African-American History Since 1877 Research Paper

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African-American Studies

Harlem Renaissance

The Harlem Renaissance is a cultural movement that began during the second decade of the 20th century, also known as the "New Negro Movement." The Harlem Renaissance came about as a result of a series of changes in American society during the time. One major turning point during this period of American history was the significant changes in the American population. Reconstruction was over; the country began its attempts at a stoic integration. Yet during this period, numerous American blacks migrated around the country. Many moved into urban areas on the coast and the Midwest. Reconstruction was not the end of transition and turbulence for American and for African-Americans. The 19th century closed with a mixed sentiment of uncertainty and of hope. There was great potential for African-Americans to make further strides and changes for civil rights, education, and creative expression. The 20th century saw surges in global immigration to the states and the industrial revolution. There continued to be opportunities and great barriers for African-Americans during this period, many of which culminated in the social, literary, artistic, and cultural movement known as the Harlem Renaissance, centered in the neighborhood of Harlem in Manhattan.

African-Americans flourished for the first time out from under formalized, institutional slavery and the Harlem Renaissance ensued during this period. The Harlem Renaissance was an important aspect of American history and to African-American history specifically.
The Harlem Renaissance took place during the first few decades of the 20th century, particularly after the first world war. Though it is named after Harlem, an area of New York City, Manhattan island, the spirit of this artistic, literary and cultural expansion spread across the United States and Europe. Some of the most prominent members of the Harlem Renaissance traveled and flourished in Europe, then returned to the states to rejuvenate and invigorate the African-American community and in turn American culture. Major participants were novelists, musicians, poets, dancers, singers, and political leaders. Some of the noted participants of the Harlem Renaissance include W.E.B. Du Bois, Richard Wright, Ralph Ellison, Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, James Baldwin, Dorothy West, Bessie Smith, Ma Rainey and many more.

Langston Hughes wrote a poem, "Dream Deferred" that asks what happens to a dream when it is deferred as a metaphor to describe the experience of being African-American in America and dreaming of freedom and equality. His poetry "redefined the black race attitude." (, 2011) Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man communicates the transitional culture of America during the first half of the 20th century. We experience the world through the eyes of a young black man arbitrarily mistreated by the world because of his race and not his character. Marian Anderson's body of work includes European operas and traditional African songs. She….....

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