The Harlem Renaissance No One Talks About – Guest Post by, Yecheilyah Ysrayl…

For some reason I can’t reblog from my mobile anymore.

However, that’s not why you’re here…

Do be sure to check out my latest article on The Story Reading Ape Blog at the link below. We are covering some basic history on The Harlem Renaissance movement, to include what no one talks about.

Click through to the original post at the link below.

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Don’t forget to pick up your copy of Renaissance and if you’ve read it, and you’re so obliged to do so, I’d be honored if you could leave an honest review!

 

Thanks,

Yecheilyah 💕

Black History Fun Fact Friday – Nora Holt

Did you know there was a woman writer during the Harlem Renaissance named Nora? Yup.

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One of the things I wanted to do with The Nora White Story project is to make everything make as much sense as possible. I know how important it is that everything fits the era to include names. Thus, I used names that were familiar with the time. Some of the names, like Nora, jumped out at me from the start. However, some of them were not so easy. To make sure everyone’s name (even minor characters) fit the time, I Googled the census data for popular names of the 1920s and scrolled through male and female names. So, who was Nora Holt?

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Nora Holt

Nora was a singer, composer and music critic. Born Lena Douglas in Kansas City, Kansas; Nora graduated from Western University of Quindaro, Kansas and later earned a Bachelor’s degree in music in 1917. In 1918, she earned her Master’s Degree in music at Chicago Musical College, becoming one of the first African-American women to complete a Master’s program in the United States. Her thesis composition was an orchestral work called Rhapsody on Negro Themes.

Nora was married quite a few times. On the fourth time, she changed her name from Lena to Nora when she married George Holt in 1916.

From 1917-1921 Nora contributed music criticism pieces to the Chicago Defender, a black daily newspaper. In 1919, she co-founded the National Association of Negro Musicians and then spent 12 years abroad in Europe and Asia singing at night clubs and private parties. Although composing over 200 works of orchestral music, one of the reasons Nora Holt is not well known is because her work was stolen. Upon leaving for Europe in 1926, she placed her manuscripts in storage when she returned they were gone. Only one piece survived because it was published prior to the theft and is called Negro Dance, (ragtime-based piano piece).

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Nora

Holt moved to Harlem in the early 1920s, where she became an important part of the Harlem Renaissance. She became good friends with novelist and critic Carl Van Vechten.

(You can meet some of these historical figures when they make special guest appearances in my new novel, Renaissance: The Nora White Story which releases tomorrow. Today (7/14) is the last day to get it at the reduced price of $1.99)

Nora was also a teacher. She studied music at the University of Southern California in the 1930s and went on to teach music in Los Angeles for several years. Nora was well rounded. Not only was she a writer and musician but she also ran a beauty shop. Apparently Nora knew how important it was to stay fly :-).

In 1943, Holt took a position as an editor and music critic with a black-oriented publication Amsterdam News and went on to live a full life. During the early 1950s and early 1960s, she hosted a radio concert series called “Nora Holt’s Concert Showcase”. It ran to 1964 and in 1966, she was a member of the First World Festival of Negro Arts in Dakar, Senegal.

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Photo of Nora Holt, taken by Carl Van Vechten, 1955

Nora Holt died January 25, 1974, in Los Angeles.


 

Poetry Contest Reminder: Closing July 19, 2017

As you all know, I am running my first ever poetry contest in honor of my upcoming release Renaissance: The Nora White Story (Book One) which features poetry and is available now for eBook preorders.

Click Here to order at the low price of $1.99 before the price goes up on July 15th.

This book will also be available in paperback.

You can help further by marking Renaissance as to read on Goodreads. CLICK HERE.

Now, poetry…

I am writing to remind you that this contest will end soon!

First, what is this all about? For those of you who have not already checked into Colleen’s Blog where I made the initial announcement on June 19, 2017,  here are the rules:

The Poem

Submit one or two original, unpublished poems to Yecheilyah at yecheilyah ysrayl dot com (yecheilyah@yecheilyahysrayl.com) between now through July 19, 2017. You will have until 12:00 midnight Central Standard Time on 7/19 to get your poems in before closing.

Poems must be your ORIGINAL work and UNPUBLISHED anywhere online.

There is one winner of this contest with up to 2 entries per poet.

Entry Fee:

There is a $5.00 Entry fee. Click HERE to pay the fee.

