Encyclopedia of the Harlem Renaissance

Encyclopedia of the Harlem Renaissance

The Encyclopedia of the Harlem Renaissance (Facts On File Publishing ISBN 0816045399) by authors Sandra L. West and Aberjhani, is a book that made history in 2003 when it became the first published encyclopedic volume to chronicle the lives, events, and culture that comprised the celebrated historical era, 1920s-1940s, known worldwide as the Harlem Renaissance. Whereas previous titles on the subject generally noted a single facet of it, such its literary or fine arts component, the "Encyclopedia of the Harlem Renaissance" brought together a diverse number of topics that included studies of the era's literature, music, art, politics, social trends, and noted events.


Upon its publication, "Encyclopedia of the Harlem Renaissance" was greeted with immediate critical acclaim. "ESSENCE Magazine" [ESSENCE Magazine] featured the title in its Christmas and Kwanzaa gift-giving guide. The "Times of Trenton" [Times of Trenton] described it as, “"a fascinating guide to a colorful and culturally productive era in African-American history." The "Rudolph Fisher Newsletter" declared it , "an outstanding reference resource highly recommended for libraries of all sizes."

Further confirmation of the book’s value came when it received both the “Choice Academic Title Award” and the “Best History Book Award” for its treatment of a period that not only produced outstanding authors like Zora Neale Hurston, Langston Hughes, and Wallace Thurman, but also exceptional leaders like James Weldon Johnson and W.E.B. Du Bois. In addition, the Harlem Renaissance laid the foundation for the success of the 1960s Civil Rights Movement and provided such lasting legacies as gospel music, jazz, the blues, and rap. While these creative triumphs have become basic staples of African-American culture, they have also become notable elements within musical and literary cultures across the globe.

In February 2006, "Black Issues Book Review" [Black Issues Book Review] voted the encyclopedia one its “essential titles for the home library.” In addition, both the American Reference Books Annual, and Libraries Unlimited’s Recommended Reference Books for Small and Medium-sized Librarires and Media Centers, list the Encyclopedia among its highly suggested titles. As of September 2008, more than 1,000 libraries listed on the [http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/50941803&referer=brief_results "WorldCat"] cataloguing system include the encyclopedia in its catalogue.


In addition to the hundreds of articles written by West and Aberjhani, the Encyclopedia also includes an extended foreword by Clement Alexander Price. Other contributors to the volume are: Iris Formey Dawson, Vaughnette Goode-Walker, Ja A. Jahannes, Karen E. Johnson, and Mary C. Lewis.


Since its 2003 debut, the impact of the encyclopedia's publication has been seen not only in the form of plays and movies, such as The Great Debaters, reflecting on the subject, but in the additional publication of dozens of books [dozens of books] focusing on different aspects of the Harlem Renaissance. The ongoing discovery of this exciting era makes "Encyclopedia of the Harlem Renaissance" an increasingly valuable and significant volume. In addition to the expected book titles, it also generated several popular web sites, including: The Black Skylark ZPed Music Player, Bright Skylark Literary Productions, [http://wwwcreativespiritharlemren.blogspot.com/ "Creative Spirit of the Harlem Renaissance"] and Creative Thinkers International.

BOOK CITATIONSMoreover,a number of literary, reference, and other works include the "Encyclopedia of the Harlem Renaissance" among its referenced citations. These include the following:

--"Belleville: 1814-1914", by Robert C. Fietsam and Judy Belleville.

--"Recommended Reference Books for Small and Medium-sized Libraries and Media Centers" 2004 Edition (Recommended Reference Books) (Hardcover) by Martin Dillon.

-- [http://books.google.com/books?id=TEZjEbEwWAYC&dq=Aberjhani&lr= "Ebony Rising: Short Fiction of the Greater Harlem Renaissance Era"] (Paperback) by Craig Gable.

--"Writer's Guide to Book Editors, Publishers, and Literary Agents, 13th Edition (with CD-ROM): Who They Are! What They Want! And How to Win Them Over!" (Writer's Guide) (Paperback) by Jeff Herman.

