get a thorough understanding of the migration as told through art. Again, depending on your student’s academic and/or
instructional level, the time frame can be negotiated. Start with the first twelve pieces of Lawrence’s artwork. Have the grouped students place the work in chronological order, read the passages, summarize and re-tell the beginning in 25 words or more. This will be repeated until all sixty pieces of the collection have been viewed and analyzed. Once complete, the students will have composed a five paragraph essay re-telling Jacob Lawrence’s Migration Series. While the culminating result of a one page essay does not do a sixty-piece art collection much justice, it will give the student a sense of how a story through art is told. Through careful analysis and discussion of color, lines, shapes, setting, etc., students should have gained a better insight of how to view art. This leads up to the final portion of Lesson 2. Have the students produce a five to ten piece work telling their own story through art using either drawings or photographs. Have them include a short passage for each piece. Then have the students of each group alternate for a discussion and analysis of one another’s work. Let’s see if they can summarize and re-tell the story.

Lesson 3

The Affects of the Great Migration.

Do Now: Once the African American southern migrants relocated from the South to the North, how do you think their lives were? Have the students give a detailed written description of how they think the status of their lives changed, what their living conditions were, the sort of homes they lived in, the kinds of jobs they obtained, the type of education their children received, etc., This should lead into the discussion of the poor living conditions the southern migrants encountered, their confinement to ghetto areas of the city which led to the segregated conditions, the increased poverty, mortality rates, their limited access to jobs and public services. Have the students compare their neighborhoods to the one being discussed in this lesson and contrast the similarities as well as the differences. Have the class discuss if they may be currently living the affects of the Great Migration. They can compare and contrast the different neighborhoods and the dynamics of these areas to determine if the conditions are the same, have improved or gotten worse since the time of the migration.

Unit III

This unit will proceed with describing the details of how this new awareness of individuality was developed and extended among African Americans across the United States. This unit contains five lessons. Lesson 1 of this segment serves as the introduction to make a case about how art is utilized not only for purposes of cultural aesthetics, but also as an instrument to encourage social change. Based upon all the conditions set forth in the unit, students will establish how through the employment of literature, music, drama/theatre, art became resources to bring about social change. This also subtly addresses the importance of education that is another issue of major concern in the urban public school. Students can dialogue about how education is the foundation needed for one to obtain the abilities and capabilities to realize the achievements accomplished by many of the contributors of the New Negro Movement. They can discuss how each contributor to the cause had some connection to an institution of higher learner. Lesson 2 reviews the literature of the movement, the approach used and the outcome. Lesson 3 details the use of music as an apparatus, and gives a picture of the birth of jazz in the United States. Lesson 4 deasl with the art of drama and theatre. And Lesson 5 involves the use of art, and how artists used their African roots and heritage as the basis to formulate art to affect how and what America thought of African Americans. The end result is:

  • Lesson 1 – What did the key players of the New Negro Movement intend for their art to accomplish? Discuss the purpose the art served during the movement.
  • Lesson 2 – Literature and Literary Figures
  • Lesson 3 – Music, Musicians and the Birth of Jazz
  • Lesson 4 – Drama, Theatre and Performance
  • Lesson 5 – The Artist and His Art

Unit IV

Now that the foundation has been laid and students have acquired some familiarity of the New Negro Movement; the causes and affects of the Great Migration; the statistics surrounding the migration; and how artists used their art as a device to make a difference, students will now study “Philadelphia’s Relationship to the Harlem Renaissance”, and the African American contribution to the history of the United States. Students should become familiar with the many historical markers located within, and around, the city of Philadelphia that seek to preserve sites as historical landmarks. This unit engages students in a field activity. A student field trip around the city will provide students with the opportunity to view the historical landmarks and attractions, photograph sites and provide recorded documentation of their experience. This phase of the unit is broken down and comprised of four lessons to examine the Philadelphians (or those individuals associated with Philadelphia) who provided some artistic gift via the components of literature, music, drama/theatre/performance, and art. Lesson 1involves a discussion and review of the literary works of Alain L. Locke, Jessie Redmon Fauset, and Langston Hughes. Lesson 2 takes a look at the musical works of Marion Anderson and John Coltrane. Students will also discuss Union Local 274, American Federation of Musicians. The unit also looks at how Philadelphia was a principal musical venue. Lesson 3
discusses the contributions of Philadelphians through drama, theatre and performance. It studies some of the works of Paul Robeson and Ethel Waters as well as the showplaces, such as the Dunbar and Standard Theatres that provided venues for African American entertainment and audiences. The final piece to this unit details the art of Laura Wheeler Waring, Meta Vaux Warrick Fuller, Allan R. Freelon, and Henry Ossawa Tanner. The end product for this will appear as:

  • Lesson 1 – Philadelphians who have made literary contributions to the Philadelphia Renaissance such Alain L. Locke and Jessie Fauset.
  • Lesson 2 – Philadelphians who have made musical contributions to the Philadelphia Renaissance such as Marion Anderson, Dizzie Gillespie, Billie Holiday, and John Coltrane.
  • Lesson 3 – Philadelphians who have made theatrical contributions to the Philadelphia Renaissance such as Ethel Waters and Paul Robeson as well as the institutions that supported them such as the Standard Theatre and the Dunbar Theatre.
  • Lesson 4 – Philadelphians who have made artistic contributions to the Philadelphia Renaissance through art such as Meta Vaux Warrick Fuller, Laura Wheeler Waring, Henry Ossawa Tanner, Allan R. Freelon, Horace Pippin and Jacob Lawrence.

