Harlem Renaissance 1920 – 1940

Resurgence in black culture, also called the New Negro Movement, which took place in the 1920s and early 1930s, primarily in Harlem, a neighborhood of the New York City borough of Manhattan, but also in major cities throughout the USA, such as Chicago, Detroit, St Louis, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Boston, Atlanta, and Washington, DC, as well as in the Caribbean and in Paris Better known as a literary movement because of the publication of twenty-six novels, ten volumes of poetry, five Broadway plays and countless essays and short stories, the Harlem Renaissance (a term that historian John Hope Franklin coined in 1947) also produced many works of visual art, dance, and music The term invokes a rebirth of African American creativity

The Harlem Renaissance was a cultural, social, and artistic explosion that took place in Harlem, New York, spanning the 1920s During the time, it was known as the “New Negro Movement”, named after the 1925 anthology by Alain Locke The Movement also included the new African-American cultural expressions across the urban areas in the Northeast and Midwest United States affected by the African-American Great Migration, of which Harlem was the largest The Harlem Renaissance was considered to be a rebirth of African-American arts Though it was centered in the Harlem neighborhood of the borough of Manhattan in New York City, many francophone black writers from African and Caribbean colonies who lived in Paris were also influenced by the Harlem Renaissance

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The Harlem Renaissance is generally considered to have spanned from about 1918 until the mid-1930s Many of its ideas lived on much longer The zenith of this “flowering of Negro literature”, as James Weldon Johnson preferred to call the Harlem Renaissance, took place between 1924 (when Opportunity: A Journal of Negro Life hosted a party for black writers where many white publishers were in attendance) and 1929 (the year of the stock market crash and the beginning of the Great Depression)

The Harlem Renaissance was successful in that it brought the Black experience clearly within the corpus of American cultural history Not only through an explosion of culture, but on a sociological level, the legacy of the Harlem Renaissance redefined how America, and the world, viewed African Americans The migration of southern Blacks to the north changed the image of the African American from rural, undereducated peasants to one of urban, cosmopolitan sophistication This new identity led to a greater social consciousness, and African Americans became players on the world stage, expanding intellectual and social contacts internationally

The Harlem Renaissance helped lay the foundation for the post-World War II protest movement of the Civil Rights Movement Moreover, many black artists who rose to creative maturity afterward were inspired by this literary movement

The Renaissance was more than a literary or artistic movement, as it possessed a certain sociological development—particularly through a new racial consciousness—through ethnic pride, as seen in the Back to Africa movement led by Marcus Garvey At the same time, a different expression of ethnic pride, promoted by W E B Du Bois, introduced the notion of the “talented tenth”: the African Americans who were fortunate enough to inherit money or property or obtain a college degree during the transition from Reconstruction to the Jim Crow period of the early twentieth century These “talented tenth” were considered the finest examples of the worth of black Americans as a response to the rampant racism of the period