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1900-1929: Progressive Era to New Era

Image: Caption follows
Louis Armstrong, 1900-1971.
Photographic print. [no date]
Prints and Photographs Online Catalog, Library of Congress.
Reproduction Number:


African American artists, actors, and writers led the battle against intellectual and artistic bias. Between the Civil War and World War I, and even during the deprivations of the Great Depression, there was a great crescendo of African American artistic expression in the period known as the "Harlem Renaissance." Paintings, drawings, classical music, jazz, blues, poetry, novels, plays, and dance abounded during this era and won world acclaim.

People, Places and Events

  1. Louis Armstrong (1900-1971): Jazz Giant, pioneered a new style of singing called "scat"

  2. James Baldwin (1924-1987): Wrote his first and most famous novel, "Go Tell It on the Mountain" published in 1953

    Novelist, Essayist, and Playwright

  3. Ralph Bunche (1904-1971): First African American to win the Nobel Peace Prize

  4. Ella Fitzgerald (1918-1996) [See second entry]: Sang like a saxaphone and mastered a jazz singing technique called "scat. " (SCROLL TO SECOND ENTRY ON PAGE)

    Jazz Singer

  5. Althea Gibson (1927-): First African American (male or female) to win a tennis championship at Wimbledon

    Tennis Player

  6. William Christopher Handy (1873-1958): Historically known as "Father of the Blues"

    Jazz and Blues Musician

  7. Billie Holiday (1914-1928): Born Eleanora Fagan, she gave herself the stage name Billie after Billie Dove, an early movie star.

    Jazz and Blues Singer

  8. Mahalia Jackson (1911-1972): Historically known as the "Gospel Queen"

    Gospel Singer

  9. Leroy Robert 'Satchel' Paige (1906-1982): Before Jackie Robinson, one of the very best baseball players to take the mound in the twentieth century

    Baseball Pitcher

  10. Leontyne Price (1927- ): With 18 Grammy awards, a prima donna soprano acclaimed in most circles as one of the finest opera singers of the 20th century

    Soprano Operatic Singer

  11. Booker Taliaferro Washington (1856-1915): In 1881, founded Tuskegee Institute for black students; the first African American man ever to address a racially mixed Southern audience.

    Activitist and Educator
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  December 18, 2015
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