“The World is Black: Harlem on my Mind and in Their Soul”

“The World is Black: Harlem on my Mind and in Their Soul”

It is very encouraging to read the students’ abstracts for my Harlem Renaissance course.

1. Some students are researching on the significance of black films in the era of the Harlem Renaissance–in negating racial stereotypes, on one hand, and on the other hand, showing how black producers (film-makers) were using their films to depict a positive black image and express black agency and subjectivity in the American society.

2. Some students are exploring black sculpture and painting to find out how it was used to tell an alternative historical narrative of the black experience in America; they view black sculpture and painting as chronicling a counter narrative to the white gaze and the demands of white publishers.

3. I have two students who are creating a play based on the social life of Black people living in Harlem: the Harlemites.

4. A student is creating a portfolio that analyzes the artistic work and (visual aesthetic) achievements of Aaron Douglas and Jacob Lawrence.

5. Another student is investigating how the works of W. E. B. Du Bois contributed to American democracy and the black quest for equality and justice in America.

Folks: this group of students in my Harlem Renaissance class is quite dynamic, bold, passionate, talented, and inquisitive.


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