In honor of Black History Month, this February LSU Libraries is hosting a programming series to celebrate the centennial anniversary of the Harlem Renaissance. Led by Art & Design Librarian Marty Miller with the support of the LSU Libraries Diversity Committee, the series, entitled Celebrating the Harlem Renaissance Centennial: New York, Louisiana, and Beyond (c. 1919-1940), includes an exhibition, a film screening with a panel discussion, and an in-house performance by student artists.
The exhibition takes place on the first and second floors of Middleton Library and will be available for the entirety of February. The first floor features a digital exhibition in which visitors can compare and contrast life in Harlem and Louisiana through an exploration of An Archive for Virtual Harlem and the Louisiana Digital Library.
On the second floor, 17 panels capture the people, places, and events that shaped both 1920Harlem and Louisiana in words and images. The introductory panel provides a brief overview of the socio-political context in which the music, literature, and other art of the era flourished. Additional panels highlight not only notable faces who rose to fame in Harlem and Louisiana such as Louis Armstrong, Langston Hughes, and Zora Neal Hurston but also showcase the comparative livelihoods of everyday people in both areas. An 18th panel is reserved for visitors to leave their thoughts and comments about the exhibition. Books on the Harlem Renaissance and newspaper clippings from the period also accompany the exhibition on this floor.
The celebration continues on Tuesday, February 11, 2020, at 5 PM in the Lecture Hall of Hill Memorial Library through “The Harlem Renaissance in Film,” a public film screening and discussion led by Dr. Susan Weinstein and Dr. Angeletta Gourdine of the Department of English.
This event will feature excerpts from the following three films:
- Against the Odds: Artists of the Harlem Renaissance (1994). A profile of visual artists who made the Harlem Renaissance one of the 20th century’s richest artistic moments that used archival footage, newsreels, and photographs.
- Harlem Renaissance & Beyond (1988). An exploration of black literature past and present and its relation to social struggle.
- Within Our Gates (1920). A portrayal of the racial context in the early 20th century through the oldest known silent film made by an African-American director Oscar Micheaux.
On Monday, February 17, 2020 at 11:30 AM, Music in Middleton will conclude the series as student artists perform on the first floor of Middleton Library. Musicians will present a modern interpretation of the Harlem Renaissance era music along with original pieces and will be accompanied by poetry.