--"Guide to Book Publishers, Editors and Literary Agents 2004: Who They Are! What They Want! and How to Win Them Over!" (Paperback) by Jeff Herman.

-- [http://books.google.com/books?id=sI3WbkSg8KQC&printsec=frontcover&dq=Aberjhani&lr= "African-American Pride: Celebrating Our Achievements, Contributions, and Enduring Legacy"] by Tyehimba Jess.

-- [http://books.google.com/books?id=TEZjEbEwWAYC&dq=Aberjhani&lr= "Richard Wright: A Biography"] (Literary Greats) by Debbie Levy.

-- [http://books.google.com/books?id=WAxLixiOakUC&printsec=frontcover&dq=Aberjhani&lr= "Music Musique: French & American Piano Composition in the Jazz Age"] (Hardcover). Indiana University Press, 2006, by Barbara Meister.

-- [http://www.trinity.edu/msoto/ "Teaching the Harlem Renaissance: Course Design and Classroom Strategies"] (African American Literature and Culture), 2008, by Michael Soto

--"Black France: Colonialism, Immigration, and Transnationalism." Indiana University Press, 2006, by Dominic Thomas.

--"African American Literature: Overview and Bibliography" (Nova Science Publishers, ISBN 159033566X) 2003, by Paul T. Tilden.


Benneking, Mario A.J., “ADW Celebration of Books,” "Atlanta Daily World" (Summer 2003): 8, 11.

Booklist, “Black History Spotlight: Encyclopedia of the Harlem Renaissance,” "Booklist" (2004).

Carter, Zakia, “Essentials: Must-Have Reference Books for Your Home Library,” "Black Issues Book Review" (January 2006).

Goode, Vaughnette, “Writer Takes on Harlem Renaissance,” "Savannah Morning News Closeup" (21 March, 2002): Cover story.

Joslin, Ann, “Encyclopedia of the Harlem Renaissance,” "School Library Journal" (February 2004).

Kinamore, Anela “Interview with the Authors of the Encyclopedia of the Harlem Renaissance,” "African Voices" (Spring 2005): 41-43.

Morekis, Jim, “All that Jazz: Local Author Aberjhani has Penned a History of the Harlem Renaissance,” "Connect Savannah" 3, 20 (11 February, 2004): Cover story.

Morekis, Jim, “The Gift of Words, Our Recommendations for the Book Lover in Your Life,” "Connect Savannah" 3, no. 9 (26 November, 2003): 6.

Patrick, Diane, “African American Adult Books,” "Publishers Weekly" (8 December, 2003).

Porter, Evette, “Book Gift Guide, Season’s Readings,” "ESSENCE Magazine" 34, no. 8 (Dec 2003): 154.

Slayden, Bridgett, “Encyclopedia of the Harlem Renaissance,” "Library Media Connection" (April/May 2004).

Saunders, Michelle, “Reference Reviews: Encyclopedia of the Harlem Renaissance,” "VOYA" (August 2004): 246.

Sunday Book Section, “Encyclopedia of the Harlem Renaissance,” "The Times of Trenton" (7 December, 2003).

Vara, A.C., “Encyclopedia of the Harlem Renaissance,” "Choice Magazine" 41, no. 5 (January 2004).


--"ELEMENTAL, The Power of Illuminated Love" (May 2008, ISBN 0972114270) book of poems and essays featuring art by Luther E. Vann, published May 2008.

--"The American Poet Who Went Home Again" (May 2008, ISBN 1435717694) book of creative nonfiction, memoir, and literary journalism.

--"The Bridge of Silver Wings" (December 2007, ISBN 978-1-4357-3421-0)collected angel poems.

--"Christmas When Music Almost Killed the World" (Black Skylark Singing Press, 2007, ISBN 978-0-9662356-7-8) a novel.

--"The Wisdom of W.E.B. Du Bois" (Kensington Books/Citadel Press, 2003, ISBN 080652510X) quotations from and essays on W.E.B. Du Bois.

American History

Cultural Migrations


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