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Harlem Stomp! A Cultural History of the Harlem Renaissance 1st Edition

4.7 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0316814119
ISBN-10: 0316814113
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Editorial Reviews

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.

From Booklist

*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 Rochman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 1270L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers; 1 edition (January 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316814113
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316814119
  • Product Dimensions: 9.8 x 0.8 x 11.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,215,208 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This book is a visual feast and a joy to browse; the graphic design captures the energy of the Harlem Renaissance. It's like a scrapbook jammed with "rent party" tickets, dinner programs, book covers, letters, playbills, song lyrics and more. There is something here to capture the interest of even reluctant readers.
But the text also shines. The story of how and why Harlem came to be is told clearly and without mincing words: we learn the glorious achievements in art, music, theater, literature and just plain survival, but we also learn of the racism haunting the era, and the infighting within the Black community itself. I think readers will appreciate this honest, realistic approach, which brings the era to life.
By the way, given the graphic beauty of this book, the price is a steal!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Far from a simple survey of a period, this 150+ page text captures the vitality and vivacity of a time when African Americans made some of the greatest strides toward self-definition and self-determination. Moreover, Harlem Stomp! is especially useful because it does not pave over the tensions and troubles of the period. While the stories, biographies, and images reflect the glitter and glamour of the age, so too do the photographs, content, and tone shed light on the glaring racial inequalities of the time.

Setting the tone for the ways in which the text engages the time period, Chapter 1: The Smoldering Black Consciousness, 1900-1910, latches on to the intellectual back and forth between Booker T. Washington and W. E. B. Du Bois--in the very first major section of the chapter! My students used the opening pages of the initial chapter as part of an exercise to determine points of comparison and contrast between Washington and Du Bois's ideas about the best course of African American efforts to achieve equality. Artwork by Aaron Douglas that often graced the covers of The Crisis provides an aesthetic anchor from the very beginning. The first chapter alone demonstrates the rising African American confidence and acts of self-assertion at the turn of the century.

Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, Countee Cullen, Bessie Smith, Cab Calloway, Augusta Savage, Alain Locke, Ella Fitzgerald, Chick Webb, and countless others all provide stories of passion and pride on each page. What makes this book such a gem is that it does not parade individuals along with little connection to context. Instead, each actor is part of the larger narrative that unfolds. Individual stories in this book provide a starting point for students to create biographies of major figures.
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Format: Hardcover
This seems geared for the junior high school crowd, but there are still great pictures and it's pretty stuffed with information. Worthwhile buy.
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Format: Hardcover
Laban Carrick Hill's "Harlem Stomp" is a fine historic text: with words, as well as, in pictures, photos and paintings .The text supports the idiom "believe half of what you see and even less of what you hear" as the text makes it clear that photographers like James VanDerZee(Pgs 124-126):"had his subjects look flawless even when in real life that was not the case"(e.g. :as Harlem struggled with purpose and poverty).
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
1. “Harlem Stomp” is a beautiful publication with wonderful art, numerous photos, and creative page layouts.
2. It is well researched and tastefully deals with topics general considered “hands off” in such publications.
3. Mr. Hill writing is fluent, imitative, and clear.
4. “Harlem Stomp” deserves a place in any library and would be a wonderful gift for any teen or young adult.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Although the book is more for grades 4-7, it works well when differentiating texts in the secondary class. Low-level 10th graders may find this more useful than a text-heavy book, as this one blends photos and texts more. The information is presented well, and is easy to read. The book is great for front-loading when teaching the Harlem Renaissance to Am Lit students, or a novel like Plum Bun.
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