The Power of Black Music: Interpreting Its History from Africa to the United States

By Samuel A. Floyd Jr. | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 5

The Negro Renaissance:
Harlem and Chicago
Flowerings

I am a Negro:
Black as the night is black,
Black like the depths of my Africa.

Langston Hughes

Would ye both have your cake and eat your cake?

The cat would eat fish, and would not wet her feet. John Heywood

The flowerings of the Negro Renaissance in Harlem (1917-1935) and Chicago (1935-1950) were spawned by Pan-Africanism, which posits the belief that black people all over the world share an origin and a heritage, that the welfare of black people everywhere is inexorably linked, and that the cultural products of blacks everywhere should express their particular fundamental beliefs (Martin 1983, vii). According to Esedebe (1982, 3), Pan-African thought seeks to glorify the African past, inculcate pride in African values, and promote unity among all people of African descent. Pan-African thinking was set off in part by the transatlantic slave trade and was intensified by the Haitian Revolution of 1804 and the onset of nineteenth-century colonialism in Africa. Pan-Africanism flourished among persons of color in Europe in the late nineteenth century when, according to Lotz (1990), "black entertainers roamed Europe from Scotland to Russia, from the Mediterranean to the polar circle.... Blacks—whether Africans, Afro

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