"Swing Low, Sweet Chariot"
-William Johnson

An Internet WebQuest by:
Ralph A. Bucci - Charles W. Flanagan High School
Oscar Siflinger - Stranahan High School
Nick Leon - Layout Design


The Process and Resources

In this WebQuest you will be working together with a group of students in class. Each group will answer the Task or Quest(ion). As a member of the group you will explore Webpages from people all over the world who care about the Harlem Renaissance. Because these are real Webpages we're tapping into, not things made just for schools, the reading level might challenge you. Feel free to use the online Webster dictionary or one in your classroom.

For grading purposes each student will receive two grades. One of the grades will be a group grade in which the finished product will be evaluated by rubric which will be explained fully to you in class. The other grade will be individual in nature. It will be based upon your individual work and effort by rubric.

Every group member must research one noted personality of the Harlem Renaissance and will be evaluated via two options:

1- Present a power point presentation of at least 4 slides detailing:
a) cover page
b) childhood and education
c) highlights of his/her life
d) accomplishments detailing how s/he affected the Harlem
e) download at least one photograph
f) use slide transitions to set up show your group getting some background before dividing into roles where people on your team become experts on one part of the topic.

2- Create a six page digital magazine either burned on to a CD OR design a web page with the following data:

A- Select an individual of interest and write a biography demonstrating how and why this person was an important part of the Harlem Renaissance.

B- Write 3 news articles highlighting noteworthy events this individual was part of.

C- Editorial (Student must take a position concerning one event your individual is responsible for).

D- Political Cartoon (pokes fun at a serious concern)
AND write an editorial about that concern).

E- Historiography:
Write a news analysis drawing comparisons between literature and history.
(In a Historiography no position is taken. You must only report what authors or journalists have written about the subject using quotes from literature while relating those quotes to history).

F- Create a logo and name your magazine.
Group members work in pairs to edit and proofread each other? final draft.
Decide on the final format for the news page and how it will be produced.

** In order to write the historiography, you must contact the real world connection listed in the webquest and obtain a literary connection to the researched historical group, and find a relationship between history and literature.

ALSO: One student from each group will participate in a panel discussion graded by a rubric between the different participating schools in the distance learning center.

Durng the round table panel discussion, your teachers will act as moderators and raise current issues relating to the Harlem Renaissance. Students will be expected to use history and literature to create analogies linking the past to the present and to determine how our society has been effected by the Harlem Renaissance.

NOTE- Due to the degree of difficulty for each project,it is at the teacher's discretion which rubric will be used to assign an appropriate grade.

You may select from but are not limited to this list:

1- Literature/Poetry/Visual Artists:
Claude McKay, W.E.B. DuBois, James Weldon Johnson, Langston Hughes, Jean Toomer, Walter White, Countee Cullen, Jessie Fauset, Nella Larsen, Arna Bontemps, Zora Neale Hurston, Aaron Douglass, William H. Johnson, Hale Woodruff, Palmer Hayden, and Richard Wright.

2- Performing Artists, Composers and Theatrical Stars:
Paul Robeson, Roland Hayes, Marian Anderson, R. Nathaniel Dett, Jelly Roll Morton, W.C. Handy (Father of Blues), Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, and Charles Gilpin.

3- Politicians & Religious Leaders
Marcus Garvey, Father Divine (George Baker), Mary McLeod Bethune, Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., and A. Phillip Randolph.

4- Scholars and Scientists
Carter Woodson, Ernest Just, E. Franklin Frazier, George Washington Carver, Dr. Percy Julian, Dr. Charles Drew, Alain Lock, and Dr. William Hinton

Phase 1 - Background: Something for Everyone

Use the Internet information linked below to answer the basic questions of who? what? where? when? why? and how? Be creative in exploring the information so that you answer these questions as fully and insightfully as you can.

