A look back at the Harlem Rens: “They’re Renaissance, Too”

The Harlem Renaissance is well-known as a period of African-American intellectual and cultural growth, centered in its namesake Manhattan neighborhood, during the 1920’s and 30’s. During this time, writers, musicians, artists, and leaders such as Zora Neale Hurston, Palmer Hayden, Dizzy Gillespie, and W.E.B. Du Bois came to popular prominence among the black urban populations growing in the country. One aspect of the Harlem Renaissance that is often overlooked, however, is another type of Renaissance, one that made its home in the hustle and bustle of a Harlem ballroom. Or rather, literally, it was made into a “ball” room.

It was the New York Renaissance. But, rather than being a citywide cultural movement, it was simply a group of men and the sport of basketball. The New York Renaissance, alternatively known as the Harlem Rens, were founded as a team in early 1923 by Robert “Bob” Douglas, in partnership with the Renaissance Casino and Ballroom. Hence, the earlier play on words; the Rens would use the establishment’s ballroom for games, setting-up portable hoops to turn the dance floor into a basketball court. Then, after the game was done, the rims would be packed away again and there would be dancing. Imagine the thrill of being able to enjoy a night of music and food after watching your hometown team defeat the competition, on the court they had just performed on! Well, the first thing that comes to mind for me would be the potential for odor, but I’m certain they cleaned up before the festivities.

Joking aside, the Rens were no joke in the sport. In their run from 1923 to their disbanding 1949, the team accumulated a stellar record of 2588 wins to 539 losses. In the 1932-33 season, they racked up a record of 88 consecutive wins, a record which has gone unmatched in professional leagues to this day. And make no mistake, the Rens were a professional team, going up against the likes of the Chicago Globetrotters (who would go on to make their home in Harlem), the Oshkosh All-Stars (whom the Rens would defeat to win the first invitational World Professional Basketball Tournament in Chicago in 1939), and had a very popular rivalry with the Original Celtics (no relation to those guys in Boston). In fact, during that incredible 88-straight-wins season, the Rens had a final record of 120-8, six of those losses came at the hands of the Original Celtics; the Rens responded in kind with eight victories over their fellow New Yorker rivals.

If this is reading like a sports article, it’s only because these numbers and facts are very relevant to the real point. Rising up in the midst of the fabled and much-studied Harlem Renaissance, the New York Renaissance basketball team was a squad of all-black players. Not only were they all-black, in contrast to other all-white independent teams including the Original Celtics and Oshkosh All-Stars, but they were an all-black professional organization which experienced tremendous success in the sphere of athletics. The New York Renaissance’s contributions to the evolution of African-American culture cannot be dismissed as simply a game, but must be recognized as the milestones they were.

By Gregory Lucas-Myers, Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History

African-American Art: Why It’s So Unique

art

African American art is really hot and stuffy. there are many reasons here for hot art which we discuss bellow. If we look deep into the mater than we will know about the intensity and culture these are those factors that make is hot and attractive for all people.

Johnson may be known as a low-budget comedy routines and booty-shaking music videos, who led a successful bet, the cable channel he founded that has transformed the first black American billionaire in 2001. Johnson may be known as a low-budget comedy routines and booty-shaking music videos, who led a successful bet, the cable channel he founded the uterus, it has become the first black American billionaire in 2001.

Suspension Den Robert Johnson is an oil from 1930 by an African-American artist named Palmer Hayden. The painting depicts a black American businessman to shine his shoes. The painting depicts a black American businessman to shine his shoes.

The issue is smartly dressed in suits and disputes, as Johnson himself, a yellow ribbon down sport shirt crisp and bright blue. The issue is smartly dressed in suits and disputes, as Johnson himself is a yellow bow down sport shirt crisp and bright blue.

But in his private moments, he was moved by art that documents the struggles and achievements of black people in America. But in his private moments, he was moved by art that documents the struggles and achievements of black people in America. Since the 1980 Johnson, 62, brought together about 250 works of 19 century and 20, African-American artists. Since the 1980 Johnson, 62, brought together about 250 works of 19 century and 20, African-American artists.

Although the collection of Johnson is probably only worth a couple million dollars, contains some of the biggest names in the genre: Cubist-inspired collage artist Romare Bearden (1911-1988), Modernism in Harlem artist Jacob Lawrence (1917-2000 ) and Henry Ossawa Tanner (1859-1937), who studied with Thomas Eakins in 1880 and was the first black artist to receive international awards. Although the collection of Johnson is probably only worth a couple million dollars, contains some of the biggest names in the genre: Cubist-inspired collage artist Romare Bearden (1911-1988), Harlem modernist painter Jacob Lawrence (1917-2000) and Henry Ossawa Tanner (1859-1937), who studied under Thomas Eakins in 1880 and was the first black artist to receive international awards.

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