1. While I was looking up popular fashions during the Harlem Renaissance, I kept finding these odd facial creams that were targeted for African Americans. The purpose of these creams was to progressively lighten the skin. The idea was to make the person appear lighter, and therefore, more beautiful.
Doing some extra research, I found out that companies began advertising regular make-up (i.e. mascara, eye shadow, lipstick) with African American models in the 1950s but did not produce colors to specifically match and compliment African American skin until the 1970s. Making cosmetics specifically for women of color turned Madam C.J. Walker into the first self-made female millionaire.
http://vintagemakeupguide.com/2014/04/makeup-for-african-american-women-in-the-1930s-and-1940s/

    While I was looking up popular fashions during the Harlem Renaissance, I kept finding these odd facial creams that were targeted for African Americans. The purpose of these creams was to progressively lighten the skin. The idea was to make the person appear lighter, and therefore, more beautiful.

    Doing some extra research, I found out that companies began advertising regular make-up (i.e. mascara, eye shadow, lipstick) with African American models in the 1950s but did not produce colors to specifically match and compliment African American skin until the 1970s. Making cosmetics specifically for women of color turned Madam C.J. Walker into the first self-made female millionaire.

    http://vintagemakeupguide.com/2014/04/makeup-for-african-american-women-in-the-1930s-and-1940s/

  2. I just found out something interesting. While I was looking up fashion from the Harlem Renaissance (which is no different from other 1920s styles), I found out that flappers from Harlem were called Harlem Sweeties. The title was inspired by a poem by Langston Hughes with the same title. It likens young pretty African American women to various desserts, hence sweeties. The poem can be read on the link below.
http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/177389

    I just found out something interesting. While I was looking up fashion from the Harlem Renaissance (which is no different from other 1920s styles), I found out that flappers from Harlem were called Harlem Sweeties. The title was inspired by a poem by Langston Hughes with the same title. It likens young pretty African American women to various desserts, hence sweeties. The poem can be read on the link below.

    http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/177389

  3. This is a photograph of the infamous Marion, Indiana lynching tree that later became a postcard that people actually sent to friends and family. One of these postcards was sent to the lyricist Abel Meeropol in New York and inspired him to write the (at the time) controversial song Strange Fruit. The song came to a sort of fame through Billie Holiday. It became part of her song list in Harlem’s night clubs but she had to follow special rules to sing it. It was the last song of the night, there was no musical accompaniment, and she was the only person on stage. This picture that became a postcard lead to inspiring on of the most famous anti-lynching songs. Though it was created out of the problem, it sort of ended up encouraging that the violence be stopped.

    This is a photograph of the infamous Marion, Indiana lynching tree that later became a postcard that people actually sent to friends and family. One of these postcards was sent to the lyricist Abel Meeropol in New York and inspired him to write the (at the time) controversial song Strange Fruit. The song came to a sort of fame through Billie Holiday. It became part of her song list in Harlem’s night clubs but she had to follow special rules to sing it. It was the last song of the night, there was no musical accompaniment, and she was the only person on stage. This picture that became a postcard lead to inspiring on of the most famous anti-lynching songs. Though it was created out of the problem, it sort of ended up encouraging that the violence be stopped.

  4. Racial “passing” and the question of morality

    In reading Nella Larsen’s Harlem Renaissance era novel Passing, the question of morality or lack there of is raised through the character of Clare Kendry. Clare, a light-skinned woman who chooses to leave her race behind and pass as white, is portrayed as being of weak moral character. In Aubrey Bowser’s review of the novel, he notes, “she (Larsen) succumbs to the grudge that most Negroes have against a Negro who goes over the race line and cannot stay there… Thus her heroine, like most of the chief characters in race-line novels, is portrayed as a despicable character” (Larsen 95). This and other evidence leads me to believe a key issue of “passing” for most African Americans is that it leads to living a lie or ruining one’s moral character. This theme is one I personally would like to explore and start a conversation with others on the subject and how it is portrayed in Passing as well as other works of African American literature. 

