Presentation on theme: "T HE H ARLEM R ENAISSANCE BY: MUNA MOHAMOUD T HE H ARLEM R ENAISSANCE : W HAT W AS I T ? The Harlem Renaissance was a period from the end of WWI until."— Presentation transcript:
T HE H ARLEM R ENAISSANCE : W HAT W AS I T ? The Harlem Renaissance was a period from the end of WWI until the beginning of the 1930s when African American culture flourished through the work of writers, artists, musicians, and intellectuals. The Great Migration of hundreds of blacks to the North looking for job opportunities “contributed greatly to this movement of black culture.” Starting in sections of New York City, the “New Negro Movement” initiated a change in literature forever (IHAS).
Some of the leading writers include Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, and Countee Cullen. The most prominent leader during the Harlem Renaissance was W.E.B. Du Bois. His work with the N.A.A.C.P helped bring voices to the many African Americans about their rights and liberties. Many novels, poetry, paintings, songs, essays, and sculptures by African Americans “displayed their African culture and their desire for equality in America.” Some common themes consisted of alienation, marginality, the use of folk material, and the use of blues tradition (Congress).
These works also “probed the black American heritage with a psychological intensity and fierce pride.” As the Great Depression began to hit hard on America, the Harlem Renaissance began to fade, and as the US entered the Second World War, African Americans continued to face discrimination and segregation (PAL).
T HE H ARLEM R ENAISSANCE : P OLITICAL C ONTRIBUTIONS “ Aside from being the center for artistic and religious movements,” the Harlem Renaissance had many political implications to it as well. Famous debates and well-known political leaders came out of this time period. Some celebrated leaders included Marcus Garvey and W.E.B. Du Bois.
Marcus Garvey, founder of the “Universal Negro Improvement Association,” was well-known for his ideas on black rights and Pan-African sentiments (Harlem). He believed Africa should become a harbor from slavery and “that the Black race had been the victims of a Black Diaspora.” His thoughts and ideas became known as Garveyism.
Another influential leader was W.E.B. Du Bois. He was a renowned black politician. He was the founder of the N.A.A.C.P, or the National Association for the Advancement for Colored People. His work with black rights and liberties gave him an edge during the Harlem Renaissance (Jackson). His philosophy was that “blacks must be integrated in society and not segregated.” He has written many books devoted to the African American cause.
Despite the fact that slavery has come to an end due to the Emancipation Proclamation, many political debates and social conditions during the Harlem Renaissance suggested that the struggle for freedom is far from over. Themes such as Pan-Africanism, Communism, and Separation vs. Integration have started to show during the Harlem Renaissance (W.E.B.).
T HE H ARLEM R ENAISSANCE : S OCIETY AND I TS P EOPLE The Emancipation Proclamation, declared by Abraham Lincoln in 1863, came only sixty years before the Harlem Renaissance. The history of slavery was “not far from the minds of the people in the country.” The spread of new culture facilitated a growth of African American tradition in society. The “Southern Diaspora” was a major event that reflected the Harlem Renaissance. This was a massive “displacement and migration of southern Blacks from the south to the industrialized north” in search of new jobs and opportunities and social acceptance (Harlem).
Despite the want for racial equality, blacks were still discriminated against. This led to distinctive African American communities and neighborhoods in the north. Some cities like Harlem, Chicago, Flint, and New York had large populations of blacks (Brief). The new populous black public developed large social networks, publications, and organizations; “this development allowed for the continued spread of cultural and political ideas in Harlem.”
Although racism was still seen in the north, blacks “never felt more free than they did in Harlem.” They were hired to the same factory and industrial jobs that whites were. They also received higher wages and better conditions than they did in the south. The standard of living had definitely improved for blacks in the north (IHAS).
T HE H ARLEM R ENAISSANCE : T HE R ELIGIOUS E LEMENT The Harlem Renaissance encouraged new creativity thinking and religious ideals in Christianity for African Americans. New mega-churches, new cults, and religious nationalists came about as an effect of the new African voice. As a result, the neo- orthodox approach rather than traditional Christianity started to become rather popular. Sermons became very emotional and people started becoming involved in more religious/spiritual activities. (Harlem)
The social gospel movement spread to African Americans societies during the Harlem Renaissance. The black church became a very important institution in their lives. It became a place for them to speak about their struggles of equality and to hear well-known orators speak about their cause. (Renaissance) A new spirit established by an “optimistic faith encouraged African Americans to celebrate their unique culture” (Educational).
People like Thomas A. Dorsey created new religious hymns and music. This type of song became known as Gospel Music. Dorsey’s religious tunes became so popular, “many cited him as the Father of Gospel.” Many original plays and theater musicals also displayed African American religious themes. Though most blacks were segregated in theaters, African American actors and actresses represented their heritage and culture through the art of theater (Brief).
T HE H ARLEM R ENAISSANCE : A N A RTISTIC V IEW The Harlem Renaissance was defined as a period of creative literature due to “an unprecedented outburst of creative activity among black writers.” The wide amount of new literary works displayed African American heritage and their unique culture (Jackson). A mass of new young black writers, performers, artists, and singers migrated to the northern American cities like New York, Chicago, and Washington D.C.
Some of these people include Langston Hughes, Countee Cullen, Zora Neale Hurston, Claude Mckay (Harlem). Many of the themes in their works included “alienation and marginality.” Poems such as “I Dream a World” by Langston Hughes showcased the want of equality in America for blacks. African American music like jazz and blues gospel also came about during the Harlem Renaissance.
The deep soul found in their music attracted both black and white audiences. Performers like Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington created a new evolution of music in America that “invoked the deepest emotions sometimes without saying a word.” African American music could be heard in the new places like the 1920 nightclubs, the Apollo Theater and the Cotton Club. These latest places for leisure helped extend the widespread phenomenon of black entertainment (The Harlem).