The Harlem Renaissance

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THE HARLEM RENAISSANCE:
IT'S HISTORICAL IMPORTANCE ON BLACK CULTURE AND SOCIETY IN AMERICA Written by *

Dr. William Mulligan History 522 Fall 1999

OUTLINE

I.INTRODUCTION

II.RACIAL CLIMATE AFTER WORLD WAR I

III.POLITICAL LEADERS EMERGING IN HARLEM

IV.HARLEM AS THE "BLACK METROPOLIS"

V.THE ARTS OF HARLEM

VI.WHITE AMERICA'S ROLE IN THE RENAISSANCE

VII.REFLECTIONS ON THE HARLEM RENAISSANCE'S HISTORICAL IMPORTANCE

1.

The Harlem Renaissance is one of the most influential movements in a minority group's history in the United States of America. The renaissance sparked an awareness of self for Black Americans in the early part of the twentieth century. It was the bringing together of black artists, politicians, musicians, writers, poets, dancers and blacks from all over the country concentrated in Harlem, New York. Harlem became the home of anybody who had dreams of being heard or expressing great talents. It also became the center for radical as well as rational thoughts on the improvement of the condition of Black Americans in society during the late 1900's on up to the 1920's.

The Harlem Renaissance as an historical movement is seldom taught as a major point in United States history. Due to the fact that many of the aspirations and hopes for Harlem and its future have not materialized, many historians have downplayed its significance on how blacks viewed themselves and how others viewed blacks during the time period between 1918-1930. The great talent of many of the personalities that were born from the renaissance seems to still have validity and is taught to American children, but the movement as one of black pride and awareness has lost its rally through the years and has subsided to a mere footnote in American history.

In this paper, I will first report on the mindset of black American after World War I and the subsequent social and cultural alienation that sparked the Harlem Renaissance. Also I am going to point out Key figures of the Harlem political minds and the major players in Harlem's art and music scenes. Concluding the paper will be a reflection on the Harlem Renaissance and its influence on black society and culture today.

2

In 1918, World War I was coming to its conclusion and many of the men returning from combat were black. Being overseas and being exposed to new cultures and peoples made many of the soldiers fighting in the war evaluate their own culture and value (Huggins p.7). Black soldiers coming home had been hardened by war and had a renewed sense of what it was to be a man. Many black soldiers returned to cities were they were treated like second-class citizens or non-heroes while their white counterparts were receiving great acclaim. Black men could not see how they could lay down their lives the same as white men and still not be their equals socially in this country. Many of these men called for the end of Negro accommodation, of the importance of ethnic identity, and of the new when black men would have and wield power (Huggins p.7). With black men...
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