1. Why did the Harlem Renaissance occur when it did and where it did?

  • Mr. Ralph Bucci's Web Page - A quality literary website.
  • Mr. Oscar Siflinger's Web Page - Excellent historical reference center.
  • The Niagara Conference and Harpers Ferry Meeting - This site commemorates the meeting of what W.E.B. DuBois called the Talented Tenth, those that would lead former slaves to full citizenship. These meetings led to the formation of the NAACP and Black Nationalism movement and ultimately the Harlem Renaissance.
  • Marcus Garvey - UCLA website dedicated to the man that sparked black nationalism and continued the Back To Africa Movement with his organization the UNIA. Garvey is credited as the impetus behind the Harlem Renaissance.
  • Langston Hughes - A research and reference guide for one of the most celebrated poets of the Harlem Renaissance.

Phase 2 - Looking Deeper from Different Perspectives


1. Individuals or pairs from your larger WebQuest team will explore one of the roles below.

2. Read through the files linked to your group. If you print out the files, underline the passages that you feel are the most important. If you look at the files on the computer, copy sections you feel are important by dragging the mouse across the passage and copying / pasting it into a word processor or other writing software.

3. Note: Remember to write down or copy/paste the URL of the file you take the passage from so you can quickly go back to it if you need to to prove your point.

4. Be prepared to focus what you've learned into one main opinion that answers the Big Quest(ion) or Task based on what you have learned from the links for your role.


Use the Internet information linked below to answer these questions specifically related to role, job or perspective #1:

1. Examine the leaders of the literature, poety, and art during the Harlem Renaissance and determine their impact on American society.

2. Return to the general instructions and read the biographies of any five authors listed in Literature/Poetry section.

3. How did winning the Harmon Foundation Award change Palmer Hayden's life?

4. How did Palmer Hayden's art work contribute to the cultural revival of the Harlem Renaissance?

5. What was the subject matter of Hayden Palmer's work, and why is this significant?

6. What place did Hayden Palmer earn as part of the Harlem Renaissance?

7. How does Claude McKay use the poem 'If We Must Die' to show that life has meaning?

8. Examine the events of the Red Summer of 1919 in your American History book, and how does this poem reflect the feelings of African-Americans in this period of discontent?

9. What is McKay's message to the future of his people and of mankind itself?

10. After reading the Forethought of The Souls of Black Folk, is there a satirical message concerning emancipation at the turn of the 20th century?

11. Published 38 years after the 13th Amendment abolished slavery, what concerns does W.E.B. Du Bois have concerning the 'mass millions of Black peasantry in the White world?'

12. James Weldon Johnson, the author of the Black National Anthem, wrote 'Lift Every Voice and Sing.' What is his view of history, and what is his view of the future?

13. What would you consider to be the most important line of the poem and explain why?

14. Read excerpts from the story 'Bona and Paul.' Why does Jean Toomer try to blend the races claiming that 'a racially amalgamated future would be America's salvation?'

15. What symbolism is connotated in the short story 'Cane'?

16. What did Walter White speaking through Kenneth Harper, his main character in 'The Fire in the Flint' feel that the race problem could be solved?

17. Combining history with literature, how does Walter White's character, Kenneth Harper suffer from the realities of the time?

18. How is Kenneth Harper blind to the fact that as a member of the Talented Tenth the race card still triumphed in a White society?

19. How did the people that Jesse Fauset surrounded herself with influence her writings.

20. Site images from the poem 'Dead Fires' that relate to relationships and death.

21. Examine Hale Woodruff's 'Amistad' murals and in what way does the African experience come to life?

22. How does Cinque's expression show strength of character?

23. How does the work of Aaron Douglas provide a symbolic representation of African-American life?

24. Examine William H. Johnson's painting 'Chain Gang' and detrmine what is symbolic about the faces and tools of the subjects as well as the portrayal of the Black experience.

