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ERIC Number: EJ840981
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2003-Dec
Pages: 8
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 9
ISSN: ISSN-0098-6291
Harlem, History, and First-Year Composition: Reconstructing the Harlem of the 1930s through Multiple Research Methods
Wilson, James
Teaching English in the Two-Year College, v31 n2 p122-129 Dec 2003
Describing the Harlem Riot of 1935, black author and poet Claude McKay wrote, "On Tuesday the crowds went crazy like the remnants of a defeated, abandoned, and hungry army. Their rioting was the gesture of despair of a bewildered, baffled, and disillusioned people". By nearly all accounts, the riot marks the historical end of the Harlem Renaissance, a period of extraordinary social advancement and prodigious artistic output by African Americans. At LaGuardia Community College in Queens, New York, the author taught a first-year composition course organized around the literature of the Harlem Renaissance. In this article, the author describes his first-year composition project in which his students assumed the role of historians, visiting the site of a riot and examining archival documents few researchers have ever studied. The author's goal was to introduce his students to a variety of research techniques and skills while making the Harlem Renaissance accessible (without oversimplification) and vital. For him, the project served as a palpable means of urging the students, many of whom had never written an academic research paper before and had very little background on the Harlem Renaissance, to grapple with the success, the failure, the high drama, and the lessons of the era.
National Council of Teachers of English. 1111 West Kenyon Road, Urbana, IL 61801-1096. Tel: 877-369-6283; Tel: 217-328-3870; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education; Two Year Colleges
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: New York (New York)