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The Role Of Music In The Harlem Renaissance

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“It [the Harlem Renaissance] was a time of black individualism, a time marked by a vast array of characters whose uniqueness challenged the traditional inability of white Americans to differentiate between blacks.” (Clement Alexander Price). Price’s mentality describes the tradition of American society persecuting African Americans. This reference to tradition forces the audience to consider how this persecution began. African Americans were abducted and forced into slavery. After going through many years of being imprisoned and forced to work, African Americans were emancipated after the Civil War, but they were still not completely free. This lead many African Americans to move to the north where there were more jobs and less oppression.…show more content…
For example, the Harlem Renaissance was a great opportunity for African Americans to express their sadness they had felt as slaves. This was demonstrated by Billie Holiday who sang The Strange Fruit; “Southern Trees bare strange fruit, Blood on the leaves and blood at the root, Black bodies swinging in the southern breeze, Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees….” Instead of directly stating his perspective as a slave, Holiday ties in a lot of emotion by using strange fruit as a symbol of slaves. He also brings in the words “blood” and “black bodies” to symbolize the dark times he had gone through as a slave. This also significantly affected social change in the Harlem renaissance, because it is a very sad and deep side that Americans were not able to experience. Not all music produced in the Harlem Renaissance was about slavery, for many people this was a chance to draw attention to their talents. A great example of this is Josephine Baker, who was a singer in the 1900’s, she brought a lot of singing talents to America. She not only inspired other African American women but her talent had inspired many caucasian women as well. This helped the different races unite and combine cultures, which greatly impacted the social American lives. Progressively, Americans understood more of black
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