25. Why are there only Black faces on the Chain Gang?

26. What does Arna Bontempts bring to the Renaissance that is unique and different?

27. What does the poem 'Galgotha is a Mountain' represent to the human experience, and what does the mountain represent?

28. How does history look at Black Boy and Native Son in regards to the voice of the Black?

29. What did Richard Wright's writings awaken during his time?

30. What did Wright feel about the collective energies of all of the Harlem Renaissance writers? Consider the Black church and Black folklore in creating a national consciousness.

31. What made Zora Neale Hurston unique?

32. What do you think Hurston's cultural identity meant to her. CONSIDER her statements:
A- 'I am not tragically colored.'
B- her views of slavery, discrimination, and the United

33. After reading the last paragraph what was Hurston trying to communicate by comparing people to stuffed bags.

34. How is Nella Larson's a step towards the modern feminist era?

35. How is Nella Larson's character, Helga Crane, depicted as a Talented Tenth individual, and how do societal pressures bring her back to reality?

36. How is Heart of a Woman an extension of the Black female experience?

37. What is Johnson's perception of the world and the future in her poem Black Women?

38. Read the poem 'America' by Langston Hughes and describe his vision of America.

39. Read Hughes' poem 'I, Too' and describe the plight of the African-American and his hope for the future.

40. Read the poem 'Incident' by Countee Cullen and describe the feelings of the author.

41. Which of the Countee Cullen poems question the benevolence of a Creator who has bestowed a race with such mixed blessings?

  • falconlit.com - Click on authors to find works and resources for this section of the WebQuest.
  • Palmer Hayden - Biography of a Leading Artist during the Harlem Rennaissance.
  • Claude McKay - A driving force of the Harlem Renaissance with his 'If We Must Die' poem.
  • The Souls of Black Folk - W.E.B. Du Bois'treatise that explains the meaning of the emancipation, and its effect, and his views on the role of the leaders of his race.
  • James Weldon Johnson - A biography of the writer, poet and statesman who served as executive director of the NAACP.
  • The Jean Toomer Pages - A source for a writer who bregan the Harlem Renaissance in Literature.
  • Walter White - Read about the author of Rope and Faggot: A Biography of Judge Lynch and the man who helped stop lynching in America.
  • Jessie Redmon Fauset - A research and reference center for a writer from the Harlem Renaissance.
  • Nella Larsen - Read about one of the more influential leaders of the Harlem Renaissance in Literature.
  • Georgia Douglas Camp Johnson - Read about The Heart of a Women, a book of poems that speaks of the Harlem Renaissance.
  • Hale Woodruff - Artist of the Harlem Renaissance.
  • Aaron Douglass - The most famous artist of the Harlem Renaissance. Painted murals for the Harlem Branch of the YMCA and the 135th Street Branch of the New York Public Library. His murals also hung at the Hotel Sherman in Chicago and the Fisk University Library where he headed the fine arts department.
  • William H. Johnson - Biographical sketch of one of the famous artists of the Harlem Renaissance.
  • Arna Bontemps - Famous writer and poet of the Harlem Renaissance.
  • James Weldon Johnson: Lift Every Voice and Sing - He and his brother J. Rosemond Johnson wrote what has become known as the 'Negro National Anthem.'
  • Richard Wright - Read about the author of Black Boy and Native Son.
  • Zora Neale Hurston - Short Story: How it Feels to Be Colored Me.
  • Countee Cullen - Biography of one of the foremost poets of the Harlem Renaissance
  • Four Poems by Countee Cullen - Poems written by Countee Cullen


Use the Internet information linked below to answer these questions specifically related to role, job or perspective #2:

1. Examine leading musicians, composers, and theatrical stars during the Harlem Renaissance and determine their impact on American society.

2. What obstacles did the young Paul Robeson face upon entering Rutgers University, and what were his accomplishments?

3. What were Paul Robeson's theatrical accomplishments?

4. What impact did Paul Robeson have on the polticial future of African Americans? and What impact did his life have on American society?

