• Gamin, c. 1929. Augusta Savage (American, 1892-1962). Hand-painted plaster; 44.5 x 24.2 x 20.4 cm. Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund 2003.40
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Harlem Renaissance

Grade Level: 
9–12
Student Level: 
High School

Travel back in time to bustling New York City in the 1920s and discover the art, literature, and music produced by African Americans living in Harlem during this period. Students are introduced to artists such as Romare Bearden, Jacob Lawrence, and photographer James Van Der Zee, as well as to the poetry of Langston Hughes.

Program Format: 
  • Discuss the word "renaissance" and highlight characteristics of Harlem Renaissance.
  • Compare motifs concerning the Harlem Renaissance in visual arts and literature using works by Augusta Savage, Romare Bearden, and Langston Hughes.
  • Short video clip of "Weary Blues" by Langston Hughes with student drawing activity.
  • Discuss factors leading to the Harlem Renaissance.
  • Discuss works of artists such as Jacob Lawrence and James Van Der Zee in documenting African American history.
Objectives: 
  • Students will understand that the Harlem Renaissance was a period of enormous creativity including literature, performing arts, and visual arts.
  • Students will understand that several unique creative personalities emerged during the Harlem Renaissance, including artists such as Romare Bearden, Jacob Lawrence, and James Van Der Zee.