James Weldon Johnson: “Harlem: The Culture Capital”


The 1920s witnessed a virtual explosion of African American artistic expression of all kinds, which centered in Harlem on New York’s Upper West Side. More popularly known as the Harlem Renaissance, this cultural movement attracted many of the most accomplished black writers, artists, actors, and musicians of the early twentieth century. James Weldon Johnson was one of the movement’s most respected contributors and, in the eyes of many, its godfather and most illustrious statesman. Like thousands of other black Americans who moved to Harlem from the South during the three decades...

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Harlem River in the first decade of the twentieth century (Library of Congress)

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