Documents of the Harlem Renaissance

ABC-CLIO. (Eyewitness to History). Jan. 2021. 243p. ISBN 9781440855566. $97. REF
With this primary source collection, editors Davis (history, Arizona State Univ., Tempe; Race Relations in the United States 1940–1960) and Brock (an independent researcher) offer a representative sampling of the vast intellectual climate of the Harlem Renaissance. Although the term “Harlem Renaissance” appears in the book’s title, this is more to do with the term’s current usage than with any particular New York focus. Rather, this volume is unbound by geography; within, Davis and Brock tend to refer instead to the “New Negro movement” (a term popularized by Booker T. Washington). Oft-published works are here, including texts by W. E. B. Du Bois and Langston Hughes, and an excerpt from Nella Larsen’s Passing. But so are artistic and academic works by potentially less-known writers, as well as unsigned editorials from the Cleveland Advocate and pieces from the NAACP magazine The Crisis. The book’s 70 documents are divided into nine sections, each with an introduction. Every document is prefaced with information about the author and historical context. The book also contains a preface, a chronology, an introduction, a section on evaluating primary documents, a conclusion, a bibliography, and an index.
VERDICT Providing primary sources alongside ample thoughtful information to help with interpretation, this volume will be useful to a wide range of researchers, from high school students to undergraduates to general readers.
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