African Americans In The Harlem Renaissance

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The purpose of this essay is to provide a thorough yet concise explanation on the ways in which The Harlem Renaissance helped shaped the culture and perceptions of the “New Negro” in modern era of the 1920s and early 1930s. I will analyze the socioeconomic forces that led to the Harlem Renaissance and describe the motivation behind the outburst of Black American creativity, and the ideas that continue to have a lasting impact on American culture. In addition, I will discuss the effects as well as the failures of the movement in its relationship to power and resistance, highlighting key figures and events that are linked to the renaissance movement.
During the 1920s and early 1930s New York City’s district of Harlem became the center of a cultural
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Artist such as Duke Ellington, Langston Hughes, Claude McKay, Bessie Smith, amongst others, were beginning to express attitudes of hope, freedom and solidarity. Although it was primarily an artistic movement, it was also a political social movement. Despite the challenges of race and class, the Harlem Renaissance represented a new social interaction between Blacks and Whites. As a result of the big migration, the image of African Americans changed from rural country bumpkins to one of urban sophistication. African Americans began to generate a sense of pride within themselves, and a discovery of their own identity. Blacks and whites began mixing socially; and it was the art of Black America that made this connection between the races possible.
The Harlem Renaissance had a big impact on the art world and for African Americans. While the Harlem Renaissance was built on African American traditions and culture, it was also influenced by European and White American artist. Art has always been a form of expression, and for African American it became an outlet for opposing racial inequality and to quote, “primitive/savage” stereotypes placed upon them. They believed that art could break down the negative attitudes against them, and that one day they would achieve acceptance and social equality
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After World War I racial tension was at an all-time high in America. Out of this movement one of the first thing to emerge as a consequence of the political awakening of Black Americans was an increase of black militancy. Key political figures like Marcus Garvey and W.E.B. DuBois emerged teaching black militancy and liberation. The Back-to-Africa movement of Marcus Garvey was the most popular way to express the increasing resignation concerning multiracial society, although this approach was chosen primarily by the uneducated part of the African American population. The more sophisticated respond was the development of a new racial pride. DuBois believed that African Americans could never achieve equality by copying white American ideals, and that equality could only be achieved by teaching racial pride and African cultural heritage. On the other side of the coin, Marcus Garvey and his Pan African Movement was preaching a return back to Africa message and encouraging black economic independence. The political awareness among African Americans was increasing significantly, it was realized that it was necessary to become active in society in order to achieve racial equality. “The emergence of the New Negro symbolized black liberation and the final shaking off of the residuals of slavery in mind, spirit and
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