CSU, Chico News

Take a Rare Step Into History at the Harlem Renaissance Rent Party

Date: 01-09-2012

Kathleen McPartland
Public Affairs
Tracy Butts
Chief Diversity Officer

The Black Faculty and Staff Association at California State University, Chico, along with the School of the Arts and the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, present the annual Harlem Renaissance Rent Party, Wednesday, Feb. 1 at 7:30 p.m. on the stage of Harlen Adams Theatre.

What is a Harlem Renaissance rent party? Rent parties were a way for Harlemites in the 1920s and 1930s to pay their rent. Hosts would hire musicians, cook food and open their homes to friends and neighbors for a party. The proceeds would provide money for rent.

This year’s rent party is a benefit for Safe Place, a Collaborative Response to Violence Project at CSU, Chico and Butte College. The mission of Safe Place is to offer a visible support system for victims of sexual assault, intimate partner violence and stalking through outreach, crisis intervention, advocacy and educational programming.

The Harlem Renaissance Rent Party will be filled with partygoers dressed up as anyone from 1919 to 1929, and prizes will be awarded to those with the best costumes. People are also encouraged to wear their costumes to work that day. Food and music will be provided.

The rent party, part of Black History Month at Chico State, is a way to celebrate the Harlem Renaissance, said Tracy Butts, chief diversity officer at CSU, Chico and coordinator of the event.

“The Harlem Renaissance was a cultural movement from the 1920s and 1930s in New York City’s Harlem neighborhood,” she said. “It gave birth to many mainstream African American writers and musicians. Without this movement, literature, theatre, art and politics would not be the same.”

The cost is $5 at the door. For more information, call Professor Butts at 530-898-5151 or e-mail her at tbutts@csuchico.edu.