Harry Ransom CenterThe University of Texas at Austin

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Teaching the American Twenties: Exploring the Decade through Literature and Art

Harlem Renaissance

Title page with signatures from Fire!!, Vol.1, no. 1

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By 1926 a generation gap had formed between the founders of the Harlem Renaissance and its younger artists. These artists rejected what they saw as the elders' censorship and political control of their work. Several of them--Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, Wallace Thurman, Richard Bruce Nugent, Gwendolyn Bennett, and Aaron Douglas--together formed Fire!!, an arts and literary magazine devoted to free artistic expression. Only one issue was ever published, but it made their statement that race-conscious art must be free of particular political agendas and must not worry about the sensitivities of white patrons.

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