The Harlem Renaissance - American History II with Ms. Byrne
The Harlem Renaissance The Harlem Renaissance African American culture began to flourish in the 1920s, especially in Harlem, a subsection of Manhattan, in New York City This era of change and growth is referred to as the Harlem Renaissance The Harlem Renaissance helped give a new vocabulary and dynamic to race relations
in the United States Migrants Face Challenges and Experience Chances Wages in northern cities were far better than want a sharecropper could earn in the South African Americans also started to experience a growing political voice in the North There was a growing middle and upper class of
blacks in those cities Migrants Face Challenges and Experience Chances However, the North still displayed plenty of discrimination and oppression They were forced to take the worst housing and received the lowest wages New York Citys Harlem became a focal point for the aspirations of hundreds
of thousands of blacks Garvey Calls for Racial Pride Marcus Garvey, born in Jamaica, travelled widely before immigrating to the United States in 1916 He observed that blacks were exploited all around the world He promoted the idea of universal black nationalism and organized a back to Africa movement Garvey advocated a separation of the races, unlike Du Bois and Washington By the mid-1920s his Universal Negro
Improvement Association had almost 2.5 million members and sympathizers Eventually his movement fell apart when he was jailed for mail fraud and deported to Jamaica The Jazz Age The term jazz age was coined by F. Scott Fitzgerald and refers to the changing culture of the 1920s However, jazz itself was created by African American musicians Jazz is a musical form based on
improvisation, combining elements from blues, ragtime, and European-based popular music First emerged in the South, particularly New Orleans, and followed African Americans north in the Great Migration Jazz Gains Popularity Louis Armstrong became the unofficial leader of the jazz movement with his masterful playing of the trumpet and subtle sense of improvisation
Bessie Smith became a very popular female jazz vocalist who earned the nickname Empress of the Blues Jazz was played in speakeasies all over the country, eventually gaining popularity all over the world Jazz Gains Popularity Duke Ellington coined the term swing in his hit song It Dont Mean a Thing if it Aint Got
that Swing Jazz began to bridge the gap between the races with success from white jazz musicians George Gershwin, Cole Porter, and Irving Berlin African American Literature In the 1920s, the term New Negro emerged suggesting a radical break with the past No longer with African
Americans silently endure the old ways of exploitation and discrimination African American novelists, essayists, poets, and journalists became attracted to this new attitude in Harlem African American Literature Jean Toomers Cane (1923), a collection of short stories, poems, and sketches, set the tone for the Harlem Renaissance with its presentation of African American
culture Claude McKay, a Jamaican immigrant, became a leader in African American literature with his novels and poems which showed ordinary black Americans struggling for dignity and advancement African American Literature Langston Hughes was one of the most powerful voices of the Harlem Renaissance For Hughes, the movement was not political, but instead was a celebration of African American culture and life
Hughes published more than 50 works in which he captured the remarkable diversity of everyday African American life Zora Neale Hurston traveled the rural back roads for her native Florida, collecting folk tales Her 1937 novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God, expressed the new longing for independence felt by many women of the 1920s Dreams Langston Hughes Hold fast to dreams For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird That cannot fly. Hold fast to dreams For when dreams go Life is a barren field Frozen with snow. Harlem (Dreams Deferred) What happens to a dream deferred? Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun? Or fester like a sore And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat? Or crust and sugar over like a syrupy sweet? Maybe it just sags like a heavy load. Or does it explode? Their Eyes Were Watching God Ships at a distance have every mans wish on board. For some they come in with the tide. For others they sail forever on the horizon, never out of sight, never landing until the Watcher turns his eyes away in resignation, his dreams mocked to death by Time. That is the
life of men. Now, women forget all those things they dont want to remember, and remember everything they dont want to forget. The dream is the truth. Then they act and do things accordingly. Lasting Impact of the Harlem Renaissance The Harlem Renaissance gave a voice to African Americans that was never seen before It altered the way many white Americans viewed African American culture The Harlem Renaissance ended with the national financial collapse and also ended the
nations decade of prosperity However, the sense of identity created continued to grow throughout the entirety of the 20th century, becoming the foundation of the civil rights movement
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