During the era of the Harlem Renaissance, a variety of different magnificent poets utilized poetry to express the feelings and pain that was inflicted upon them during that time period. A long time after the African Americans gained freedom and rights they still suffered. The Harlem Renaissance was a very crucial point in American history. People struggled to break down the racial barriers that were commonly associated with the Jim Crow laws. Many African Americans ought to express themselves through art and literature to exercise their rights.
The Harlem Renaissance was a phase of a larger New Negro Movement that had arisen in the early 20th century and in some ways ushered in the civil rights movement of the late 1940s and the early 1950s. The social foundations of this movement included the Great Migration of the African Americans, from rural to urban spaces, and the dramatically advancement of literacy. The creation of national organizations dedicated to helping African American civil rights, and “uplifting” the race by developing race pride. The Renaissance was a literary, artistic, and meaningful movement that sparked a new black cultural identity that lasted until the 1920s to the mid 1930s. Essence summed up by critic and teacher Alain Locke in 1926 when he declared that through art “Negro life is seizing its first chances for group expression and self determination”.
The Harlem Renaissance, or the New Negro Movement as it was known at the time, was an intellectual, artistic, and social outpouring that celebrated black culture with themes of what it meant to be black in America. This movement lasted from the 1920s through the 1930s and included artists and intellectuals such as Langston Hughes, W.E.B. DuBois, and Duke Ellington. The Harlem Renaissance went beyond art, literature, and music, there were also political, social, and economic aspects as African-Americans questioned how the United States viewed them and how they viewed themselves. The New Negro and the rise of Harlem came about at a time when African-Americans began to urbanize and form a unique urban culture.
Starting off writing mostly about his Jamaican homeland, he moved to the United States for college. After being in the United States for about five years and experiencing social injustices African Americans endured , he published two sonnets in 1917, “The Harlem Dancer” and “Invocation," and later began using that form of writing to write about social and political concerns from his perspective as a black man in the United States (Poets.org). His viewpoints and poetic achievements in the earlier part of the twentieth century set the tone for the Harlem Renaissance and gained the deep respect of younger black poets of the time, including Langston Hughes. Just like Hughes, McKay incorporated many themes that were at the core of the Harlem Renaissance into his writing. One example of his work that shows this is the poem, Enslaved.
Blacks have served and died in defense of their adopted homeland. The individuals that make up the whole of the black population, have offered up their talents to forward the cause of peace and prosperity in America. Langston hughes is a famous american poet, who emphasises on the topic of black inequality in most of his works.besides owning the title of a beloved American poet, Hughes considered himself a social activist, novelist, playwright, and columnist from Joplin, Missouri. Hughes innovated the then-new literary art form called jazz
However, the discussion of African American culture isn’t limited to the 1920s. Paul Laurence Dunbar showed the potential struggles of being African American in his poem “We Wear the Mask”, written fifty-five years prior to “Dream Deferred”. Both poems share similar tones and themes. “Dream Deferred” by Langston Hughes can serve as a sequel to “We Wear the Mask” by Paul Laurence Dunbar through displaying a cause and effect relationship which highlights the strength of neglect and disguises.
The Harlem Renaissance was the movement of African American culture. Some of the significant subjects were music, literature, poem, and art. The poets Langston Hughes and Claude McKay were some of the most influential poets from the renaissance. The poems “The Harlem Dancer” by Claude McKay and “I, Too” by Langston Hughes will be used to compare and show how two poems form the same era could be similar yet different based on their subject, purpose, style, tone, and rhythm. “I, Too” creates the world where people are treated equally.
African Americans lived in a world of racial injustices and cultural restrictions until the Harlem Renaissance. The Harlem Renaissance was a time where there is an African American literary and art movement in the uptown Manhattan neighborhood. It is the turning point in African American culture, as well as their place in America. The African Americans were starting to become equal in American society. While the Renaissance built on earlier traditions of African American culture, it was greatly affected by the trends of the Europeans and white Americans.
One writer of the Harlem Renaissance was Langston Hughes.Hughes cast off the influences of white poets and and used blues and jazz to write his poems. Claude Mckay urged African Americans to stand up for their rights in his work. Jean Toomer wrote plays,short stories, and poems to capture the spirit of his times. Zora Neale Hurston was noticed quickly with her moving novel, “THEIR EYES WERE WATCHING GOD”. In conclusion these were some of the people that changed African American traditions for the better.
He worked to help other African American artists find employment, as it was difficult to do so considering that “with this rebirth of traditional African culture, the number of African American artists rapidly increased” (1). This source will be extremely critical throughout the development of my thesis as it entails the story of Aaron Douglas, the artist of Aspects of Negro Life, and also a description of what the Harlem Renaissance is. This source is reliable as it is published through e-Vision at James Madison