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Celebrate the Harlem Renaissance!

Mission 2

Celebrate the Harlem Renaissance!


Parler en continu : je prends la parole pour donner mon opinion.

Did you know?

In England, in the 1920s, people talked about “hot dance music” and not jazz. Jazz was so widespread that it also became popular in New Zealand at the same period! Do you know about Harlem and the Harlem Renaissance?


The Cotton Club
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Exercice 1 : That was Harlem!

Describe the documents.

Imagine what the Cotton Club was.

Identify clues on the photographs.

Home to Harlem

A flourishing time

A flourishing time

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Exercice 2 : A flourishing time

Think of what you might hear in the document.

Listen. What was Harlem like at that time?

Pick out art styles and artists’ names.

According to the expert, what was the purpose of those artists?

A form of art is missing. Which one?

Droning a drowsy syncopated tune,
Rocking back and forth to a mellow croon,
I heard a Negro play.
Down on Lenox Avenue the other night
By the pale dull pallor of an old gas light
He did a lazy sway ....
He did a lazy sway ....
To the tune o’ those Weary Blues.
With his ebony hands on each ivory key
He made that poor piano moan with melody.
O Blues!
Swaying to and fro on his rickety stool
He played that sad raggy tune like a musical fool.
Sweet Blues!
Coming from a black man’s soul.

Langston Hughes, “The Weary Blues”, 1925.

The weary Blues

The weary Blues

The weary Blues

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Exercice 3 : The Weary Blues

Read carefully. What type of document is it? What makes you think so?

Pick out words you know and classify them.

Pick out words associated with blues music. Then, define it.

Listen to the poem. Can you feel the music in the text? Explain.

Describe the relationship between the artist and his instrument. Use causative structures.


Recite verses


Droning a drowsy syncopated tune / Rocking back and forth to a mellow croon


With his ebony hands on each ivory key / He made that poor piano moan with melody / O Blues!


Causative structures

Observe: He made that poor piano moan with melody. My mother had me learn many poems.

Think: Spot the two verbs in each sentence. Who does the action for verb 1? And for verb 2?

Practise: You’re the boss. Force people to obey. Then, report: I made… / I had...

Langston is the best. He is a writer and...

is the best.
 He is a writer

Defend an artist

Use Padlet. New York City wants to pay tribute to an artist from the Harlem Renaissance. Choose one and defend him/her.

How far can you go?

A2 I can give my opinion about someone.
A2+ I can also justify my views because I have arguments.
Vers B1 I can use my cultural knowledge of the period to find a compromise.
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