Jazz, Social Commentary, and the Harlem Renaissance

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In what way would the music of savages be inferior to that of civilized man? – Hugues Panassie (Locke vs. Baraka).

In what way would the music of savages be inferior to that of civilized man? – Hugues Panassie (Locke vs. Baraka).

Locke’s condescension of the spiritual’s inherent worth reaches its apogee when he claims the musical genre received its “highest possible recognition” when employed as thematic material for Antonín Dvořák’s Symphony No. 9 in E minor, From the New World, Op. 95: [T]he spirituals and even the secular 

The Misguided Principles of the Harlem Renaissance.

The Misguided Principles of the Harlem Renaissance.

Black Music in the Harlem Renaissance: A Collection of Essays (1990), edited by Floyd, places music at the epicenter of this period of cultural change. He argues that while the Harlem Renaissance may have been literary in origin, music became the most decisive vehicle by which 

The “New Negro.”

The “New Negro.”

Alain LeRoy Locke has been proclaimed as the “Dean of the Harlem Renaissance” for his conviction to cultivating cultural change in America. In 1925, he published the epoch-making anthology, The New Negro. The collection portended a “new spirit is awake in the masses, and under the very 

How Does It Feel to be a Problem?

How Does It Feel to be a Problem?

“How does it feel to be a problem?” African American intellectual, William Edward Burghardt Du Bois, hereafter W.E.B. Du Bois, posited this query in his seminal text, The Souls of Black Folk, in 1903. There subsists a struggle for African Americans to construct and sustain an affirmative identity in 

Fighting for Freedom Abroad…and at Home.

Fighting for Freedom Abroad…and at Home.

On February 17, 1919, a mass of nearly two thousand black soldiers triumphantly and stoically marched up Fifth Avenue in New York City in a tight formation reminiscent of the allied French infantries. These men, members of Harlem’s 369th Regiment, were dubbed by their German foes 

Welcome to Hearing Harlem!

Welcome to Hearing Harlem!

The luster of twentieth-century America was seductive. The age of modernity was ushered in by the automobile, motion picture, radio, and transatlantic flight. The mores of the Victorian era were crushed by a Prohibition-induced defiance. The 19th amendment to the Constitution of the United States bestowed