The Harlem Renaissance
June 10, 2004
Table of Contents
Chapter 1: Introduction
pg. 1 Chapter 2:
How did the Harlem Renaissance begin?
.pg. 1-2 Chapter 3:
What works or events had a great impact on the movement?...........pg. 2-3 Chapter 4:
What were some themes of the Harlem Renaissance?.....................pg. 3-5
Did the Harlem Renaissance only appeal to African -Americans
pg. 5 Chapter 5:
pg. 5 Cited Works
Harlem Renaissance, an African American cultural movement of the 1920s and early 1930s that was centered in the Harlem neighborhood of New York City. According to Wintz: The Harlem Renaissance was "variously known as the New Negro movement, the New Negro Renaissance, and the Negro Renaissance, the movement emerged toward the end of World War I in 1918, blossomed in the mid- to late 1920s, and then withered in the mid-1930s. The Harlem Renaissance marked the first time mainstream publishers, critics took African American literature seriously, and that African American literature and arts attracted significant attention from the nation as a whole (1)."
Although it was primarily a literary movement, it was closely related to
advancement in African American music, theater, art, and politics.
How did the Harlem Renaissance begin?
The Harlem Renaissance emerged in the midst of social and intellectual turmoil in the African American community in the early 20th century. Several factors laid the foundation for the movement. A black middle class had developed by the turn of the century due to increased education and employment opportunities following the American Civil War(1861-1865) (Ruben 9). During an event known as the Great Migration where hundreds of thousands of African Americans moved from an economically depressed rural South to industrial cities of the North to take advantage of the employment opportunities created by World War I (Reuben 9). As more and more educated and socially conscious blacks settled in New York's neighborhood of Harlem, it developed into the political and cultural center of black America. Equally important, during the 1910s a new political agenda advocating racial equality arose in the African American community, particularly in its growing middle class (Reuben 9). Championing the agenda were black historian and sociologist W. E. B. Du Bois and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), which was founded in 1909 to advance the rights of blacks. This agenda was also reflected in the efforts of Jamaican-born Black Nationalist Marcus Garvey, whose "Back to Africa" movement inspired racial pride among blacks in the United States (11)." In this article, Porter makes it clear that blacks were determined to press forward as a people. Chapter 3
What works or events had a great impact on the Harlem Renaissance?
In the early 1920s, three works signaled the new creative energy in African American literature. McKay's volume of poetry, Harlem Shadows (1922), became one of the first works by a black writer to be published by a mainstream, national publisher (Harcourt, Brace and Company). Cane (1923), by Jean Toomer, was an experimental novel that combined poetry and prose in documenting the life of American blacks in the rural South and urban North (Andrews 4). Finally, There Is Confusion (1924), the first novel by writer and Editor Jessie Fauset, depicted middle-class life among black Americans from a woman's perspective (Andrews 4).
According to Bassett, these early works as the foundation and three events between 1924 and 1926 launched the Harlem Renaissance. First, on March 21, 1924, Charles S. Johnson of the National Urban League hosted a dinner to recognize the new literary talent in the black community and to introduce the young writers to New York's white...
Cited: Basset, John E. Harlem in Review: Critical Reactions to Black American Writers. Selinsgrove: Susquehanna UP, 1992.
Porter, James A. Modern Negro Art. New York: Arno Press, 1969.
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