Harlem Renaissance The Harlem renaissance was a time of creative ingenuity among blacks confined to the ghetto's of America by racism and an implied social class. In the Early 20's black's had progressed far enough along where some didn t need to work 16 hour days to make a living. This, coupled with the coming together of lots of blacks in ghetto's, the exposure of some blacks to European whites who weren t racist like American whites, combined to raise the hopes, dreams, and aspirations of blacks. With this new found time, blacks created a enlightening style of music, and wrote great pieces of literature. From this time period came many outstanding singers, musicians, athletes, and writers. In addition to this Creative boom of black talent, many black leaders emerged, creating such Negro advancement groups as the UNIA and NAACP.
A large majority of these black entertainers were either born as slaves, or had parents who were. Creativity stemmed from the need of slaves to have something to enjoy, and keep them going. Slavery however kept them from developing beyond crude hymn's and homemade instruments. Once slavery was abolished it opened a pathway for many talented blacks. Female singers like Bessie Smith, Billie Holliday, and Marion Anderson emerged on the Music scene, with great talent, and Joyful spirits. Singers played a large part during the renaissance.
Mainly women, these great singers paved the road for each other, and many other great jazz singers. Bessie Smith was born into a poor black family. She began to sing in childhood and practiced her talent in the saloons and small theaters of Atlanta the first of the great blues singers, Ma Rainy. Her eventual alcoholism lead to her decline, but not before singing over 150 songs, some with the likes of the great Louie Armstrong and Benny Goodman. Marian Anderson started her career as a church choir singer. From her church she raised enough money for private voice lessons.
In 1925 her teacher entered her in a contest for an appearance at Lewis ohn Stadium in New York City with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra. She was placed first among 300 competitors. She was asked to sing at the White House and was the first black to sing at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City, making her debut in 1955 as Ulrica in "A Masked Ballet". Billie holiday was first introduced to jazz when she listened to her older brothers records of Louis Armstrong and Bessie Smith. She was known as "Lady Day", a nickname first given her by her friend Lester Young. She made her professional singing debut in remote Harlem nightclubs in 1931 and recorded for the first time two years later.
Another type of artist to emerge from the renaissance were instrument players. This group of men popularized Jazz and Rag time music. Scott Joplin was born on November 14, 1868. He was born near Marshal, Texas, but spent most of his youth in Texarkana, Missouri. His father played the violin for the plantation owners, and his mother played the banjo and sang. As a teenager he formed a group called the Texas-Medley Quartet.
He toured the Midwest with his group, and built his musical reputation considerably. In 1893 when he was about 25 years old, he went to a gathering of musicians in Chicago at the World's Columbian Exposition. In 1898 he recorded the song "Maple leaf rag". Louis Armstrong, nicknamed "Satchmo" revolutionized jazz music., pushing it past it's old idea based on a three-instrument front line of clarinet-trumpet-trombone.
A series of recordings with Oliver's Creole Jazz Band resulted, with such pieces as "Dipper mouth Blues,"Canal Street Blues", and other blues. Duke Ellington studied piano from age seven and in his teens was influenced by ragtime pianists; at 17 he began to play professionally. The following year he said the fine arts suck, and devoted himself to jazz. More than 1,000 orchestrations were done by Ellington, including ones for film scores, operas, ballets, Broadway shows, and church services. Another group of individuals that shined in the 20's were emerging athletes like Joe Louis and Jesse Owens. Joe Louis, nicknamed the "Brown Bomber" was the first great black American boxer.
His loss to German Max Schmeling was touted by the Nazi faggot's as a sign of white supremacy. Then his 1st round knockout of the dumb Nazi was Gloried by the same country that snubbed his race as a Victory for Democracy. Late in life he became a greeter for Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas, Nevada. Jesse Owens was outstanding American track-and-field athlete, who set a world record in the long jump that stood for 25 years and who won four gold medals in the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin. His four Olympic medals made Adolf Hitler look foolish for his intention to use the games to show Aryan superiority. For a time, Owens held alone or shared the world records for all sprint distances recognized by the International Amateur Athletic Federation.
He pretty much kicked ass for a long time. Also stemming from this time period were to Negro advancement groups. The NAACP was created in 1909 with the merging of the Niagara Movement, a group of young blacks led by W.E.B. Du Bois, and a group of concerned whites. Largely self-taught, Marcus Garvey went to school in Jamaica until he was 14. In 1914 he returned to Jamaica, where, with a group of friends, he founded (Aug. 1, 1914) the Universal Negro Improvement and Conservation Association (UNIA). Garvey's belief of racial purity and separatism (he even approved of the white racist Ku Klux Klan because it wanted to separate the races) brought him many enemies, including such established black leaders as A. Philip Randolph and W.E.B. Du Bois, head of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).