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Remembering and Celebrating The Harlem Renaissance

What was the Harlem Renaissance? 

It was a period in the 1920s and 1930s when art blossomed in the heart of Harlem, the predominantly African American neighborhood in the borough of Manhattan.  Music, art, theater, and literature created by black artists ranging from Duke Ellington and Cab Calloway to Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston found its way into the mainstream and changed the way white America saw black art forever.

Beginning on Sunday, February 22, the Downtown Library, 300 Park Avenue, will present a series of events to introduce central Oklahoma to this rich vein of artistic expression.  The first is a music program that will be held in the library’s fourth floor 46th Star Auditorium from 2 – 4pm.

“Jerome Braggs and his combo will be with us that day,” said Downtown librarian Darlene Browers, “to play some of the music of that time and to present it in the original style.  This is just the beginning of a series of events.  On March 7 and 28, OU Professor of Harlem Literature Dr. Rita Kresenski will be here to lead discussions of books from that era.  Her sessions begin at 10:30am.”

In addition to the programming events, art prints from artists during that period will also be exhibited February thru April 15 in the Downtown Library’s Philomathea Hall.  These programs are presented in coordination with the Oklahoma City Museum of Art exhibit of Harlem Renaissance.  All library programs are free and open to the public. 

Call 231-8650 for more information. 

The Harlem Renaissance series is co-sponsored by the Oklahoma City Museum of Art.

The Metropolitan Library System of Oklahoma County includes 12 libraries and five extension libraries.  Libraries include Belle Isle, Capitol Hill, Ralph Ellison, Ronald J. Norick Downtown Library and Southern Oaks in Oklahoma City, as well as Bethany, Choctaw, Del City, Edmond, Midwest City, Village and Warr Acres.  Extensions are located in the communities of Harrah, Jones, Luther and Nicoma Park and include Wright Library in Oklahoma City.  You can also reach us at www.metrolibrary.org.