Harlem Renaissance

1.) What explains the different shifts in ideology among some leading black political figures in the early twentieth century? Why did some become more nationalist and others more socialist? Were these two currents incompatible? Why was progressivism largely “for whites only”? How did the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) respond to the conditions during this era?


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2.) Describe the “new Negro” of the 1920s. How were they new? How successful were African Americans in achieving independence and equality in the 1920s?


3.) To what extent do you think that the Ku Klux Klan’s philosophy was consistent with other American ideas and principles of the era?


4.) How did African Americans express their freedom through the Harlem Renaissance?


5.) The “New Negro” of the Harlem Renaissance was many things. W. E. B. Du Bois attempts to express it one way as a “double consciousness” — where the black man wants white America to appreciate his African roots, and where he wants to be American. Langston Hughes expresses it in poetry with his 1925 poem, “I, Too, Sing America,” in which he reminds his readers that while darker, he too is America. How did the Renaissance celebrate being black and American?


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