OR – Entry fees can be waived by signing up for my email list HERE. There is no other way to waive the fee.

If you are already on my email list, please mention this when submitting your poem.

Signing up for my email list represents one entry.

If you are entering more than one poem, you must pay the entry fee for any additional poems.

The Reason for the Fee:

The entry fee is in place to help pay for the prizes.

Current Prizes

At this time, we have one Grand Prize Winner who will receive:

  • Poem published to The PBS Blog (includes links to your social media, buy links to your books (if any) and promotion.)

  • Amazon Gift Card

  • Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke

  • *From When I was a Black Girl by Yecheilyah Ysrayl

  • And Still, I Rise by Maya Angelou

*From When I was a Black Girl is my second collection of poetry. First published in 2012 with a second edition published in 2013, this book became a book of study at The Evergreen State College in Tacoma, Washington for the Fall 2014 semester. Part of an Independent Learning Contract, it remains part of the school’s files to this day. It is my honor to offer a paperback of this collection as a winning prize for this contest. This is an exclusive offer that you will not find on Amazon.

International Shipping

Please note: Winners outside the U.S. will be awarded Kindle downloads of the books listed if someone overseas wins.

Final Thoughts:

The winner will be announced on Monday, August 6, 2017 on both this blog and Colleen’s.

(If you win, you will be notified a couple days before the announcement via email you have won and that an announcement will go out featuring you. This is so that we can collect your information, social links and links to any books you have out if any).

The Grand Prize Winner will have their poetry featured on The PBS Blog with added promotion. The date for this will be revealed to the poet after they have won.

To enter this contest, please send $5.00 to the PayPal of Literary Korner Publishing HERE.

 

To waive your fee, please sign-up to my email list HERE.(Verification of sign-up will be reviewed before poem is accepted).

 

Send your poem to Yecheilyah @ yecheilyahysrayl.com

The Theme

Since Renaissance follows the theme of The Harlem Renaissance and Black life in the South, poems should have something to do with these themes and can be as long or as short as you would like. The contest is open to all poets.

I understand not all of you are familiar with this era so I am opening this up a bit. The theme will remain the same but it is not mandatory. Poems of all kinds will be accepted and considered for the win.

 

Would a focus on the 1920s era and women in general be nice? Yes, but it is not required to win. Consider this open mic!

 

If you didn’t see the original announcement, CLICK HERE to learn more.


That is all and I look forward to reading your poems!

Colleen’s Coming Attractions – “Renaissance – The Nora White Story,” by Yecheilyah Ysrayl

Learn more about Renaissance in Colleen’s Feature of my soon to be release. As stated I am still away from the blog but I will be re-blogging any guest posts or interviews as they come in. Introduce Yourself will also continue to go out on Mondays so be sure to stay tuned for a chance to meet some amazing authors in our Indie community.

🌼Colleen Chesebro Fairy Whisperer 🌼

Ready to find a new book? You’ve come to the right place!

Welcome to Colleen’s Coming Attractions

Where you will find new books from Independent Authors

that will be available for download shortly.

  • Title: Renaissance – The Nora White Story
  • Author: Yecheilyah Ysrayl
  • Publication Date:  July 15, 2017
  • Sold By: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English

*I was given an advanced reader’s copy of this book by the author for promotional review purposes*

MY RECOMMENDATION:

Nora White loves to write. Living on her parent’s farm in rural Mississippi, Nora has her sights set on a different life than the one her parents have. The one thing she desires is to become a writer; quite a tall order for a young black woman in the 1920’s. Nevertheless, Nora has her dreams, and she will not let anything get in her way, not even her close-knit family.

Nora grew up…

View original post 892 more words

Black History Fun Fact Friday – Capturing the Good in Harlem

 

Yes indeed, twins make history again. Meet Marvin and Morgan Smith, painters who focused on capturing the positive side of Harlem during the decline of the Harlem Renaissance and the birth of The Great Depression.

“During the 1930s, ’40s, and ’50s, Harlem spread itself before the cameras of Morgan and Marvin Smith like a great tablecloth, and eagerly they went about devouring what it had to offer.”

– Gordon Parks Sr.

We often discuss the writers of the movement and the musicians while the artists are often left out. Names like Kwame Brathwaite, Aaron Douglass, Lois Jones, and Morgan and Marvin Smith, are not as well known.

