The Harlem Renaissance was a cultural movement that happened mainly in Harlem, New York throughout the 1920s to 1930s. It was known as the “New Negro Movement”. The years were between World War I and the Great Depression. This period of time was when the African- American middle class started to push for racial equality. Instead of using violence to handle their problems, the civil activists had artists and writers influence people through jazz music, fine art, and literature. Many jobs were available especially in the North, which lead a huge migration of African Americans to urban areas of the north where they were more tolerated.
Literature and art flourished during these times. There were many great musicians, for example, Louis Armstrong, an American jazz trumpeter and a singer from New Orleans. Armstrong was basically the foundation to jazz music and was greatly skilled at scat singing. He was one of the truly popular entertainers of African- American decent to actually make it to the other side. Many famous writers came out during these times like Langston Hughes himself and W. E. B. Du Bois who were both activists. In the late 1920s and early 30s was when prohibition started. It was the year of crime and alcohol. It was meant that all sales, imports, exports and consumption of alcohol or alcoholic beverages were to be banned. Banning of alcohol lead to the creation of speakeasies where people would secretly go to have alcohol. Since alcohol was banned, many found it a great business idea to import alcohol over and sell them illegally like the gangster Al Capone. He was smuggling and bootlegging liquor as well as other illegal activities such as prostitution. Also this was a time of a “new breed” of young women. They were care free; wearing shorter skirts, listening to jazz, having bobbed haircuts, wearing excessive amounts of makeup, drinking, and smoking, driving automobiles, and treating sex in a casual manner.
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