"Locke represents a biographical challenge of unusual difficulty. While McKay and Hughes embraced the rank and file of Black America and proudly identified themselves as Black poets, Cullen sought success through writing in traditional forms and employing a lyricism informed by the work of John Keats. Well chosen and well commented on, this is the work that defined the Harlem Renaissance and it's indispensable. A discussion of the writings of Harlem during this period, by someone who apparently never lived there, that excludes the mass movement of working class blacks led by Marcus Garvey is very odd. Reviews | Superbly educated, dazzlingly intelligent, psychologically complicated, and a cultural analyst and visionary whose books and essays helped to shape our understanding of race and modern American culture, Locke could also be petty and vindictive, manipulative and cruel. McKay and Hughes made names for themselves in prose as well. It was a hard read, bombastic and wordy. It is difficult to imagine a more able chronicler of Alain Locke's singular journey than Mr. Fisher’s The Walls of Jericho (1928) won critical applause because of the novel’s balanced satire of class and colour prejudice among Black New Yorkers. This anthology, including Zora Neale Hurston's "Spunk" and many poems by Langston Hughes, Countee Cullen, Jean Toomer, and Claude McKay, is such a brilliant, important collection in the context of American literary history. Shifting the discussion of race from politics and economics to the arts, he helped establish the idea that Black urban communities could be crucibles of creativity. - Harvard Magazine This is an extremely valuable anthology that brings together some of the most important figures of the Harlem Renaissance. A tiny, fastidiously dressed man emerged from Black Philadelphia around the turn of the century to mentor a generation of young artists including Langston Hughes, Zora Neale … Black writers of this period found alternatives to the Richard Wright tradition of angry social protest. A huge assortment of fiction, poetry, and drama, but primarily essays all about the nascence of Negro art, the place of the Negro in American culture, jazz and Black music, etc. This is the Bible of the Harlem Renaissance. During this time in a movement known as the Great Migration, thousand of African Americans also known as Negros left their homes in the South and moved North toward the beach line of big cities in search of employment and a new beginning. Publication Information. Very heterogeneous in terms of both content and quality. - Robin D. G. Kelley, author of Thelonious Monk: The Life and Times of an American Original As Locke writes in "Ne. A discussion of the writings of Harlem during this period, by someone who apparently never lived there, that excludes the mass movement of working class blacks led by Ma. Yet the most notable narratives produced by the Harlem Renaissance came from Toomer (himself an accomplished poet), Fisher, Wallace Thurman, Hurston, and Nella Larsen. "More than an account of Locke's professional and academic life, Stewart's book offers an integrated vision of Locke's professional and personal life and many details on the innermost aspects of Locke's personal life. Great way to learn of the consciousness of the black thinkers who came before us and who lived during a time closer to the Emancipation but during the era of the Black Codes and Great Migration northward. And yet he became most closely associated with the flowering of Black culture in Jazz Age America and his promotion of the literary and artistic work of African Americans as the quintessential creations of American modernism. This is not the best collection of writings from the Harlem Renaissance, but I love it as a historical document. I read this for a class about the Harlem Renaissance. Spurred by an unprecedented receptivity to Black writing on the part of major American magazines, book publishers, and white patrons, the literary vanguard of the Harlem Renaissance enjoyed critical favour and financial rewards that lasted, at least for a few, until well into the Great Depression of the 1930s.