It’s Day 27 of Black History Month and We Whites Are All Going to STFU and Listen.


URGENT REMINDER: The fundraiser for reopening the National Black Doll Museum ends February 28. If you are able to donate a few dollars please do, and either way, please share the fundraiser link as widely as you can. Many thanks! ☮️ -Iris.

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Since before I started this Black History Month series, one of my ideas for a post has been the Harlem Renaissance. I’ve been collecting snippets, links, materials, even writing a few words here and there, but I’ve come to realize there is so much material to cover, and from so many potential perspectives (culturally, politically, artistically etc.) that I have come to realize a blog post would invariably give short shrift to a subject of majestic depth and brilliance. Further, so much work has already been documented that the world reeeeally doesn’t need a white blogger regurgitating the words of Black historians, or worse, the words of the people who actually lived it.

Instead, I will post some resources that I found especially informatve. Whether you want to take a deep dive or stick a toe in the water is up to you. Just know that the legacies of those who lived and worked in Harlem during the 1920s are still very much with us today, so broad and profound was their impact, even on a white supremacist society.

BlackPast on the Harlem Renaissance. BlackPast’s mission:

“is dedicated to providing a global audience with reliable and accurate information on the history of African America and of people of African ancestry around the world. We aim to promote greater understanding through this knowledge to generate constructive change in our society.”

There is so much material here. It is an excellent resource and repository for Black history, not just USian but the African global diaspora as well. This is the kind of work I think of when I look for potentially powerful antidotes to erasure – provided white people and especially educators avail themselves of it.

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Louie Armstrong, circa 1938
(image: William P. Gottlieb Collection / Library of Congress)

U.S. Library of Congress research guide: Harlem Renaissance. The USLOC maintains a growing collection of material on the subject, including:

The resources here run the gamut from work appropriate for young schoolchildren to serious scholars.

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Gelatin silver print of Josephine Baker dancing on a stage wearing a beaded fringed sleeveless dress.

Josephine Baker
(image: Stanislaus Julian Walery, 1926, Gelatin silver print, National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution)

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History & Culture on the Harlem Renaissance. The site is user-friendly, and the material is so well-presented one could easily get lost here for days. And that’s just the virtual experience! I cannot even imagine what a visit to the museum in D.C. would be like.

These are some more of their general resources:

EXPLORE:

LEARN:

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The household names that came out of the Harlem Renaissance like Duke Ellington and Louie Armstrong live among us today by way of their own groundbreaking music and its subsequent influence, still rippling a century later. The literary works of Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston can still be read today. But these figures represent only the tip of an enormous iceberg. I cannot recommend highly enough that you explore for yourself a time and a place like no other, exploding with creative and political passion.

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Day 1 of Black History Month 2022 (Lori Teresa Yearwood) is here.
Day 2 (Mallence Bart-Williams) is here.
Day 3 (Emmett Till) is here.
Day 4 (A Tale of Two Citizens) is here.
Day 5 (Trayvon Martin) is here.
Day 6 (Franchesca Ramsey) is here.
Day 7 (National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day and the Black Aids Institute) is here.
Day 8 (extreme racial disparities in marijuana arrests) is here.
Day 9 (Summer of Soul/1969 Harlem Cultural Festival) is here.
Day 10 (current and historic racist domestic terrorism, Steve Phillips/Democracy in Color) is here.
Day 11 (Gee’s Bend Quilters) is here.
Day 12 (egregious anti-Black (& anti LGBTQ+) behavior at a NY State high school is here.
Day 13 (Erin Jackson, 1st Black woman to win Olympic gold medal in speedskating) is here.
Day 14 (Stevie Wonder’s Innervisions) is here.
Day 15 (racial inequities in spiking vehicle death rates during the pandemic compound and are compounded by other racial inequities, and The New York Times buries the lede) is here.
Day 16 (criminalizing protest/Color of Change) is here.
Day 17 (Flo Kennedy) is here.
Day 18 (3 news stories on the same day regarding police killings of Black people) is here.
Day 19 (Andrew Joseph III/qualified immunity) is here.
Day 20 (Dr. Catherine L. Pugh/”There Is No Such Thing As A White Ally”) is here.
Day 21 (Black cowboys, Black rodeo and photographer Justin Hardiman) is here.
Day 22 (National Black Doll Museum of History & Culture fundraiser) is here.
Day 23 (“Helping” and four petitions) is here.
Day 24 (Black Americans you probably don’t know of, but should) is here.
Day 25 (Reparations Awareness Day/EJI’s Segregation in America) is here.
Day 26 (Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson nomination to U.S. Supreme Court) is here.

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