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Harlem Renaissance: Black History & Literature: Featured Authors

Learn about and enjoy the literature, art, and music of the Harlem Renaissance

Zora Neale Hurston

Zora Neale Hurston  (1891-1960)  Zora Neale Hurston - portrait

"I do not belong to that sobbing school of Negrohood who hold that nature somehow has given them a lowdown dirty deal."

Those that don't got it, can't show it.
Those that got it, can't hide it.

"Sometimes I feel discriminated against, but it does not make me angry. It merely astonishes me. How can any deny themselves the pleasure of my company? It's beyond me."

"Mama exhorted her children at every opportunity to 'jump at de sun.' We might not land on the sun, but at least we would get off the ground."

Arna Bontemps

Arna Bontemps - portraitArna Bontemps  (1902-1973)

"How dare anyone, parent, schoolteacher, or merely literary critic, tell me not to act colored."

Do our black faces search the empty sky?
Is there something we have forgotten? some precious thing
We have lost, wandering in strange lands?

Darkness brings the jungle to our room:
The throb of rain is the throb of muffled drums.
Darkness hangs our room with pendulums
Of vine and in the gathering gloom
Our walls recede into a denseness of
Surrounding trees. This is a night of love
Retained from those lost nights our fathers slept
In huts; this is a night that must not die.
Let us keep the dance of rain our fathers kept
And tread our dreams beneath the jungle sky.

Zora Neale Hurston & Arna Bontemps

View a short video biography of Arna Bontemps and Zora Neale Hurston, presented by emaramagdalena on Youtube as an English project.

Langston Hughes

Langston Hughes - portraitLangston Hughes  (1902-1967)

"We Negro writers, just by being black, have been on the blacklist all our lives. Censorship for us begins at the color line."

I stay cool, and dig all jive,
That's the way I stay alive.
My motto,
as I live and learn,
Dig and be dug
In return.


Langston HughesWhat happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore--
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over--
like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?

Langston Hughes and the Harlem Renaissance

This video was created as a class project by by Chris Orlando and Christy Allen. It highlights the life and work of Langston Hughes in relation to the Harlem Renaissance.

For a dramatized interview with Langston Hughes, see "Meet the Past: Langston Hughes" presented by the Kansas City Public Library.

Hawaii Voyager Online Catalog

Hawaii Voyager Advanced

Use the Hawaii Voyager Online Catalog to search for other books and e-books by and about these featured authors - as well as other artists of the Harlem Renaissance.

Use the Advanced Search tab to find resources by specific authors:  Enter your author's name, use the "within" pull-down menu, and select "Author Name (NKEY)".

Advanced Search can also find resources about authors:  Enter your author's name, use the "within" pull-down menu, and select "Subject (SKEY)".

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