The Significance Of The Harlem Renaissance Essay

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The Significance Of The Harlem Renaissance Essay, Research Paper Throughout American Literature there have been many genres of writing eras. The Harlem Renaissance was one of such genres of writing. The Harlem Renaissance was an African American cultural movement of the late 1800’s and early 1900’s that was centered in the Harlem neighborhood of New York City. Although it was primarily a literary movement, it was closely related to developments in African American music, theater, art, and politics. The Harlem Renaissance had a number of different names. It was also referred to 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 and bloomed in the mid- to late 1920’s, and then later

faded in the mid-1930’s. The Harlem Renaissance was a giant step for African American writers and poets. It was such an accomplishment because it marked the first time that mainstream publishers and critics took these writers seriously. Not only was it the publishers who gave recognition to African American literature and arts, but also the nation as a whole. The Harlem Renaissance emerged both socially and intellectually in the African American community in the early twentieth century. Several factors contributed to the movement. There had been a large black middle class developed by the turn of the century. This was a result of increased education and employment opportunities following the American Civil War. During what was known as the Great Migration, black Americans moved

by the thousands from a poor rural South to the industrialized cities of the North to take advantage of the employment opportunities created by World War I. As more and more educated and socially sensible African Americans settled in New York’s neighborhood of Harlem, it generated into the political and cultural center of black America. African American literature and arts had begun a steady development just before the turn of the century. In the performing arts, black musical theater featured such accomplished artists as songwriter Bob Cole and composer J. Rosamond Johnson, brother of writer James Weldon Johnson. Jazz and blues music moved with black populations from South and Midwest into the bars and cabarets of Harlem.”Harlem offered a kaleidoscope of literary, political,

and hedonistic activity than anywhere in the United States”. In literature, the poetry of Paul Laurence Dunbar and the fiction of Charles W. Chestnutt in the late 1890’s were among the earliest works of African Americans to receive national recognition. By the end of World War I the fiction of James Weldon Johnson and poetry of Claude McKay anticipated the literature that would follow in the late 1920’s by describing the reality of black life in America and the struggle for racial identity. There are a few reasons for the movement such as from the quote “Africa as a source of race pride, black American heroes, and the black folk tradition”. In the early 1920’s three works signaled the new creative energy in African American literature. McKay’s volume of poetry,

Harlem Shadows, became one of the first works by a black writer to be published by a mainstream, national publisher. Cane, by Jean Toomer, was an experimental novel that combined poetry and prose in documentary in the life of American Blacks in the rural south and urban north. Finally, There is Confusion, the first novel by writer and editor Jessie Fauset, depicted middle class life among Black Americans from a woman’s perspective. With these early works as the foundation, three events between 1924 and 1926 started 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 literary establishment. As a result