Masks are recommended, but not required.

Revisiting the Harlem Renaissance

Augusta Savage with one of her pieces, Paul Robeson head shot, Author Langston Hughes [far left] with [left to right:] Charles S. Johnson; E. Franklin Frazier; Rudolph Fisher and Hubert T. Delaney
From left to right: sculptor Augusta Savage, actor Paul Robeson, author Langston Hughes (far left) and friends.*

The Robert A. and Elizabeth R. Jeffe Distinguished Lectures in Urban History

Dive into the Harlem Renaissance in this four-part series of live virtual talks with Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Jeffrey C. Stewart. Stewart will begin each session with an illustrated presentation exploring a different major art form -- from poetry and visual art to theater -- of this famous movement in African-American arts and culture, followed by a conversation with a special guest (plus time at the end for Q & A).

African American art and literature found a garden in 1920s Harlem in which to flower and bloom.  Often narrated as an Eden in the midst of a segregated, homophobic America, Harlem offered for a time the possibility that a life devoted to Beauty was possible for Black people and fellow travelers in Harlem.  By the mid-1930s, the harsh reality of racism, systemic inequality, and economic decline took its toll on that vision. Nonetheless, for a brief moment in historical time, Black elegance and the Black bottom converged in cabarets, speakeasies, nightclubs, and apartments to create the conditions for a collective life devoted to literature and art. These halcyon days were called the "Renaissance" by the African American philosopher Alain LeRoy Locke, and on four consecutive Thursday evenings in April and May, Dr. Stewart will guide us through this complex cultural movement, accompanied by a coterie of guests, experts, and artists.  We’ll learn of the philosophy of life and art that launched the Harlem Renaissance, see its effects in our contemporary culture, and understand why and how it continues today.  

This series is part of the Museum's annual Robert A. and Elizabeth R. Jeffe Distinguished Lectures in Urban History, in which leading observers apply insights from disciplines including history, sociology, the arts, and architecture to examine New York City's ongoing evolution.  

Register for all four sessions in the series here, or purchase individual event tickets.

I. Introduction: Art is Philosophy  
Thursday, April 22, 5:30 ET
with Harlem style intellectual Lana Turner

II. Poetry and the New Negro Literacy
Thursday, April 29, 5:30 ET
with poet Mahogany L. Browne

III. Visual Arts and Black Design
Thursday, May 6, 5:30 ET
with artist and art historian Margaret Rose Vendryes 

IV. The African American on the American Stage 
Thursday, May 13, 5:30 ET
with playwright Michael Dinwiddie 

Please note that each event will run 75 - 90 minutes.   

About the Speaker:
Jeffrey C. Stewart is a professor in the Department of Black Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Previously, he was director of research at the Smithsonian Institution's Anacostia Museum, a guest curator at the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery, and a senior advisor to the Reginald Lewis Museum of African American History and Culture in Baltimore, Maryland. The author of numerous articles, essays, and books, Stewart has taught at Harvard University, Yale University, UCLA, Tufts University, Howard University, Scripps College, and George Mason University before coming to the University of California, Santa Barbara as professor and chair of the Department of Black Studies from 2008-2016. His book, The New Negro: The Life of Alain Locke was published in 2018 by Oxford University Press and has won the 2018 National Book Award in Nonfiction, the 2019 James A. Rawley Prize of the Organization of American Historians, 2019 Mark Lynton History Prize of the Nieman Foundation and Columbia School of Journalism, the 2019 American Book Award, and the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for Biography. Stewart is also the editor of the forthcoming book The New Negro Aesthetic: Selected Writings by Alain Locke.

Purchase a copy of Dr. Stewart's book The New Negro: The Life of Alain Locke here through the Museum Shop.

*Augusta Savage with her sculpture "Realization", Herman (Photographer) / The New York Public Library, Paul Robeson, photograph by Carl Van Vechten (1880-1964). Museum of the City of New York. Gift of Carl Van Vechten, 1942. 42.316.390 ©VanVechtenTrust. Author Langston Hughes [far left] with [left to right:] Charles S. Johnson; E. Franklin Frazier; Rudolph Fisher and Hubert T. Delaney/ New York Public Library.

Entire Series (4 Sessions)
$90 general admission 
$75 seniors, students, educators 
$55 Members 

Individual Sessions:
$25 general admission
$20 seniors, students, educators
$15 Members


This program is made possible by Robert A. and Elizabeth R. Jeffe.

Join MCNY!

Want free or discounted tickets, special event invites, and more?