The trials and tribulations of the Harlem Renaissance The Harlem Renaissance, also referred to as The New Negro, was a period of newfound artistic and social freedom for African Americans beginning in the early sass and ending in the early sass. The renaissance served to create a consciousness of identity for African Americans, while also forcing white Americans to confront the importance of the ethnics. The creation of the New Negro in Harlem represented the liberation of the last vestiges of slavery. In the years to follow after
World War 1, Harem’s population was almost entirely black. The Harlem Renaissance period marked the beginning of a vital part of African American history in the United States. Harlem Renaissance, the cultural explosion of Jazz, dance, film, poetry and art that swept this country, Western Europe and the Caribbean 75 years ago, is getting its first major retrospective in this country. “It explores the Harlem Renaissance not as a phenomenon confined to a few square miles of Manhattan, but as an historical moment of global significance,” says the foreword to the catalogue.
During the early 20th century, three quarters of a million African Americans escaped the economic deprivation of the south and migrated northward to urban cities in a desperate attempt to find good Jobs and economic security, while also hoping to find a more racially tolerant society. 175,000 African Americans settled in New York City. The Harlem Renaissance opened doors for African Americans after the great migration, and paved the way for many opportunities. Youths) During this era African Americans for the first time had a real reason to experience pride and rejoice in their ewe found identity. Much of the literature, art, and music emerging during the first half of the 20th century came from African Americans, even though people of all races and cultures were involved. On the May, 1925 editorial page of The Crisis, W. E. B. Dubos hailed an unprecedented blossoming of black literature in America and pledged the services of his office to its perpetuation.
We shall stress Beauty,” he wrote; “all beauty, but especially the beauty of Negro life and character; its music, its dancing, its drawing and painting, and the new birth of its literature. ” To me this earns he wants his readers to look at how different cultures represent their way of life. Longboats Hughes was one of the major black writers to emerge from this era. Hughes was a great writer with much diversity in his writings, such as, plays novels, poems, essays, and much more. Harlem was like a great magnet for the Negro intellectual,” wrote Longboats Hughes, “pulling him from everywhere. ” Meaning blacks were coming from many parts of the country (34). “If white people are pleased we are glad, if they are not, it doesn’t matter” (34) In his opinion if white people didn’t except the blacks it didn’t matter because they were experiencing some new found freedom. James Weldon Johnson was an iconic figure in the initiation of the Harlem Renaissance both as a writer and editor.
The recent appearance of “the Negro author” on the list of the best publishers and the best sellers must seem “a novelty, a strange phenomenon, and a miracle straight out of the skies. ” Something you wouldn’t think possible or a rare occasion, or unexpected Monsoons 315). “To the general American public,” James Weldon Johnson claimed in his 1928 essay. Double audience makes road hard for Negro Authors. ” When the audience is of mixed races, it could be more difficult to impress the white population. 315) Johnson had one main purpose in writing the Black Manhattan, to show where the new nation and modernism originated from. Henry Louis Gates Jar. , says that “it is difficult not to recognize the signs that African Americans are in the midst of a cultural renaissance. ” Blacks were struggling to be acknowledged by whites and hoping to be able to express their beliefs in all aspects. (807) Gates notes that the new Negro Ritter held Harlem up as a wondrous cultural center, even as it was turning into the great American slum. An area of a city in which the housing is typically in very bad conditions, has lower standards, and usually over populated. (807) A major luminary of the Harlem Renaissance was Zorn Neal Hurst, a grand dame of the so called incinerating, a group of black writers who rejected the notion of the racial struggle as the sole mission of the black elite. OBOE Foundation 52) Carl Van Bechtel was a famous writer during the Harlem Renaissance.
He was known to have frequent, lavish arties that were almost always interracial. 462) Van Vestments friends describe his parties as white celebrities mingling drunkenly with black writers and artists; on several occasions black entertainers like Paul Robertson, and Taylor Gordon provided musical accompaniment. (462) Van Beechen became, in Nathan Huggins phrase, a “downtown authority on uptown nightlife. ” He was well known and respected in the downtown community (462). When Carl Van Beechen wrote Niger Heaven, the title was considered to be a terrible insult and caused quite a stir, furthermore after its publication the black community participated in vigorous protests. 461) Niger Heaven is a book “springing from emotions other than patronizing sympathy,” according to Johnson, who goes so far as to “wish a Negro had written it. ” Maybe in his opinion the title was racial and condescending to blacks. (463) Rolling Lynda Hart , a writer for The Independent wrote, “when we get possession of Africa,” a Negro said to me in Harlem the other day, “we are going to build a civilization so splendid that white women will blacken their faces and frizz their hair. ” In The
Independent, a 20th century magazine wrote an article on Harlem. The magazine explains that Negroes had opened several kinds of businesses. The creative minds behind the Harlem Renaissance used artistic expression to make a significant impact on all aspects of society, while also endowing African American with the first sense of identity not defined by slavery. (121) Although generally considered an African American literacy movement, the Harlem Renaissance extended beyond books and poetry to embrace art, dance, and music. A spirit of regeneration among black
Americans, especially those living in northern cities, was evidenced in a variety of ways in the early 20th century. The Harlem Renaissance produced novelists, poets, artists, and musicians who are today considered some of the finest that America ever produced, regardless of race. That, in fact, may be the ultimate achievement of the Harlem Renaissance. Prior to this era, the representations of African Americans in American literature were that of the illiterate and inferior peasant who made his living in the soil of the cotton fields. Although the emergence of the Harlem