The Harlem Renaissance Essay

1556 words - 7 pages

The Harlem Renaissance
Chapter 1

     Harlem Renaissance, an African American cultural movement of the 1920s and early 1930s that was centered in the Harlem neighborhood of New York City. According to Wintz:
The Harlem Renaissance was “variously known as the New Negro movement, the New Negro Renaissance, and the Negro Renaissance, the movement emerged toward the end of World War I in 1918, blossomed in the mid- to late 1920s, and then withered in the mid-1930s. The Harlem Renaissance marked the first time mainstream publishers, critics took African American literature seriously, and that African American literature and arts attracted significant ...view middle of the document...

Championing the agenda were black historian and sociologist W. E. B. Du Bois and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), which was founded in 1909 to advance the rights of blacks. This agenda was also reflected in the efforts of Jamaican-born Black Nationalist Marcus Garvey, whose “Back to Africa” movement inspired racial pride among blacks in the United States (11).”
In this article, Porter makes it clear that blacks were determined to press forward as a people.

Chapter 3
What works or events had a great impact on the Harlem Renaissance?
     In the early 1920s, three works signaled the new creative energy in African American literature. McKay’s volume of poetry, Harlem Shadows (1922), became one of the first works by a black writer to be published by a mainstream, national publisher (Harcourt, Brace and Company). Cane (1923), by Jean Toomer, was an experimental novel that combined poetry and prose in documenting the life of American blacks in the rural South and urban North (Andrews 4). Finally, There Is Confusion (1924), the first novel by writer and Editor Jessie Fauset, depicted middle-class life among black Americans from a woman’s perspective (Andrews 4).

     According to Bassett, these early works as the foundation and three events between 1924 and 1926 launched the Harlem Renaissance.
First, on March 21, 1924, Charles S. Johnson of the National Urban League hosted a dinner to recognize the new literary talent in the black community and to introduce the young writers to New York’s white literary establishment. The National Urban League was founded in 1910 to help black Americans address the economic and social problems they encountered as they resettled in the urban North . Because of this dinner, The Survey Graphic, a magazine of social analysis and criticism that was interested in cultural pluralism, produced a Harlem issue in March 1925. Devoted to defining the artistic ness of black literature and art, the Harlem issue featured work by black writers and was edited by black philosopher and literary scholar Alain Leroy Locke. The second event was the publication of Nigger Heaven (1926) by white novelist Carl Van Vechten. The book was a spectacularly popular exposé of Harlem life. Although the book offended some members of the black community, its coverage of both the elite and the baser side of Harlem helped create a “Negro vogue” that drew thousands of sophisticated New Yorkers, black and white, to Harlem’s exotic and exciting nightlife and stimulated a national market for African American literature and music. Finally, in the autumn of 1926 a group of young black writers produced Fire!!, their own literary magazine. With Fire!! A new generation of young writers and artists, including Langston Hughes, Wallace Thurman, and Zora Neale Hurston, took ownership of the literary Renaissance (7).

Chapter 4
What were some themes or ideas of the Harlem Renaissance?
     No common literary...

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