The Harlem Renaissance

Topics: African American, Harlem Renaissance, Black people Pages: 7 (2307 words) Published: May 31, 2013
The Harlem Renaissance was a cultural movement that spanned the 1920s. At the time, it was known as the "New Negro Movement", named after the 1925 anthology by Alain Locke. Though it was centered in the Harlem neighborhood of New York City, many French-speaking black writers from African and Caribbean colonies who lived in Paris were also influenced by the Harlem Renaissance.[1][2][3][4] The Harlem Renaissance is generally considered to have spanned from about 1919 until the early or mid-1930s. Many of its ideas lived on much longer. The zenith of this "flowering of Negro literature", as James Weldon Johnson preferred to call the Harlem Renaissance, was placed between 1924 (the year that Opportunity: A Journal of Negro Life hosted a party for black writers where many white publishers were in attendance) and 1929 (the year of the stock market crash and the beginning of the Great Depression). Contents [hide]

1 Background to Harlem
2 Development of African-American community in Harlem
2.1 An explosion of culture in Harlem
3 Music
4 Characteristics and themes
5 Influence of the Harlem Renaissance
5.1 A new black Identity
5.2 Criticism of the movement
6 Notable figures and their works
6.1 Novels
6.2 Short story collections
6.3 Drama
6.4 Poetry
6.5 Leading intellectuals
6.6 Visual artists
6.7 Popular entertainment
6.8 Musicians and composers
7 See also
8 References
9 External links
10 Bibliography
Background to Harlem [edit]

Until the end of the Civil War, the majority of African Americans had been enslaved and lived in the South. After the end of slavery, the emancipated African Americans began to strive for civic participation, political equality and economic and cultural self-determination. Soon after the end of the Civil War the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871 gave rise to speeches by African American Congressmen addressing this Bill. By 1875 sixteen blacks had been elected and served in Congress and gave numerous speeches with their newfound civil empowerment. The Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871 was renounced by black Congressmen and resulted in the passage of Civil Rights Act of 1875, part of Reconstruction legislation by republicans. By the late 1870s, democratic whites managed to regain power in the South. From 1890 to 1908 they proceeded to pass legislation that disenfranchised most Negros and many poor whites, trapping them without representation. They established white supremacist regimes of Jim Crow segregation in the South and one-party block voting behind southern Democrats. The Democratic whites denied African Americans their exercise of civil and political rights by terrorizing black communities with lynch mobs and other forms of vigilante violence[5] as well as by instituting a convict labor system that forced many thousands of African Americans back into unpaid labor in mines, on plantations, and on public works projects such as roads and levees. Convict laborers were typically subject to brutal forms of corporal punishment, overwork, and disease from unsanitary conditions. Death rates were extraordinarily high.[6] While a small number of blacks were able to acquire land shortly after the Civil War, most were exploited as sharecroppers.[7] As life in the South became increasingly difficult, African Americans began to migrate North in great numbers. Most of the African-American literary movement arose from a generation that had lived through the gains and losses of Reconstruction after the American Civil War. Sometimes their parents or grandparents had been slaves. Their ancestors had sometimes benefited by paternal investment in social capital, including better-than-average education. Many in the Harlem Renaissance were part of the Great Migration out of the South into the Negro neighborhoods of the North and Midwest. African Americans sought a better standard of living and relief from the institutionalized racism in the South. Others were people of African descent from racially stratified...
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