5. What personal obstacles did W.C. Handy have to overcome to realize his dreams?

6. How did Handy's music reflect his conception of reality?

7. What obstacles did Charles Gilpin have to overcome as the first Black star on Broadway?

8. What legacy does Charles Gilpin leave to the American Stage?

9. How did R. Nathaniel Dett depict the African-American experience through music?

10. From her meager background, how was Marian Anderson able to achieve such fame?

11. After performing to the Crowned Heads of Europe, how do you think Anderson felt after being denied theright to sing in Washington, D.C. by the Daughters of the American Revolution?

12. What was the significance of her concert at the Lincoln Memorial on Easter Sunday, 1939 at the invite of Secretary of the Interior, Harold Ickes?

13. What was unique about the sophisticated jazz that Duke Ellington introduced to New York?

14. What part did Duke Ellington play in the Cotton Club mystique?

15. What debate surrounds Jelly Roll Morton and W.C. Handy?

16. What obstacles did Jelly Roll Morton face in his rise to fame, and what were his successes?

17. What claim to fame is associated with Roland Hayes in his role as a concert singer, musician and composer?

18. Why was Louis Armstrong considered the Ambassador of Jazz from the United States to the world?

19. What obstacles did Armstrong overcome in his early life, and what achievements did he attain during his lifetime?

  • Paul Robeson - PBS interviews of those that knew him and biography of Paul Robeson. Scholar, political leader, All-American athlete, and leading stage star allegedly labeled and disgraced by his country as a communist.
  • W.C. Handy - This site highlights the life and accomplishments of the Father of the Blues. The Blues is a musical style considered the first original American music form.
  • Charles Gilpin - Biography of the first African-American to star in a Broadway production.
  • R. Nathaniel Dett - African-American composer known for his classical compositions during the Harlem Renaissance.
  • Marian Anderson - Marian Anderson went to Europe on a Rosenwald Fellowship in 1930 having performed for the Crown Heads of Europe. Nine years later the opera star was denied the right to sing by the 'Daughters of the American Revolution' at Constitution Hall in Washington D.C. The public outcry was so great the Sec. of Interior Harold Ickes invited her to sing on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on Easter Sunday.
  • Duke Ellington - This site provides a biographical sketch and provides the music of the man that brought sophisticated jazz to Harlem.
  • Jelly Roll Morton - Biography of the man that claimed to have invented blues, a statement also claimed by W.C. Handy. Their dispute over who actually invented the Blues has been debated my many music historians for years.
  • Roland Hayes - Classical Concert Singer, Musician, Composer. First African American to tour Europe on a Concert Tour.
  • Louis Armstrong - An article that dtails the life of Satchmo, one of the greatest jazz musicians of his time.


Use the Internet information linked below to answer these questions specifically related to role, job or perspective #3:

1. Examine leading political and relgious leaders during the Harlem Renaissance and determine their impact on American society.

2. What is Black Nationalism?

3. Why do you think that back to Africa movements have repeatedly appeared in African-American history? AND Why do you think that most Black Americans have chosen not to return back to Africa?

4. If you were an African-American living in the 1920's, would you support Marcus Garvey and his stance on Black Nationalism? Why or why not?

5. Why did Father Divine have an appeal to White supporters as well as Black supporters?

6. What conditions were prevalent in the United Sttes that allowed Father Divine to gain such popularity?

7. Why were Father Divine's communes called Heavens?

8. Why was education so important for Mary McLeod Bethune, and why was she so enamored by education as way to elevate the plight of Black youth in America?

9. What role did she play as Director of Negro Affairs of the National Youth Administration under President Franklin D. Roosevelt and his wife, Eleanor?

10. What role did Adam Clayton Powell play to alleviate the plight of Blacks?

11. What was Adam Clayton Powell's position cncerning the Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem?

12. Why did A. Philip Randolph's proposed march on Washington, D.C. lead to Executive Order 8802 which banned discrimination in industries holding government contracts?