Unit V

The African American church in Philadelphia has had a noteworthy position in shaping the history of the city. It is important to mention the role it played during the Philadelphia Renaissance. This unit contains two lessons that will consist of the accounts of the church in Philadelphia. The unit will take a glimpse, particularly, at Mother Bethel AME, Church of the Advocate, and Tinley Temple. African American organizations also need mentioning. Organizations such as the Workers Progress Administration (WPA) Federal Arts Project and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) all had local chapters that worked towards the advancement of the African American cause. Two lessons make up this unit. Lesson 1 focuses on the history of the church and Lesson 2 focuses on social organizations in Philadelphia.

  • Lesson 1 – The history of the church in Philadelphia, Mother Bethel AME, The Church of the Advocate, and Tinley Temple
  • Lesson 2 – Organizations in Philadelphia, the NAACP and WPA

Assessment

During the lessons and after completion of the lessons, students need to be assessed for content knowledge, comprehension, and reading skills improvement. The following sample rubric is a teacher-made assessment that can be referred to for the basis of determining the level of skill the student has acquired during the learning process. (See Appendix) A new rubric will need to be created to assess each element of a unit. The rubric should be presented to the student prior to the lesson so that he may know what it is he needs to accomplish to receive a specific grade. The rubric is the teacher’s tool in determining if the student has grasped the concept. If, after assessment, the student shows little signs of understanding the concept needs to be re-taught. The lessons are layered to build upon one another. Therefore, each lesson should be thoroughly understood before advancing to the next stage.

Reading to Analyze Information:

Name: ______________________________________ Date: ____________________

4 Advanced 3 Proficient 2 Average 1 Basic/General

Introduction to the New Negro Movement
The student is able to demonstrate an advanced level of knowledge of the subject topic. The student is able to provide five or more facts and give five or more supporting details and examples.
The student is able to demonstrate a proficient level of knowledge of the subject content. The student can provide three to five facts that relate to the subject topic and give a few supporting details and examples.
The students can demonstrate an average level of knowledge of the subject topic. The student can provide at least three facts about the subject topic. The student can provide three supporting details and examples using at least one example.
The student can demonstrate a basic or general idea of the subject topic. The student can provide one to two facts about the subject content.

Score _____ Teacher comments:

Suggested Teacher Readings

Baker Jr., Houston A., 1987, Moderism and the Harlem Renaissance, Chicago, The University of Chicago Press.

Beers, Kylene, 2003, When Kids Can’t Read What Teachers Can Do: A Guide for Teachers 6-12, Portsmouth, NH, Heinemann.

DuBois, WEB, 1899, The Philadelphia Negro, Philadelphia, The University of Pennsylvania Press.

Franklin, John Hope and Moss Jr., Alfred A., 2004, From Slavery to Freedom: A History of African Americans, New York, Alfred A.Knopf.

Gregory, James N., 2005, The Southern Diaspora: How The Great Migration of Black and White Southerners Transformed America, Chapel Hill, The University of North Carolina Press.

Harrison, Alferdteen, 1991, Black Exodus: The Great Migration from the American South, Jackson, University Press of Mississippi.

Hutchinson, George, 1995, The Harlem Renaissance in Black and White, Cambridge, The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.

Jackson Jr., John L., 2001, Harlem World: Doing Race and Class in Contemporary Black America, Chicago, The University of Chicago Press.

Krasner, David, 2002, A Beautiful Pageant: African American Theatre, Drama, and Performance in the Harlem Renaissance 1910-1927, New York, Palgrave McMillian

Lewis, David Levering, 1995, The Harlem Renaissance Reader, New York, The The Penguin Group.

Lewis, David Levering, 1979, When Harlem Was in Vogue, New York, The Penguin Group.

Martin, William R. with Johri, Arvinder K., 2005, Teaching Beyond the Standards: 18 Ideas With Work Options for Teachers, K-12, Lanham, Maryland, Scarecrow Education. Patton, Venetria K and Honey, Maureen, 2001, Double-Take: A Revisionist Harlem Renaissance Anthology, New Brunswick, Rutgers University Press.

Tracy, Steven C., 2004, A Historical Guide to Langston Hughes, Oxford, Oxford University Press.

Trotter Jr., Joe William and Smith, Eric Ledell, 1997, African Americans in Pennsylvania: Shifting Historical Perspectives, University Park, PA, The Pennsylvania State University Press.

Turner, Elizabeth Hutton, 1993 Jacob Lawrence: The Migration Series, Washington, D.C., The Rappahannock Press.

Wright, Kai, 2001, The African-American Archive: The History of the Black Experience Through Documents, New York, NY, Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers, Inc.