Morgan (right) and Marvin (left) Smith were born on February 16, 1910 in Nicholasville, Kentucky. The boys found a talent for art but wouldn’t pursue it much until the sharecropping family moved to Lexington in the late 1920s. Here Morgan and Marvin attended Dunbar High School, the only Black High School in Lexington at the time, and developed further their artistic abilities. They worked with oil paintings and sculptors until eventually, cameras.

In 1933, Morgan and Marvin graduated High School and pursued their art full time. However, Kentucky at the time provided little to no support for the young men and as I imagine, they could not grow in the way that they wished. They moved to Cincinnati with hope of a better future but not finding opportunities there, decided to move on to New York.

Marvin and Morgan

When they arrived to Harlem the twins did manual labor for the WPA or Works Progress Administration and took art lessons from Augusta Savage (another sculptor of the Harlem Renaissance) at her studio. Through Savage the twins became connected with the 306 Group, a collective of African American artists who worked and socialized together in Harlem, New York in the 1930s. The name of the group came from the address of a studio space, 306 W. 141st Street, used by two of the artists, Charles Alston and Henry Bannarn.

Marvin and Morgan became acquainted with prominent figures through Savage but it wasn’t until 1937 when the twins really came into the public’s eye when Morgan won an award for his photo of a boy playing.

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After 1937, the twins decided to focus their attention on the  community of Harlem overall. Their interest was in capturing the good instead of the bad. With the stock market crash of 1929 and The Great Depression smacked down in the middle, there was plenty to complain about, I am sure, and much of the glitter and glam of the Harlem Renaissance had begun to fade. People weren’t as interested in Black culture and art during these tough times which brings Marvin and Morgan into focus.

They look more alike as old men than they did when they were younger…or is it just me??

Over the next 40 years with their paint brushes and cameras, the brothers would record what remained, refusing to document anything negative. What’s cute is that the brother’s married identical twin sisters on the same day and three years later both divorced on the same day. They would die exactly ten years apart, Morgan smith at 83 and Marvin at 93. I am happy to see that they both lived full lives.

The 306 Group

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The artists of the 306 W. 141st Street WPA Art Center. Back row, left to right: Add Bates; unidentified; James Yeargans; Vertis Hayes; Charles Alston; Sollace Glenn; unidentified; Elba Lightfoot; Selma Day; Ronald Joseph; Georgette Seabrooke; ——— Reid. Front row, left to right: Gwendolyn Knight; unidentified; Francisco Lord; unidentified; unidentified.
© Morgan and Marvin Smith. Reproduction from the Photographs and Prints Division, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, The New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox, and Tilden Foundation, http://iraas.columbia.edu/wpa/introartists.html

Black History Fun Fact Friday – 5 Harlem Renaissance Women You Probably Don’t Know

If you’re anything like me, you get tired of the same repeated history. Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, Langston Hughes, and Zora Neale Hurston. These are names to which we are exceptionally familiar. They were great but we know them. Let’s talk about something else.

Admittedly, I didn’t have a lot of time on my hands this week so I decided to compile a list of women who took part in The Harlem Renaissance to which we aren’t too familiar for this week’s fun fact. Enjoy.

Dorothy West

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The daughter of a freed slave, the only child of Isaac and Rachel West, Dorothy West’s father built a fruit and vegetable business that provided the family a more affluent life among Boston’s middle class. Nicknamed “The Kid” by Langston Hughes and sharing an apartment with Zora Neale Hurston, Dorothy West was a young member of the Harlem Renaissance. Not yet 20 in 1926 when her short story ”The Typewriter” won a prize from the Urban League’s Opportunity magazine, Dorothy moved to Harlem and joined the poets, novelists, musicians and other artists.

Alice Moore Dunbar-Nelson

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When I first came across Alice I kept trying to figure out what was so familiar about her name. It wasn’t until I researched her that it became apparent. She was once married to Paul Lawrence Dunbar before they separated in 1902. Alice Moore Dunbar-Nelson was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, to mixed-race parents. Documented as African American, Anglo, Native American, and Creole, her works cover the complex subjects of race, ethnicity, and oppression. Her first book, Violets and Other Tales (1895), was published when she was just 20. A writer of short stories, essays, and poems, Dunbar-Nelson was one of the few black female diarists of the early 20th century.