13. What role did Randolph have in unions andthe railroad?

  • Marcus Garvey and W.E.B. Du Bois - An excellent site to do individual research and reach conclusions of two significant men who helped shape the Harlem Renaissance.
  • Father Divine - This is an excellent site of the International Peace Mission Movement.
  • Mary McLeod Bethune - This biography highlights the life of this life-long educator.
  • Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. - An article that explains the life of the Democrat from New York that served as a United States Representative.
  • A. Philip Randolph - A biography about the man who fought for jobs and freedom for the Blacks.


Use the Internet information linked below to answer these questions specifically related to role, job or perspective #4:

1. Examine leading scholars and scientits during the Harlem Renaissance and determine their impact on America

2. How did Charles Drew's accomplishments benefit mankind?

3. What is Charles Drew's legacy to mankind?

4. What is the irony that surrounded Charles Drew's death?

5. What were Alain Locke's successes?

6. What legacy does Locke leave on the Harlem Renaissance?

7. Why is Carter Woodson considered the Father of African-Amrican history?

8. What achievements will Carter Woodson be best remembered

9. What role did Woodsn play in establishing National Negro History Week? AND Why did he consider this important?

10. What achievements concerning cell experiments is Ernest Just remembered for?

11. Why is Edward Franklin Frazier considered one of the foremost Black sociologists during the Harlem Renaissance?

12. What was Frazier's realist view of the African-American in society?

13. What did George Washington Carver add to Tuskegee University to academics?

14. What did Carver's experiments with peanuts, sweet potatoes and soy beans produce?

15. In what way was the Southern farmer's dependency on cotton alleviated by his discoveries?

16. What are the achievements of Percy Julian in the field of medicine?

17. Why was the Hinton test for syphilis such an important discovery?

18. What achievements are Dr. Hinton most noted for?

  • Dr. Charles Drew - Biography of the African-American research physician that developed the banking of blood.
  • Alain Locke - This site is a biographical sketch of the first African- American Rhodes Scholar, professor, and author that highlighted the Harlem Renaissance.
  • Carter Woodson - The Virginia Times Dispatch article highlighting the life of the 'Father of African American History.'
  • Ernest Everett Just - Read about the scientist that challenged the theories of biology and was a leader and authority for his work with cell development.
  • Edward Franklin Frazier - The writer of the Harlem Renaissance that spoke of the impact of slavery, segregation and racial discrimination.
  • George Washington Carver - A site that includes articles, quotes and writings of the inventor and farmer.
  • Percy Lavon Julian - A biography that details the inventor of the fire-extinguishing foam for gas and oil fires and did research on rheumatoid arthritis and cortisone.
  • William Augustus Hinton - Read about the man responsible for developing tests for blood and spinal fluids.

Phase 3 - Debating, Discussing, and Reaching Consensus

You have all learned about a different part of Freedom. Now group members come back to the larger WebQuest team with expertise gained by searching from one perspective. You must all now answer the Task / Quest(ion) as a group. Each of you will bring a certain viewpoint to the answer: some of you will agree and others disagree. Use information, pictures, movies, facts, opinions, etc. from the Webpages you explored to convince your teammates that your viewpoint is important and should be part of your team's answer to the Task / Quest(ion). Your WebQuest team should write out an answer that everyone on the team can live with.

Phase 4 - Real World Feedback

You and your teammates have learned a lot by dividing up into different roles. Now's the time to put your learning into a letter you'll send out for real world feedback. Together you will write a letter that contains opinions, information, and perspectives that you've gained. Here's the process:

1. Begin your letter with a statement of who you are and why you are writing your message to this particular person or organization.

2. Give background information that shows you understand the topic.


3. Each person in your group should write a paragraph that gives two good reasons supporting the group's opinion. Make sure to be specific in both the information (like where you got it from on the Web) and the reasoning (why the information proves your group's point).

4. Have each person on the team proofread the message. Use correct letter format and make sure you have correctly addressed the email message. Use the link below to make contact. Send your message and make sure your teacher gets a copy.

Your Contact is: Ralph A. Bucci and Oscar Siflinger