  5. The type of literature for children that was put out prior to the Harlem Renaissance typically put any one of a darker skin tone in a negative light. So during the Harlem Renaissance, the artists and writers of the time took it upon themselves to put out children’s literature that celebrated African America/Black heritage. The Brownies’ Book is a creation of W.E.B. DuBois, started as The True Brownies magazine, and is basically a kid’s version of The Crisis. It not only brought a more positive outlook but also became an outlet for young artists.
copies of the Brownie’s Book can be found here:
<http://www.childlit.unl.edu/topics/edi.brownies.html>

    The type of literature for children that was put out prior to the Harlem Renaissance typically put any one of a darker skin tone in a negative light. So during the Harlem Renaissance, the artists and writers of the time took it upon themselves to put out children’s literature that celebrated African America/Black heritage. The Brownies’ Book is a creation of W.E.B. DuBois, started as The True Brownies magazine, and is basically a kid’s version of The Crisis. It not only brought a more positive outlook but also became an outlet for young artists.

    copies of the Brownie’s Book can be found here:

    <http://www.childlit.unl.edu/topics/edi.brownies.html>

  6. Looking at Billie Holiday last time inspired me to look at more pop culture from the Harlem Renaissance. To go along with music, there was a lot of African inspiration in the popular dance crazes. Some of the most noted dances were the shimmy (which is exactly what you think), the cakewalk (which originated on Florida plantations, mimics the solemn walk of the Seminoles, and was put in competitions where the winning slave got a piece of cake), the Charleston (combination of European steps, African movements, and jazz music) and the Lindy Hop (like the Charleston but more even in rhythm and less improvised). This video is of the Lindy Hop recorded in the late Harlem Renaissance period. Isn’t amazing what these dancers do?

  7. Billie Holiday is a wonderful singer-songwriter that had her peak popularity streak in the 1950&#8217;s but got her start during the 1920&#8217;s in Harlem. She began her &#8220;apprenticeship&#8221; under the jazz/blues singer Bessie Smith, singing in the nightclubs of Harlem. During the 1920s, Billie Holiday was most noted for singing the song &#8220;Strange Fruit;&#8221; a protest song against lynching (and race violence in general).
here are a few links to listen to her beautiful voice:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fke2b6ftQ_8
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h4ZyuULy9zs
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_UajeQsQrRA

    Billie Holiday is a wonderful singer-songwriter that had her peak popularity streak in the 1950’s but got her start during the 1920’s in Harlem. She began her “apprenticeship” under the jazz/blues singer Bessie Smith, singing in the nightclubs of Harlem. During the 1920s, Billie Holiday was most noted for singing the song “Strange Fruit;” a protest song against lynching (and race violence in general).

    here are a few links to listen to her beautiful voice:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fke2b6ftQ_8

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h4ZyuULy9zs

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_UajeQsQrRA

  8. I just wanted to say a huge thank you to the followers of this Tumblr. It’s (obviously) not being updated at the moment, but the next time I teach a course on the Harlem Renaissance, I will have the students revive this space and resume posting interesting material. It’s great to know there’s still interest in this amazing period in cultural history.

  9. When I look at this picture, what comes to my mind is the novel &#8220;Home to Harlem.&#8221; The women within this picture depict what I imagine the women of the novel to be like. The women are flaunting around in there well dressed manner gaining the attention of the men that surround them. The character that pops into mind when looking at this picture is Felice. She stood out most in the book to the main character Jake and the lady in the red stands out most to me while observing this picture. 

    When I look at this picture, what comes to my mind is the novel “Home to Harlem.” The women within this picture depict what I imagine the women of the novel to be like. The women are flaunting around in there well dressed manner gaining the attention of the men that surround them. The character that pops into mind when looking at this picture is Felice. She stood out most in the book to the main character Jake and the lady in the red stands out most to me while observing this picture. 

  10. This is a pic of the Harlem Rens. Another famous team during this time is the Harlem Globetrotters. The Harlem Rens were the to win a championship with all black players, which is a major accomplishment for the African Americans. The Harlem Globetrotters was a team that was used for entertainment of the white society. As an avid basketball fan, i can see the differences in the uniforms compared to today&#8217;s uniforms differences, basketball was a major accomplishment for the African Americans, especially since they won a world championship during the Harlem Renaissance. This is something we didn&#8217;t discuss during class, but I still find sports important during this time, because it was an activity that they were able to do that made a difference and contributed to African Americans progression. 

    This is a pic of the Harlem Rens. Another famous team during this time is the Harlem Globetrotters. The Harlem Rens were the to win a championship with all black players, which is a major accomplishment for the African Americans. The Harlem Globetrotters was a team that was used for entertainment of the white society. As an avid basketball fan, i can see the differences in the uniforms compared to today’s uniforms differences, basketball was a major accomplishment for the African Americans, especially since they won a world championship during the Harlem Renaissance. This is something we didn’t discuss during class, but I still find sports important during this time, because it was an activity that they were able to do that made a difference and contributed to African Americans progression.