Harlem Renaissance Timeline
Timeline Description: The New Negro Movement, more commonly known as the Harlem Renaissance, spanned the 1920s. This literary and intellectual blossoming facilitated a fresh cultural identity for African-Americans with artistic expression that rose above the still rampant racial persecution and scarce economic prospects.

Date Event
1900 Harlem became an African-American neighborhood.(Early 1900s)

African-American church groups and realtors bought a large block on135th Street and Fifth Avenue. More African-Americans moved in during WWI.
1917 Three Plays for a Negro Theatre.

Plays written by a white playwright and featured black actors premiered in American theater. These plays, written by Ridgely Torrence, were often referred to as the most important events in the African-American history of American Theater.
1917 Hubert Harrison founded the Liberty League

The Father of Harlem Radicalism created the first organization of the Harlem Renaissance. During this time, he also introduced The Voice, the first political newspaper of the movement that highly emphasized the arts.
1919 Poet Claude McKay published a sonnet

"If We Must Die" introduced a dramatic political aspect to the African culture and urban experience. Although this poem never alluded to race, it had a tone of defiance against racism, riots, and lynching that were taking place.
1911 Roland Hayes studied at Fisk University

The first African-American male to become a concert artist regionally and internationally, Roland Hayes, studied music at a highly acclaimed University. He later toured with the Fisk Jubilee Singers.
1912 Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man

This very influential novel by James Weldon Johnson is a fictional account of a biracial man who chose to "pass" as white. This novel highlighted important topics such as being biracial, acceptance, and black and white issues.
January 1, 1919 The 369th Infantry Regiment returned home

This highly decorated Infantry contained all African-American soldiers. The heroes returned home to a great welcome in Harlem.
January 1, 1921 Shuffle Along

Shuffle Along was an innovative musical production for African-Americans. It legitimized the African-American musical and initiated an entirely new era for their creative endeavors.
February 1, 1922 Anti-lynching legislation was passed by the House of Representatives

The NAACP relentlessly pursued anti-lynching legislation for fifteen years until it was passed.
March 21, 1924 Opportunity magazine hosted a dinner at the Civic Club in New York

Alain Lock was the master of ceremonies of the formal launching of the Harlem Renaissance.
January 1, 1926 The Harmon Foundation

The first annual art exhibition for African-American artwork was held by the Harmon Foundation, a large supporter of African art and tradition. The top awards went to Palmer Hayden and Hale woodruff.
April 1, 1928 Countee Cullen and Yolande Du Bois were married

The most memorable social event of the Harlem Renaissance was the marriage between this poet and his wife. Cullen's work impacted the Renaissance greatly and his marriage was the event spoken about by everyone.
1928 The Negro Experimental Theatre was founded

This theatre was an inspiration to other groups in the country. It encouraged serious Black theatre and playwrights, and was founded upon the concepts of being by us, for us, near us, and about us.
March, 1929 Harlem opened on Broadway

The single most successful production of the time by a black author opened on Broadway in 1929. This musical was a testament to the creativity and tenacity of African-American playwrights.
March 19, 1935 The Harlem Riots

Harlem's first race riot was ignited by the rumors of a teenage shoplifter being beaten. Three people died and hundreds more were injured. African-American homes and businesses were vandalized and burned.The Harlem Renaissance was in full swing until the Great Depression of the 1930s caused the economic pressure to weigh heavily on all facets of life. Many of the great talents from the Renaissance went on to be activists throughout the war and the Depression. The Harlem Renaissance did not fade quickly, but persevered quietly when arts and literature was needed most.