African American Freedom

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As America progressed during 1865 to 1932, African Americans have experienced a variety of American liberty. There were many hurdles African Americans had to overcome before they reached any type of freedom. The first challenge they had to overcome was that they were slaves and considered to be property, not a person. Once this was outlawed, they had to overcome the discrimination from the government and other Americans. They finally achieved some of the benefits of American freedom by being able to vote, work in industrial jobs, and express themselves through art. The period Reconstruction lit the fire to a new beginning in the African American culture. The act inspired African American men and women to go beyond being free from slavery. …show more content…

The freedom of African Americans were being challenged at this time. The African American workers were “barred from joining most unions, [attaining] skilled employment” and had little access to industrial freedom (Foner 751). Nonetheless, the war unleashed social changes for African Americans. They were now open to thousands of industrial jobs because of the increase in wartime production and the drastic falloff in immigration from Europe (Foner 755). Although this work was not very skilled, they were able to provide for their family that did not mean being a …show more content…

They began to express this new found freedom during the 1920s, when almost 1 million African Americans left the South and migrated to New York, Chicago and other urban centers (Foner 796). A new term called the "New Negro" came into play, which in art meant the rejection of established stereotypes and a search for black values to put in their place (Foner 797). This established a quest led by writers which birthed the Harlem Renaissance to show the roots of the black experience (Foner 797). The Harlem Renaissance is where we see African Americans really express their freedom because Harlem contained a vibrant black cultural community that established links with New York 's artistic mainstream (Foner 796). For the first time Broadway presented a black actor in a serious role and African Americans were also seen in shows like Dixie to Broadway and Blackbirds (Foner 797). The theaters in Harlem flourished due to the freeing of black writers and actors. The Harlem Renaissance writing contained a strong element of protest like Cluade McKays poem "If We Must Die" (Foner 798). This poem was in response to the black riots in 1919 by "affirming that blacks would no longer allow themselves to be murdered defenselessly by whites" (Foner 798).

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