The Harlem Renaissance, also known as the New Negro Movement, is a time period in American history that bred the likes of Langston Hughes, W.E.B Dubois, and Zora Neale Hurston. Despite the name, the Harlem Renaissance is not exclusive to the city of Harlem. The Harlem Renaissance period is an “interdisciplinary cultural movement” (Jones 2008) that unleashed creativity in the African American community and allowed the ingenuity of the community to be shared with the world. The Harlem Renaissance is the beginning of the age of modernism. This artistic movement included creative explosions in the areas of literature, poetry, dance, and music.
First, the Harlem Renaissance occurred around the time of the African American civil rights movement. Much of the literature was inspired by African Americans and their goals of achieving civil rights. All of these literary works that are published around this this serve as a foundation for African American culture seeing as they had
Langston Hughes’ poem, “Dream Boogie” dramatizes the double consciousness of an African-American. It shows that even during a time of happiness, such as the Harlem Renaissance, an African-American still experiences pain and despair due to the negative impact of race relations. The poem also depicts the limitations that include the inability to succeed one’s dream and the disappointment of not reaching equality. There are two speakers in the poem. The main speaker is well aware of his positon in life as an African American.
Paul Laurence Dunbar's poem, "We Wear the Mask," delivers a poignant message in fifteen brief lines. On one hand, the poem pays tribute to the historical struggles of African-Americans. Specifically, Dunbar explores the thought that many African-Americans disguised their true feelings during the racially tumultuous period between the end of the Civil War and the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement. His moving words suggest that the African-American community of this time often wore "the mask that grins and lies" to avoid drawing unwanted attention to themselves.
The most influential movement in African American literary history, which contributed the phase of the “New Negro”, is known as The Harlem Renaissance. This movement played a pivotal role in creating a different identity for the black culture (History.com). Emerging in the 1920s, The Harlem Renaissance allowed black writers, artists, photographers, scholars, poets, and musicians to express their talents Part of the foundations of the movement was the Great Migration of African Americans from South to North, drastically expanding their knowledge and socioeconomic opportunities. Certainly the movement was more than literary, for having such a proximate relation to civil rights, the “New Negro” demanded civil and political privileges. Additionally, it had a revitalizing influence for African Americans to develop race pride; giving such a prestige to their work affected African Americans in a manner of desiring to reconnect with their unwanted African heritage.
These conflicting emotions show that while Douglass is physically free, he is still a slave to fear, insecurity, loneliness, and the looming threat of being forced back into the arms of slavery. Douglass uses figurative language, diction, and repetition to emphasize the conflict between his emotions. Frederick Douglass’s story as told by himself in Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass is still relevant today. The book challenges readers to see slavery as a complex issue, an issue that impacts the oppressed and the oppressor, rather than a one-dimensional issue. Douglass goes beyond the physical impacts of slavery by choosing to recognize the tortured bodies of slaves along with their tortured souls, leading him to wonder what it takes for the soul to experience freedom.
The New Negro Renaissance, more formally known as the Harlem Renaissance, earning it’s name from the 1925 anthology by Alain Locke, had many effects on many people, but it can be best described as a revolution, a cultural uprising where the high level of Black poetry, production and art demanded, and, in turn, received the mainstream appreciation and accolade which it rightly deserved. It is described as the most important and so discussed period in African American literacy, and indeed twentieth century literacy as a whole. Black poets felt segregating in their writing, and forced into the inforced, repressive form of the western white poets of the time. With their writing founded upon tribal, native songs full of pride and passion, the migration to a set form imposed upon them left a stale taste, a further example of how black people were repressed, not allowed to
Immersed in passion for art, growing acceptance of the black community, and a booming economy, Harlem, New York was enduring the 1920’s era what is now known be the Harlem Renaissance. The Harlem Renaissance is not only responsible for the roots of black culture in the United States, but it stood as an advocate for African American rights. Every artistic media was flourishing with ideas of equality among the races; things such as poetry, songs, and stories flooded the minds of the American people and paved the way for change. By expressing tones of sorrow and imprisonment, poets such as Paul Laurence Dunbar were able to inspire their readers by promoting the dire need for a revolution in the minds of the American people.
The Harlem Renaissance had many sources in black culture, originally of the United States and the Caribbean. As its capital harlem was a role model for artistic experimentation and a popular site. Its location helped give the “New Negroes” guidance and opportunities for publication they couldn't find anywhere else . Harlem is located just north of central park, it was a formerly white residential district, but by the early 1920s it was becoming a black city of Manhattan. New York City had an extraordinarily diverse and decentred black social world in which no one group could monopolize cultural authority.
Music was a critical part in the U. S civil rights movement, as it 's for social movements around the world. Freedom songs gave African-American people, new courage and a sense of unity. Suzanne Smith, author of "Dancing in the Street: Motown and the Cultural Politics of Detroit" stated that "Singing in a group helps remind people that they are not alone." Often songs within the movement were subjects by events that occurred within that era such as, Aretha Franklin "Respect," Blue Mitchell "March on Selma" and Bob Marley "Redemption Song. " The music draws direct inspiration from the movement whilst expressing the moral urgency of the struggle.
Bringing intellectual stimulation through his invigorating works, Claude McKay was recognized to be one of the most inspirational figures during the Harlem Renaissance. McKay served to be a model for blacks, especially those who suffered the tortures of slavery in America. Poems, short-written books as well as novels were representatives of his art. From the application of skill and a bit of imagination the writings he expressed revealed real events that spurred the movement of reviving black cultural identity.
Beginning in the pre-Revolutionary War period, African American writers have engaged in a visionary, yet petulant, dialogue with American letters. The result became African American literature that is prosperous; thereby developing a social insight to their personal experiences and history. Although men are predominantly recognized in history for being well educated and powerful, women have played a great part in shaping America to what it is today. Phillis Wheatley, and Maria W. Stewart, were true Christian African American women that have portrayed historical events though literature. Wheatley and Stewart hold similar ideals for African Americans, however, their personalities are profoundly different.
All the composers, artists, musicians, and poets introduced new ideas in ways of expressing their pride in their race and culture. The Harlem Renaissance was the general notion where it was the time for African Americans to take their place the society and contribute their way of culture. Art in the time of the Harlem Renaissance often presented usage of bold colors displayed in an expressionist manner. Work from most artists would portray African Americans dancing, dining playing music, or engaging in what seems to be amusing festivities.
Americans understand the Harlem Renaissance to be a time in recent United States history during which African art came to life and made strides in improving the African Americans’ reputations and involvement in American politics and economy. It was during this same time that we see tremendous development in African American children’s literature, as its use shifted from entertaining yet degrading to instrumental in the development of the New Negro. Research on the children alive during the Harlem Renaissance and the less popular “ ‘centrality of the children’ to the movement as an ‘ideological center point of the New Negro’, ” reveals that African Americans involved children in the Harlem Renaissance and the New Negro movement more historians