Harlem Renaissance (1920-1930s)
What is the Harlem Renaissance?
The Harlem Renaissance was a African American cultural movement that took place in Harlem, NY during the 1920s-1930s, at the end of World War.
This was the first time in American history that mainstream publishers and critics began to take African American literature, and other forms of art, seriously.
How did the Harlem Renaissance start?
To escape segregation in the South, many African Americans moved North to places such as, Harlem, NY (a neighborhood on the Upper West Side of Manhattan)
Throughout the 1920s, more educated blacks moved to the city of Harlem. As the number of blacks increased, whites began to move out, making Harlem the largest black urban community in the world; containing residents from the South, the West Indies, Cuba, Puerto Rico, and Haiti.
Another factor of the Harlem Renaissance was the middle class rise of advocation of black rights, in 1910.
The Growth of African American Art:
African Americans began to strive in the performing arts and develop in musical theater, with the works of songwriter Bob Cole and composer J. Rosamond Johnson.
Songwriter: Bob Cole & Composer: J. Rosamond Johnson
When the blacks moved North, so did the popularity of Jazz and Blues music. These were the sounds that filled the local bars and cabarets of Harlem.
Advances in literature were made in the 1890s, with the poetry of Paul Laurence Dunbar and the fiction works of Charles W. Chesnutt, these were among the earliest to receive national recognition.
African American poet, Claude McKay, and fiction author, James Weldon Johnson, described the reality of black life and America, as well as the struggle for their racial identity at the end of WWI.
Poet: Paul Laurence Dunbar
The Fall of the Harlem Renaissance:
One major factor that led to the decline of the Harlem Renaissance was the Great Depression, during the 1930s-1940s.
The Harlem Renaissance changed the way Americans viewed and criticized African American arts. It allowed critics and spectators to open up to the cultural differences, and proved a base of inspiration for further artists and writers throughout American history.
All photos from Google Images