Clarissa Scott Delany

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Clarissa looks as if she was fly back in the day lol.

Born in 1901 in Tuskegee, Alabama Delany is most known for her powerful poem “The Mask”. Dying at an early age (26) she did not contribute many works but still contributed by publishing poetry and journal articles into the newspaper Opportunity. After her young years in Alabama, she was sent to New England where she graduated from Wellesley College in 1923. During Delany’s years at Wellesley, she attended meetings of the Boston Literary Guild. Speakers were featured each week. Delany started writing and gained the attention and became associated with the Harlem Renaissance.

May Miller

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“To read across May Miller’s life is to read across the history of 20th century America.”

– Myra Sklarew

It begins with May’s father, Kelly Miller. Born a year before Emancipation he was the first African American to attend John Hopkins University and among the first blacks to learn to read in public schools. He studied mathematics, physics, and astronomy. His daughter, May Miller was the most widely published playwright of The Harlem Renaissance. Myra writes how May often told about having to give up her childhood room for visits by W.E.B. Du Bois, author of The Souls of Black Folk, and the poet Paul Laurence Dunbar. She spoke of visits by Booker T. Washington, Carter G. Woodson, and Alain Locke.

Maria Bonner

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One of four children, Marita Bonner was born in Boston to Joseph Andrew and Mary Anne Bonner. She was raised and educated in Boston, attending Brookline School, where she received musical training and in 1918 she entered Radcliffe College, concentrating in English and comparative literature. In Washington Bonner became closely associated with poet, playwright, and composer Georgia Douglass Johnson, whose “S” Street salon was an important gathering place for many of the writers and artists associated with the New Negro Renaissance of the 1920s better known as The Harlem Renaissance: Langston Hughes, Countee Cullen, Jessie Fauset, May Miller, Alain Locke, Jean Toomer, Willis Richardson, and others. She also began to publish her writing in journals like The Crisis of the NAACP and Opportunity, the official journal of the Urban League. Her first published pieces, “Hands” and “On Being Young-a Woman-and Colored,” appeared in The Crisis in 1925.


Yecheilyah Ysrayl is the YA, Historical Fiction author of eight books most notably, The Stella Trilogy, Blogger, and Poet. She is currently working on her next book series “The Nora White Story” about a young black woman writer who dreams of taking part in The Harlem Renaissance movement and her parents struggle to accept their traumatic past in the Jim Crow south. “Renaissance: The Nora White Story (Book One)” is due for release July 15-16, 2017. For updates on this project, sneak peeks of other projects, nuggets and tidbits, video tutorials, writing inspiration, and more, be sure to follow this blog and to subscribe to Yecheilyah’s email list HERE.

Movie Night Friday – Harlem Nights

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I know yall were hoping I forgot about Movie Night Friday, nope! lol. So, today’s pick is Harlem Nights.

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Whenever I am in the mood for some real laughter I have to put this in, by far one of Eddie Murphy’s best to date, which is kind of ironic sense I think it won the worst directors award or something. I want to watch it just thinking about it.

Harlem Nights (’89) was written, executive produced, and directed by Eddie Murphy, who also starred in the movie alongside Richard Pryor. After a young Quick (Murphy) shoots a man trying to play Sugar Ray (Pryor) in a dice game, Ray decides to raise Quick as his own son when he discovers both his parents are dead.

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Having discovered just how much money the men are bringing in, Ray comes home to find a stranger in his home looking for the owner of the club. Calhoun has sent a corrupt detective, Phil Cantone, to threaten Ray with shutting the club down unless Calhoun gets a cut. Ray uses the wisdom of his old age to decide it may be best to shut down and move to a different location. But the young and fiery Quick on the other hand is not to be ran away by anyone. Nonetheless, Father and Son must make a decision and time is running out.

The film also features Michael Lerner, Danny Aiello, Redd Foxx, Della Reese, and Murphy’s brother Charlie Murphy.

Movie Trailer:

Funny Movie Mistakes:

In the opening scene when the guys are shooting craps, Little Quick shoots the large man squarely between the eyes. The man wasn’t looking downward and it would have been impossible for a 4 foot tall kid to shoot a 6 foot tall man at that angle squarely in the forehead.

LOL!

Pop Quiz:

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In what other movie did this kid act in that I featured in another Movie Night Friday post? Comment below if you know!