The Harlem Renaissance began around 1918 to 1920 and was an era of African American art. The period was sparked by literary discussions in lower Manhattan (Greenwich Village) and Upper Manhattan (Harlem and New York City). The movement was known as the “New Negro Movement” coined by Alain Leroy Locke in 1925. The “New Negro” was a term related to African Americans during the Great Migration who had moved from the south to northern cities in the United States in search of better education, employment, and suffrage. “The New Negro” was utilized to describe African Americans as artistic, conscious and sophisticated, as opposed to the stereotypes of African Americans being innately servile. Read more.
James VanDerZee (June 29, 1886 - May 15, 1983)
VanDerZee was an American photographer. In 1916, he and his wife opened the Guarantee Photo Studio in Harlem. He began chronicling the Harlem Renaissance.
VanDerZee also took portraits of many renowned people such as the poet Countee Cullen and Bill (“Bojangles”) Robinson. He incorporated, not only various props, but also spent much time retouching negatives to achieve a more glamorous appearance.
“Born in Notasulga, Alabama, Zora Neale Hurston grew up in Florida. Hurston later attended Howard University while working as a manicurist. In 1925 she went to New York City, drawn by the circle of creative black artists (now known as the Harlem Renaissance), and she began writing fiction.”
“Annie Nathan Meyer, founder of Barnard College, found a scholarship for Zora Neale Hurston. Hurston began her study of anthropolgy at Barnard under Franz Boaz, studying also with Ruth Benedict and Gladys Reichard. With the help of Boaz and Elsie Clews Parsons, Zora Neale Hurston was able to win a six-month grant she used to collect African American folklore…” Read more.