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Research a Harlem Renaissance poem

As we continue to discover the historical context of Their Eyes Were Watching God, we turn our eye to poetry, another medium important to helping us understand the era of the novel’s release and its many conflicts. For this assignment,you will choose one of the poems identified below and write about its artist and the work in their contribution to and expression of the ideas of the Harlem Renaissance



Choose one of the following works:

  1. “To Usward,” Gwendolyn B. Bennett

  2. “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” James Weldon Johnson

  3. “The Negro Speaks of Rivers,” Langston Hughes

  4. “To The White Friends,” Claude McKay


It is expected that you:

  • Provide your own personal analysis of the work before you have done research. What images or ideas stand out, what do you think they mean, and why do you think this was an important work during the Harlem Renaissance?

  • Research information that provides context to the creation of the work. Who was the creator and why were they significant? What ideas did the creator tend to focus on, and how did they generally express them?

  • You might also consider how the creator’s work was received at the time. Was it appreciated? Was it criticized?