Who were famous Writers, Artists, and Musicians of the Harlem Renaissance?

Iames Weldon Johnson (1871-1938). Novelist, poet, and composer. He was also Florida’s first black attorney, and the first field secretary of the NAACP. He wrote and arranged Negro spirituals with his brother J. Rosamond Johnson.

Aaron Douglas (1899-1979). Illustrator and muralist.

Lois Mailou Jones (1905- ). Painter and designer.

J. Rosamond Johnson (1873 -1954). Composer. Wrote and arranged black spirituals with his brother James Weldon Johnson. His most famous work is “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing,” also known as the Negro National Anthem.

Nella Larsen (1891-1964) Novelist. Her novels include Quicksand (1928) and Passing (1929).

Augusta Savage (1900- 1962). Sculptor. Her work was represented at the first all-black art exhibits in America, sponsored by the Harmon Foundation in New York City. The first black to win acceptance into the National Association of Women Painters and Sculptors. Significant works include Lift Every Voice and Sing, Gamin, Marcus Garvey, and W. E. B. Du Bois.

Ferdinand “Jelly Roll” Morton (1891-1941). Pianist, composer, and bandleader. His “Jelly Roll Blues” (1919) was the first published jazz piece; he is considered the first jazz composer. In 1923, he recorded with the New Orleans Rhythm Kings; this made him the first African American to record with a white band.

Fletcher Henderson (1887- 1952). Pianist and bandleader. His big band was the first big band to play jazz. Played at the Roseland Ballroom on Broadway for eight years. Performed with Bessie Smith, Louis Armstrong, and Coleman Hawkins.

Clara Smith (1895-1935). Blues and vaudeville singer. Known as “Queen of the Moaners.”

Roland Hayes (1897-1977). Singer. In 1917, he became the first black to give a recital at Boston’s Symphony Hall. In 1924 he won the prestigious Spingarn Medal.

Wallace Thurman (1902-1934). Journalist, editor, and novelist. Edited the radical Fire!. Novels include The Blacker the Berry and Infants of Spring.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

Leave a Comment