Josephine Baker dancing the Charleston, 1926, during the Harlem Renaissance
The Harlem Renaissance was an African American cultural movement that started in the years following World War I and ended in the mid-1930s. It was most vibrant during the 1920s and was centered in the Harlem neighborhood of New York City. This period saw an explosion in African American cultural arts such as music, literature, poetry, theater, and visual arts.
Spurred in part by the Great Migration (the relocation of millions of African Americans from the South to other parts of the country starting in the mid-1910s), the Harlem Renaissance is often considered a “golden age” of African American culture. Famous individuals included authors such as Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston; performers and actors such as Josephine Baker and Paul Robeson; artists like Aaron Douglas; intellectuals including W.E.B. Du Bois, Marcus Garvey, James W. Johnson, and Charles S. Johnson; and playwrights like Eugene O’Neill.
Nightclubs, many featuring jazz and blues music, were essential to the music scene, which included musicians such as Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday, Bessie Smith, and James P. Johnson.
The beginning of the end of the Harlem Renaissance came with the stock market crash of 1929, and the repeal of Prohibition in 1933 served as another major factor in its decline.
Learn more about the Harlem Renaissance through historical newspapers from our archives. Explore newspaper articles, headlines, images, and other primary sources below.
Articles and Clippings about the Harlem Renaissance
Article discussing renaissance of African American culture in 1925 Fri, May 8, 1925 – Page 6 · The Evening Journal (Wilmington, Delaware) · Newspapers.comAuthor argues in 1929 that Harlem Renaissance is "in reality a cultural movement of long standing" Sat, Sep 28, 1929 – Page 12 · The Pittsburgh Courier (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) · Newspapers.comPrinted radio address about history of African Americans in theater up through Harlem Renaissance Sat, Aug 20, 1932 – Page 16 · The Pittsburgh Courier (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) · Newspapers.comQuote from Langston Hughes about African American cultural renaissance Sun, Feb 9, 1930 – Page 58 · Detroit Free Press (Detroit, Michigan) · Newspapers.comExcerpt from a 1933 essay discussing "New Negro," a common term used during the Harlem Renaissance Sat, Feb 25, 1933 – Page 20 · The Pittsburgh Courier (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) · Newspapers.comDescriptions of various Harlem nightclubs in 1929, including the Cotton Club and Connie's Inn Tue, Mar 12, 1929 – Page 38 · The Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn, New York) · Newspapers.comEditorial opposing segregation in Harlem in 1920 Sat, Feb 21, 1920 – Page 4 · The New York Age (New York, New York) · Newspapers.comReport of racial demographics of Harlem in 1934 Sat, Jun 9, 1934 – Page 6 · The New York Age (New York, New York) · Newspapers.comQuote from singer Bessie Smith describing blues music in 1924 Sat, Mar 15, 1924 – Page 1 · The Pittsburgh Courier (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) · Newspapers.comBritish critic discusses reaction to Duke Ellington in 1933 Sat, Jul 15, 1933 – Page 13 · The Pittsburgh Courier (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) · Newspapers.comJosephine Baker to make 400th performance in Paris in 1933 Thu, Aug 31, 1933 – 8 · Eau Claire Leader (Eau Claire, Wisconsin) · Newspapers.comJosephine Baker photo and name used in hair product ad in 1926 Sat, Oct 23, 1926 – Page 2 · The Pittsburgh Courier (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) · Newspapers.comPhoto and announcement of Louis Armstrong performance in 1931 Fri, Nov 13, 1931 – 28 · The Dayton Herald (Dayton, Ohio) · Newspapers.comLouis Armstrong is described by article as "one of the foremost jazz trumpet players" in 1933 Sun, Oct 25, 1931 – Page 57 · The Cincinnati Enquirer (Cincinnati, Ohio) · Newspapers.com1934 review of Zora Neale Hurston's first novel, "Jonah's Gourd Vine" Sun, May 6, 1934 – 199 · Daily News (New York, New York) · Newspapers.com