From School Library Journal
Grade 7 Up-Hill explains the violence, frustration, and dreams of economic opportunity that led to the African-American migration to the North at the beginning of the 20th century. He describes the sense of pride, responsibility, and rights engendered by participation in World War I and the white resentment that resulted in such violence that James Weldon Johnson "dubbed the summer of 1919 the `Red Summer'" in response to the bloodshed. The author discusses why blacks settled in Harlem and how it became the "Mecca of the New Negro," attracting the likes of Langston Hughes, Jean Toomer, and Claude McKay. Also highlighted are publications such as the National Urban League's Opportunity: A Journal of Negro Life, which not only supplied forums for these writers but also attempted to generate income for them and provide a sense of racial identity. Music, theater, and the visual arts are also covered. The book contains aspects of everyday culture, too, such as the role of churches, funeral processions, and rent parties. Numerous quotes from speeches, poems, articles, and other works are included. The volume is a visual feast, packed with contemporary photographs, reproductions, magazine covers, and posters, and enhanced by an interesting graphic design. Together, the words and images bring this extraordinary period to life. Pair it with James Haskins's The Harlem Renaissance (Millbrook, 1996), which remains the more in-depth textual overview.Joanne K. Cecere, Monroe-Woodbury High School, Central Valley, NY
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
*Starred Review* Gr. 7-12. "In the 1920s, Harlem was hot!" With a beautiful open design, this illustrated history combines the politics of the black metropolis in the roaring 1920s with long, detailed chapters on the "blazing creativity" of performers, writers, visual artists, and intellectuals. Many readers will dip into pages that interest them. Others will appreciate the big picture, including the facts about the great migration from the South, the continuing racism, the debate concerning how blacks should win equal rights, and the call to get beyond sentimentality and propaganda. "We know we are beautiful. And ugly, too," Langston Hughes wrote in his groundbreaking essay "The Weary Blues," which is printed here in full, along with many other great selections from literature and journalism. The spacious pages are wonderful for browsing, with colored screens and reproductions of beautiful portraits, paintings, and neighborhood photos, many of them full page. Occasionally the text is dull. The biographies of Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston, for example, are little more than dutiful chronologies; far livelier are discussions of their works, which show how the writers changed the view of blacks--and changed America. The lengthy bibliography is excellent, but, unfortunately, there is no documentation of particular quotes. Hazel RochmanCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved