A Renaissance in Harlem by Lionel C. Bascom
Lost Voices of an American Community

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Established to create jobs during the Depression, the Work Projects Administration sent writers into the neighborhoods and alleyways of Harlem to capture its distinctive voices during its most flamboyant, socially active and aesthetically vibrant era. It was a time when Harlem was Mecca, as vital as any world capital, surging with a tide of Negro migrants in search of the American Dream. The 1930s heralded the greatest period of self-discovery in African-American history after the Civil War and before the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s.

In this illuminating document, we are introduced to a West Indian conjure man known for his infallible charms and herbal remedies; a dancer at the Apollo Theater who mourns the untimely death of the entertainer who inspired her; a domestic worker determined to fight for fair wages and better treatment. And we meet Matt Henson at his retirement from his government job, still denied official recognition for his status as the first American to plant the United States flag on the North Pole.

Enter the bars, the nightclubs, the beauty shops, the street markets, the employment offices and homes. Visit with fish vendors, war veterans, Pullman porters, prostitutes, and countless others. Come listen to the memorable sounds of swing music, the singing and shouting of church choirs, and the lonely plea of a mournful spiritual.

A Renaissance In Harlem is an essential addition to the historical record of the African-American experience, a startling re-creation of a lost era in the life of New York City, and a valuable look at the early writings of two masters of American literature. Filled with humor, compassion, outrage and hope, it is an uplifting celebration of a place and people integral to the American story.


About Lionel C. Bascom

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Bascom is a journalist.
Published August 12, 2013 by Harvard Square Publishing. 184 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences, Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction

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Urban archaeological discoveries of the lost world of the Harlem Renaissance.

May 20 2010 | Read Full Review of A Renaissance in Harlem: Lost...

Publishers Weekly

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Between 1934 and 1939, the Work Progress Administration sent thousands of writers around the country to document local communities, and Harlem, the unofficial capital of black America, was one of them.

| Read Full Review of A Renaissance in Harlem: Lost...

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