Although generally considered an African-American literary movement, the Harlem Renaissance extended far beyond books and poetry to embrace art, dance, and music. 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 their first sense of identity not defined by slavery.
During the early 20th century, three-quarters of a million African-Americans escaped the economic depravation of the South and migrated northward to urban cities in a desperate attempt to find good jobs and economic security and also searching for a more racially tolerant society. 175,000 of these African-Americans settled in New York City (Wintz 15). To attach a stark beginning to the Harlem Renaissance by singling out one particular text is an exercise in futility and bound to spur debate. Black writers had been published since the 19th century, but the differentiation that makes the Harlem Renaissance easily definable as a turning point was the breadth of topics that black writers covered. ...Show more