Source: A Walk Through Harlem
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In the 1920s, thousands of African Americans left the rural South for cities in the North in a movement called "The Great Migration." Their arrival in New York City marked a period called "The Harlem Renaissance." In this video segment from A Walk Through Harlem, we learn that only 30 years earlier many of these descendants of slaves had worked as poor sharecroppers. Although slavery had ended, many blacks were still uneducated. Their shift to the urban North was an attempt to escape the violence and oppression they experienced in the South. They created a new voice for themselves during the Harlem Renaissance, which was a social, artistic and cultural movement.
American history, African American history, literature, Harlem Renaissance, poets
The following Frame, Focus and Follow-up suggestions are best suited for middle school students using this video in an English language arts or social studies lesson. Be sure to modify the questions to meet your students' instructional needs.
What is Frame, Focus and Follow-up?
Frame (ELA) Every decade in the history of the United States has its own characteristics. There was the roaring 1920s, characterized by wealth, wildness and explosion of the arts. There were hard times of the Depression of the 1930s and the devastation of world war during the 1940s. War times eventually changed to a more prosperous, happy outlook in the 1950s and then the social unrest of the 1960s. How would you describe the characteristics of the time period we are living in today?
Focus (ELA) What were the characteristics of the early 1900s? Specifically, what was this period like for African Americans?
Follow Up (ELA) We can enhance our understanding of texts when we take into consideration and note the characteristics of the time period in which the text took place. How does what we know about African Americans in the early 1900s influence our understanding of this video with regard to their migration to the urban North?
Frame (SS) What happened to African Americans after slavery was abolished in 1865 by the 13th Amendment? How did their lives change? Where did they live? How did they make a living?
Focus (SS) There was much violence and discrimination against African Americans in the South through the early 1900s. What did they do to escape this violence?
Follow Up (SS) Do you think it was a good idea for African Americans to move north at that time? Why or why not? Discuss the advantages and disadvantages. What other options were available for them to improve their lives?
BARRY LEWIS: Think about it. Only thirty years before in the late nineteenth century, most of American blacks were sharecroppers. They were left uneducated and illiterate by the whites in the South. Now we're in the nineteen twenties and they are urban, urbane, sophisticated people. They have found their voice. Where did they find their voice? Right here in Harlem.
PROFESSOR KATE RUSHIN: The Harlem Renaissance is really talking about a very large social movement that was fueled by many different factors, including the great migration of African Americans from the rural South- Jim Crow and segregation, to the north looking for better opportunities and relief from some of the violence, the oppressive share-cropping system. So it was a shift from the rural South to the urban North.
Academic standards correlations on Teachers' Domain use the Achievement Standards Network (ASN) database of state and national standards, provided to NSDL projects courtesy of JES & Co.
We assign reference terms to each statement within a standards document and to each media resource, and correlations are based upon matches of these terms for a given grade band. If a particular standards document of interest to you is not displayed yet, it most likely has not yet been processed by ASN or by Teachers' Domain. We will be adding social studies and arts correlations over the coming year, and also will be increasing the specificity of alignment.