American Literature II
The Harlem Renaissance: An Era of Change
Throughout the history of man there has existed a need to define ourselves. Often this need has driven us to a point of creation that signifies our growth as humans and enhances our ability to better understand each other. During the early part of the twentieth century the African American populace entered into such an era. The Harlem Renaissance from its beginning to end was a time of literary creativity and social awakening that forever impacted the face of our culture. After World War I there was a large migration of African Americans from the South to the North. This mass exodus helped lay the foundation for the Harlem Renaissance and set the place for its epicenter in New York. It was here that the three biggest civil rights groups made their camp (“The”). The first group was the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People or NAACP for short. It was founded by W.E.B. DuBois “to promote civil rights and fight African-American disenfranchisement” (“The”). Soon followed the UNIA-ACL founded by Marcus Garvey for the purpose of unifying the African-American people. This group allowed for color people to take pride in their race. Lastly the National Urban League was created to help those moving from the South to be trained and find work. It was these three groups that gave a community feel to color people in New York and all over the country. Though racism was still rampant the Harlem Renaissance severed as a small time of a somewhat fragile peace with blacks and whites. White writers of the post WWI era found African American art to have a “primitive” feel causing a growing interest in black art and writings (“Harlem”). This interest overlapped with a basic curiosity that intellectuals had in pronouncing a more independent American ethos from the global community. Essentially the idea of cultural pluralism was being cultivated which “inspired notions of...
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