Marcus Garveyism In The Harlem Renaissance

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In the early 1900s, particularly in the 1920s, African-American literature, art, music, dance, and social commentary began to flourish in Harlem, a section of New York City. The Harlem Renaissance exalted the unique culture of African-Americans and redefined their expression (Young). The area soon became a sophisticated literary and artistic center; however, issues such as the relationship between the Renaissance and mainstream American culture were exceedingly apparent. The process of how the white people influenced the Harlem Renaissance have not been explored to the same degree. Many of the struggles present in the Harlem Renaissance occurred because it was a time of great change and marked a convergence of vastly different ideologies (Hutchinson).…show more content…
Garvey was a Jamaican political leader, publisher, journalist, entrepreneur, orator, and immigrant to the United States (Garvey and Hill 13). The movement known as Garveyism was all about crafting the new politics of a “new negro.” During World War I and the 1920s, his Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) was the largest black secular organization in African-American history. A million men and women from the United States, the Caribbean, and Africa belonged to the association (Cotman 57). Along with Du Bois, he combined the economic nationalist ideas of Booker T. Washington and Pan-Africanists, along with the political possibilities and urban style of men and women living outside of plantation and colonial societies. Garvey’s ideas developed among the social upheavals, anticolonial movements, and revolutions of World War I, which demonstrated the power of popular mobilization to change structures of power (Garvey and Hill 55). This mass movement is very much a race-first philosophy that is attractive to colored people across all class locations. Garvey’s movement was the first black attempt to join modern urban goals and mass organization. Marcus Garvey had demonstrated to them that the urban masses were a potentially powerful force in the struggle for African American freedom. Both the…show more content…
Jazz flouted many musical conventions with its syncopated rhythms and improvised instrumental solos. Improvisation meant that no two performances would ever be the same (Green). Thousands of city dwellers flocked night after night to see the same performers. Harlem's Cotton Clubs boasted the talents of Duke Ellington. Singers such as Bessie Smith and Billie Holiday popularized blues and jazz vocals. Jelly Roll Morton and Louis Armstrong drew huge audiences as white Americans as well as African Americans caught jazz fever (Kallen 13). The continuing hardships faced by African Americans in the Deep South and the urban North were severe, it took the environment of the new American city to bring in close proximity some of the greatest minds of the day. Harlem brought notice to great works that might otherwise have been lost or never produced. The results were phenomenal; the artists of the Harlem Renaissance undoubtedly transformed African American culture. But the impact on all of American culture was equally strong. For the first time, white America could not look away from their vast improvement in music, literature, and the
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