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The Harlem Renaissance Essay

Harlem Renaissance also known as the New Negro Renaissance evolved in the 1920s, in New York City’s locality called Harlem. “The movement started around 1918, as the American civil war had given the African American people their rights and most of the educated African American citizens then moved to places such as New York City to explore better opportunities” (Huggins & Rampersad, 10). As many educated African Americans settled in various neighborhoods of New York City, areas such as Harlem became hubs of African American cultural and political activities.

At this point, African American literature took on a different level and received critical acclaim; along with African American arts also evolved resulting in various economic and social developments. During this movement many intellectuals even contributed to the struggle of equal rights for all races, such as sociologist, author, civil rights activist and historian W. E. B. Du Bois who co-founded National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).

Movements such as these lifted the stigma and feeling of inequality within the community and help build racial pride amongst African Americans. Harlem Renaissance even saw the rise of Apollo Theatre where many African American artists started off their career such as the famous jazz singer Sarah Vaughan. This movement even gave popularity to Jazz and Blues music, which was widely heard throughout Harlem’s bars and musical theatres.

Novels of Jesse Fauset, fiction of Charles W. Chesnutt, jazz poetry of Langston Hughes and romantic poetry of Countee Cullen are some of the works of literature that received major recognition through the Harlem Renaissance movement. Such a movement did not just enrich the African American culture but gave them an identity, and changed the way America and the whole world perceived African Americans. This newly found identity caused many African Americans to exercise full potential and bring success to themselves and their community.


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