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American Passages: A Literary SurveyUnit IndexAmerican Passages Home
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3. Utopian Promise   

10. Rhythms
in Poetry

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Activities: Author Activities

Claude McKay - Selected Archive Items

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[3939] Underwood and Underwood, Famous New York African American Soldiers Return Home (1917),
courtesy of the National Archives and Records Administration.
The 369th (former 15th New York City) regiment marches in Harlem, including Lieutenant James Reese Europe, a well-known musician. African American veterans advocated for civil rights. Home to Harlem (1928), by Harlem Renaissance writer Claude McKay, tells the story of an African American soldier's life after his return from the war.

[4766] Aaron Douglas, The Judgement Day (1927),
courtesy of The Walter O. Evans Collection of African American Art. Aaron Douglas, American (1899-1979). Gouache on paper; 11 3/4" x 9".
Douglas's painting incorporates images from jazz and African traditions and can be compared to "Harlem Shadows," by Claude McKay, and "The Weary Blues," by Langston Hughes.

[5289] Aaron Douglas, Study for Aspects of Negro Life: The Negro Man in an African Setting (1934),
courtesy of The Art Institute of Chicago: Aaron Douglas, American, 1899-1979, Study for Aspects of Negro Life: the Negro in an African setting, before 1934, gouache on Whatman artist's board, 37.5 x 41 cm, Estate of Solomon Byron Smith; Margaret Fisher Fund, 1990.416.
Sketch of Africans dancing and playing music. This became part of a Harlem mural sponsored by the Works Progress Administration chronicling African American history, from freedom in Africa to life in the contemporary United States. Africa and ancestry were themes of "The Negro Speaks of Rivers," by Langston Hughes, and "Africa," by Claude McKay.

[7390] Samuel Herman Gottscho, New York City Views. Vendor in Greenwich Village Area (1914),
courtesy of the Library of Congress [LC-G622-T-81587].
Greenwich Village has long been home to both artists and activists. Jamaican-born poet Claude McKay lived there in 1917.

[7405] Carl Van Vechten, Portrait of Josephine Baker (1949),
courtesy of the Library of Congress [LC-USZ62-93000].
Photograph of jazz musician Josephine Baker in Paris. Paris was a major center for modernist artists, perhaps because it was less restrictive than American cities. Poet Claude McKay portrays the tensions of African American performers in "Harlem Dancer."

[9139] Wilfred Owen, Dulce et Decorum Est (1921),
courtesy of Project Gutenberg.
Wilfred Owen's poem "Dulce et Decorum Est" uses aspects of the sonnet form to critique his contemporaries' attitudes toward World War I. The sonnet form was also popular among writers of the Harlem Renaissance, most notably Claude McKay.

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