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Harlem Renaissance Summer Teacher Institute July 12-17, 2015

Harlem Renaissance

Idaho teachers of all grades and disciplines will participate in the Idaho Humanities Council’s 2015 weeklong summer institute on the literature, art, and music of "The Harlem Renaissance," scheduled for July 12-17, 2015, at the College of Idaho in Caldwell.

Supported bLangston Hughesy the IHC’s Endowment for Humanities Education and the National Endowment for the Humanities, the interdisciplinary teacher institute will explore the explosion of African-American culture in New York City during the 1920s and 1930s that reverberated throughout American culture in literature, art, music, theater, and more during the 20th century.

Teachers will learn about some of the key social political ideas of the time, and Zora Neale Hurstonstudy works by novelist Zora Neale Hurston, poets James Weldon Johnson and Langston Hughes, jazz musicians Fats Waller, Duke Ellington, Jelly Roll Morton, Louie Armstrong, artist Augusta Savage, performer Josephine Baker, and others.

The Harlem Renaissance promoted a new sense of racial consciousness, ethnic pride, and black identity, and was more than simply an artistic movement. The Renaissance inspired social and political activism that eventually fueled the civil rights movement. The Harlem Renaissance helped America redefine how they saw African-Americans, as the Great Migration brought many more African Americans to relocate from the rural south to the urban north, expanding economic horizons, and encouraging thoughts of a more equal, cosmopolitan, and intellectual African American community of cultural innovators.  While promoting new cultural innovations, the Harlem Renaissance at the same time sparked a rediscovery of African American folklore traditions, bolstering a greater sense of heritage and identity.

Heather RussellPresenting scholars so far include Florida International University English Professor Heather Russell (Miami), a Zora Neale Hurston scholar, Grammy Museum Director and music historian Robert Santelli (Los Angeles), Bob Devin Jones, Langston Hughes scholar and chautauquan, and Phyllis McEwen (Tampa), Zora Neale Hurston chautauquan. 

Bob SantelliIn addition to attending daily lectures and panel discussions, participants will attend special evening keynote presentations, view documentaries and Hollywood films, and share ways of teaching the Harlem Renaissance in the classroom.

If you have other questions, don’t hesitate to contact Cindy Wang at

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