The Harlem Renaissance and its Effect on African American Literature Thesis: The literary movement during the Harlem Renaissance was a raging fire that brought about new life for the African American writer; its flame still burns today through the writings of contemporary African American writers.
The Harlem Renaissance- Its Beginning and Development
The Major Writers
A. Claude McKay
B. Jean Toomer
C. Countee Cullen
D. Langston Hughes
E. Zora Neale Hurston
Major Themes of Writing during the Harlem Renaissance
A. The effort to recapture the African American past and African Heritage
B. Life in Harlem
The Harlem Renaissance – The Era Comes to a Close
The Influence on Contemporary African American Writing
A. Toni Cade Bambara
B. Darryl Pinckney
The Fire of the Renaissance has become the Flame
English Composition ENG-1123
30 July 2008
The Harlem Renaissance and its Effect on African American Literature
An outburst of creative activity among African Americans occurred in all fields of art between 1920 and 1930. The place was Harlem in New York City and the people were African Americans who came from the South looking for a better way of life. What they found was new, exciting and wonderful. They found Duke Ellington and Lena Horne playing and singing sounds of soulful jazz. The brilliant art of William H. Johnson could be seen with colorful scenes of the rural South. This African-American cultural movement became known as "The New Negro Movement" and later as the Harlem Renaissance. Although it was short lived the Harlem Renaissance changed the face of black America forever. The literary movement during the Harlem Renaissance was a raging fire that brought about new life for the African American writer; its flame still burns today through the writings of contemporary African American writers.
What occurred to bring about the Harlem Renaissance? Why were African Americans looking for a better way of life? The African American was originally from Africa and was brought to this land called America as slaves. African American men, women, and children were not free and were treated as objects or high price merchandise. The life of a salve was hard and cruel. This way of life lasted for many years. In 1862 President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation. The proclamation declared that slavery was illegal in the United States. The American Civil War, a war in which a few Southern states were unwilling to end slavery, came to a conclusion in 1865. “ Between 1865 and 1877, during a period called the Reconstruction, the U.S. government tried to help the Southern states recover from wartime devastation and make the transition from slave to paid labor on farms and plantations” (Howes 6). For the African American freedom was welcomed but with this freedom came other hardships. In the South a system of legalized segregation was formed and African Americans were denied many privileges that whites enjoyed. African Americans were denied privileges such as attending the same schools with whites, using the same public facilities, or eating in the same restaurants with whites. In many states they were not allowed to vote. Whites resented African Americans and violence was rampant. African Americans were lynched (hanged without a trial) and often the law looked the other way. Social conditions promoted large numbers of African Americans to leave their rural homes in the South in search of better lives. Many headed for New York, fleeing the aftermath of race riots over segregation, employment discrimination and equal rights that broke out in several cities. “The United States entered World War I in 1917. The need to produce weapons and equipment for the war effort, as well as the flood of young men joining the armed services, led to a...
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