Suggested Middle School Student Readings

Bolden, Tonya, 2003, Portraits of African American Heroes, New York, Dutton Children’s Books.

Duggleby, John, 1998, Story Painter: The Life of Jacob Lawrence, San Francisco, Chronicle Books LLC.

Franklin, John Hope and Moss Jr., Alfred A., 2004, From Slavery to Freedom: A History of African Americans, New York, Alfred A.Knopf.

Hakim, Joy, 1995, A History of Us: War, Peace, and All That Jazz 1918-1945 Book 9, New York, Oxford University Press.

Haskins, Jim, 2002, Black Stars of the Harlem Renaissance: African Americans Who Lived their Dreams, New York, John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Lawrence, Jacob, 1993, The Great Migration, New York, The Museum of Modern Art, New York and the Philips Collection.

Leach, Deba Foxley, 2001, I See You. I See Myself: The Young Life of Jacob Lawrence, Washington, D.C., The Philips Collection.

Wright, Kai, 2001, The African-American Archive: The History of the Black Experience Through Documents, New York, NY, Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers, Inc.

Appendix

The following websites can be utilized to obtain additional resources and to produce the following:

1. To access Jacob Lawrence’s sixty piece Migration Series go to: http://www.columbia.edu/itc/history/odonnell/w1010/edit/migration/migration.ht ml

2. Additional resources to utilize for discussions on the Great Migration and its affect refer to the following:

(A) Black Boy by Richard Wright

(B) The Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison

(C) Manchild in the Promised Land by Claude Brown

3. For additional readings of literary figures associated with Philadelphia go to:

(A) http://www.dclibrary.org/blkren/bios/alexanderlg.html for information on Lewis Grandison Alexander.

(B) Wonders: The Best Children’s Poems of Effie Lee Newsome by Rudine Sims Bishop and illustrated by Lois Mailou Jones 4. To access the Pennsylvania Academic Standards for Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening and History go to: http://www.pde.state.pa.us/stateboard_ed/cwp/view.asp?a=3&Q=76716

5. To make a Concept Map go to: http://www.internet4classrooms.com/excel_concept_map.htm or create one using Microsoft Word, click on insert and diagram. Then fill in the blanks.

6. To access Historical Markers associated with locations and people of the Philadelphia Renaissance go to: http://www.explorepahistory.com/

7. To create an assessment rubric go to: http://rubistar.4teachers.org/index.php

8. To access the Chicago Defender Archives of letters and articles go to: http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/african/images/galliard.jpg and http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/african/images/adams.jpg

9. For details on the skills used to teach critical thinking skills see Teaching Beyond the Standards: 18 Ideas With Work Options for Teachers, K-12 by William R. Martin with Arvinder K. Johri, pages 127-131

Notes

(1) Quote taken from class lecture, “Harlem Renaissance and Beyond” at the University of Pennsylvania given by Professor Herman Beavers on February 7, 2006.

(2) Krasner, David A., A Beautiful Pageant: African American Theatre, Drama, and Performance in the Harlem Renaissance 1910-1927, Palgrave McMillian, New York, NY, 2004 (page 8-9)

(3) Ibid (page 9)

(4) Turner, Elizabeth Hutton, Jacob Lawrence: The Migration Series, The Rappahannock Press, Washington, D.C., 1993 (page 17)

(5) Cited from http://www.pbs.org/jazz/places/faces_migration.htm

(6) Turner, (page 18)

(7) Harrison, Alferdteen, Black Exodus: The Great Migration from the American South, University Press of Mississippi, Jackson, 1991 (page viii)

(8) Cited from http://www.pbs.org/jazz/places/faces_migration.htm

(9) Lewis, David Levering, When Harlem was in Vogue, Penguin Group, New York, 1979 (page 21) (10) Gregory, James N., The Southern Diaspora: How the Great Migrations of Black and White Southerners Transformed America, The University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, 2005 (page 12-13)

(11) Trotter Jr., Joe William and Smith, Eric Ledell, African Americans in Pennsylvania: Shifting Historical Perspectives, The Pennsylvania State University Press, University Park, PA, 1997 (page 289)

(12) Cary D. Wintz and Paul Finkleman, Encyclopedia of the Harlem Renaissance, Volume I, A-J, Heinrichs, Jurgen,“Harlem Renaissance in the United States: 6-Philadelphia”, Routledge, New York, NY, 2004 (page 514)

(13) Cary D. Wintz and Paul Finkleman, Encyclopedia of the Harlem Renaissance, Volume I, A-J, Heinrichs, Jurgen ,“Harlem Renaissance in the United States: 6-Philadelphia” Routledge, New York, NY, 2004 (page 515)

(14) Cited from http://people.cornellcollege.edu/K-artolotta/studentsymp2005.htm

(15) Cited from http://www.africawithin.com/bios/alain_locke.htm

(16) Cited fromhttp://www.dclibrary.org/blkren/bios/fausetjr.html

(17) Beers, Kylene, When Kids Can’t Read What Teachers Can Do: A Guide for Teachers 6-12, Heinemann, Portsmouth, NH, 2003 (page 41)