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The collection that follows offers a sampling of poetry published during this period, along with essays by and about Harlem Renaissance writers and audio recordings and discussions of their work. You can also browse all of our Harlem Renaissance poets here. These years marked the beginning of the Great Migration, a period between to during which millions of African Americans migrated from the South to the North to flee the economic exploitation that accompanied life as a Southern sharecropper or tenant farmer, as well as violent and pervasive racism.

They sought well-paying industrial jobs left vacant in the wake of World War I, which cut off cheap immigrant labor from Europe and induced white American laborers to join the armed forces. More than , African Americans settled in Harlem alone. The literary aspect of the Harlem Renaissance is said to have begun with a dinner at the Civic Club celebrating African American writers.

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The likes of Countee Cullen and W. DuBois mingled with members of the white literary establishment, and doors opened: Even before the Civic Club dinner, writers associated with the Harlem Renaissance were publishing important early works. Yet the economic boom that had allowed African American culture to flourish in the s was about to end. In October , a stock market crash sparked what is now known as the Great Depression.

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African American artists saw their audiences and support dwindle as budgets and disposable incomes shrank. Though scholars hold differing views as to when the Harlem Renaissance ended, some point to the Harlem race riot of as a bookend to the movement. When rumors circulated that police had murdered a black Puerto Rican teenager for stealing a ten-cent pocket knife from a local store, more than 10, people took to the streets in Harlem.

The protests soon turned violent and resulted in three deaths, arrests, and more than two million dollars in property damage.

A New African American Identity: The Harlem Renaissance

Other economic factors brought changes to Harlem, and many residents moved away from the area. Prose Home Harriet Blog. Visit Home Events Exhibitions Library.

History Brief: The Harlem Renaissance

An Introduction to the Harlem Renaissance. Tracing the poetic work of this crucial cultural and artistic movement. We younger Negro artists who create now intend to express our individual dark-skinned selves without fear or shame. If white people are pleased we are glad.

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We know we are beautiful. If We Must Die. Joy in the Woods. The Heart of a Woman. Appeared in Poetry Magazine A Dream. To One Coming North. The Great Migration drew to Harlem some of the greatest minds and brightest talents of the day, an astonishing array of African American artists and scholars. Yet this cultural explosion also occurred in Cleveland, Los Angeles and many cities shaped by the great migration. The Harlem Renaissance encompassed poetry and prose, painting and sculpture, jazz and swing, opera and dance.

Harlem Renaissance

At the height of the movement, Harlem was the epicenter of American culture. The neighborhood bustled with African American-owned and run publishing houses and newspapers, music companies, playhouses, nightclubs, and cabarets. As the s came to a close, so did the Harlem Renaissance. Its heyday was cut short largely due to the Stock Market Crash of and resulting Great Depression, which hurt African American-owned businesses and publications and made less financial support for the arts available from patrons, foundations, and theatrical organizations.

The movement brought notice to the great works of African American art, and inspired and influenced future generations of African American artists and intellectuals. The self-portrait of African American life, identity, and culture that emerged from Harlem was transmitted to the world at large, challenging the racist and disparaging stereotypes of the Jim Crow South.

Harlem Renaissance | Definition, Artists, & Time Period |

In doing so, it radically redefined how people of other races viewed African Americans and understood the African American experience. Most importantly, the Harlem Renaissance instilled in African Americans across the country a new spirit of self-determination and pride, a new social consciousness, and a new commitment to political activism, all of which would provide a foundation for the Civil Rights Movement of the s and s. In doing so, it validated the beliefs of its founders and leaders like Alain Locke and Langston Hughes that art could be a vehicle to improve the lives of the African Americans.

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