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The Harlem Renaissance - Essay Example

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The Harlem Renaissance

The Harlem Renaissance took place in the 1920's mostly in the Harlem district of New York city, an area of three square miles where the African-Americans converged after the World War I. The Africa-Americans from the South were attracted towards the better economic opportunities and the more tolerant attitudes in the North, and especially in New York, and settled down in Harlem to form some of the most concentrated of African-American communities in existence today. Those African-Americans already settled in New York soon gravitated to this area, attracted by the buzz of new music, new art, and new possibilities.
Douglas defines exactly what the writers, poets, musicians as well as visual and performing artists of the period were able to create, because all the angst, anguish and lyricism of the African-Americans poured out in their artistic and intellectual expressions. They told the story of African-Americans from the African-American perspective. The common themes of literary, musical and artistic works of the period were alienation, segregation, the common usage and appreciation of folk material, the reinforcement of the blues tradition, and a general air of optimism.
and in it he described Harlem Renaissance as a "spiritual coming of age", wherein the African-American population was able to co...
Magazines like Crisis, published by W. E. B. Du Bois and urged racial pride among African Americans, and Opportunity, published by the National Urban League encouraged the blossoming of sophisticated and highly original African-American literature, and also a certain degree of pride in being an African-American. A lot of this was possible also because of the popularity of things African-American amongst a big section of the whites, who were fascinated by the influx of African-American talent.

One of the most important and well-researched aspects of the Harlem Renaissance is the literature born in the period amongst the African-Americans of Harlem. Writers like Arna Bontemps, Langston Hughes, Claude McKay, Countee Cullen, James Weldon Johnson, Zora Neale Hurston, Rudolph Fisher, and Jean Toomer produced a body of work that was both intensive as well as extensive in scope.

Writers like Langspon Hughes made an immediate and lasting impact. Hughes left behind him a huge body of work, that included twelve volumes of poetry, as well as various works of fiction, drama and history. His work was full of a love of humanity, especially for African-Americans, a warm humor and understanding, and included a strong voice against the segregation of colored people all packaged in a sophisticated style of writing. Some of his works that made him famous are The Big Sea , The Collected Poems of Langston Hughes, The Panther and the Lash, The Ways of White Folks.

Other voices like Claude McKay, whom Hughes admired, were equally passionate in the subjects of romantic love, and a love of the Africa-American people in general, which is evident in some of his ...Show more

Summary

Our problem is to conceive, develop, establish an art era. Not white art painting black.let's bare our arms and plunge them deep through laughter, through pain, through sorrow, through hope, through disappointment, into the very depths of the souls of our people and drag forth material crude, rough, neglected…
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The Harlem Renaissance essay example
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