The Harlem Renaissance
Residency Artist: Cheryl Myrbo

**This workshop material is the copyright of Cheryl Myrbo and may not be copied or used in any form
unless Cheryl Myrbo will be conducting the workshop.


PROGRAM OBJECTIVES: Familiarize High School students with the historic events leading up to the Harlem Renaissance using the literature, music, and art of the period. Highlight the importance of recognizing the Renaissance as a fundamental milestone in the progressive history of the United States and the World.

CURRICULUM CONNECTIONS: This residency can be used in Language Arts, History, and Visual Arts classes.

SPACE AND TECHNICAL REQUIREMENTS: Large classroom with tables or desks. Sinks nearby. Slide projector and screen. CD player.

PROGRAM STATUS: Complete, practiced at Chattahoochee High School in January 2004, 2005.

SESSIONS: Slides 20 minutes, hands-on 30 minutes. Four - five sessions per day. Approximately 25 students per session. $300/day

The Harlem Renaissance

The workshop begins with Abel Meeropol's "Strange Fruit" sung by Billie Holiday. Followed by a discussion about lynching, the students are led through a series of events following the Emancipation Proclamation, ie., sharecropping, the boll weevil, the Great Migration, WWI, northern industrial needs, African American expatriots in Europe, Ragtime, Jazz, settling in Harlem, rent parties.

Slides of the art by Harlem Renaissance artists.

Jacob Lawrence's "Confrontation at the Bridge"

Concluding with Jacob Lawrence's "Confrontation at the Bridge" and the poem If We Must Die, by Claude McKay, the students are given construction paper, scissors, and glue to construct a Lawrence-esque "crowd filled with terror."

Alternative conclusion and art project:

Students read, "We Wear the Mask," by Paul Laurence Dunbar (1872-1906).

WE wear the mask that grins and lies,
It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes--
This debt we pay to human guile;
With torn and bleeding hearts we smile
And mouth with myriad subtleties.

Why should the world be over-wise,
In counting all our tears and sighs?
Nay, let them only see us while
We wear the mask.

We smile, but oh great Christ, our cries
To Thee from tortured souls arise.
We sing, but oh the clay is vile
Beneath our feet, and long the mile;
But let the world dream otherwise,
We wear the mask!

"We Wear the Mask" is reprinted from The Complete Poems of Paul Laurence Dunbar.
Paul Laurence Dunbar. New York: Dodd, Mead, and Co., 1913.

Students create a mask representing how they see themselves
versus the way they think the world sees them
and accompany the mask with a written self portrait.

Sandtown Middle School media center, Spring 2005.

PRE and POST-ACTIVITY: Familiarization of the period beforehand.
Exhibition of the work on the walls of the school.

**This workshop material is the copyright of Cheryl Myrbo and may not be copied or used in any form
unless Cheryl Myrbo will be conducting the workshop.

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