Andrea Mani-Munoz, Jannel Marroquin and Emily Nunez-Ulloa came together to form a potent research team in this year’s National History Day contest at Huntington High School. The three freshmen claimed the African American History Award for a website titled “Poets of the Harlem Renaissance.”
This year’s National History Day theme is “Communication in History: The Key to Understanding.” Participants in the competition were invited to submit work in a variety of formats from individual and group exhibits and websites to historical papers and individual and group documentaries.
“The Harlem Renaissance was the development of the Harlem neighborhood in New York City as a Black cultural mecca in the early 20th Century and the subsequent social and artistic explosion that resulted,” according to History.com. “Lasting roughly from the 1910s through the mid-1930s, the period is considered a golden age in African American culture, manifesting in literature, music, stage performance and art.”
The Harlem Renaissance allowed for the “peaceful and cultural messages to be communicated throughout the nation,” states the thesis for the freshmen’s project. “Through the use of poetry, the Harlem Renaissance spoke candidly about the life of people of color living throughout the United States in a graceful yet abstract manner. These powerful messages allowed their cultural pride and protest against racism to never waver and only rise higher. This allowed future generations of African Americans to use their poems as a form of communication that helped bring about reform and a hope to reduce racism.”
The three teenagers were thrilled to win an award for their work. Their website can be found at this link: https://site.nhd.org/62056600
“Our project was about the communication of poems during the Harlem Renaissance,” Ms. Marroquin said. “We wanted to show in our project how the communication occurred and the impact of it. We chose poems from the Harlem Renaissance as our topic because it was a very important way how African Americans expressed themselves. We thought that this topic was very unique since it was more of a hidden communication. I feel like our project reflects the effort we put into it. In my opinion, it came out very well.”
The partners said they “heavily relied on collections of poems that were made during
the specific time of 1920-1930.” The group relied on databases to search for more information about the poets and their impacts along with the meaning of each of the poems. The utilized books and articles in their research.
“Our topic focused on the poets and poems that were made during the Harlem Renaissance and how their unique and tranquil form of communication affected communication within that time frame, but also further generations, such as today,” Ms. Mani-Munoz said. “We choose our topic by thinking and making a list of which methods of communication were different and not well known. In the end, my group remembered about poems and how the poets were simply able to use the English language and literature to communicate with their audience. But as for the specific time frame, we wanted to focus on an area where a lot of poems were made by minorities. That’s when we all remembered about the Harlem Renaissance, its poems and its poets.”
The group decided to create a website “since we all took a computer class in middle school, which taught us how to create our own website, coding and the basic foundation of working on a website,” the freshmen stated in their process paper. We decided that a website would be the best option to improve our coding skills and to learn more about them.”
The teenagers are happy with their finished product. “I feel like our project came out really well and I’m really proud of how it came out because it reflected on how our group had thought it out,” Ms. Mani-Munoz said. “I feel like we really put a lot of effort into it despite technical difficulties.”