Harlem Renaissance was a popular cultural movement in the 1920s. During this time, the movement was called the New Negro Movement. It was named after the Alain Locke anthology of 1925. It included new cultural expressions of the African-Americans across urban areas on the Midwest and Northeast United States who Great Migration affected.
Harlem was greatly affected by the migration. However, although the movement was centered at Harlem neighborhoods, it also influenced many black writers from the Caribbean and African colonies living in Paris. Generally, Harlem Renaissance spanned between the 1919 and mid 1930s. Nevertheless, ideas of this movement lived longer even after it ceased to exist.
Harlem Renaissance was an artistic, intellectual and literary movement used to rekindle the cultural identity of the black people in America. Through this movement, Negro life seized the first chance for self determination and group expression. It acted as the center of transformation of social disillusionment, spiritual pride and race pride. Renaissance included visual arts although it excluded Jazz although it emerged at almost the same time.
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At the heart of the movement were Langston Hughes, Jean Toomer, Rudolf Fisher, Jessie Redmon, Wallace Thurman, Arna Bontemps, Nella Larsen, Zora Neale and Countee Cullen. Alain Locke, Charles Johnson and other writers in the older generation acted as the mentors. This movement had great influence on future black writers. Literary establishments ignored it after it waned in 1930s. It acquired greater recognition with the evolution of civil right movements.
Harlem Renaissance achieved its goals because it brought the experience of black people in the corpus of the cultural history of America. It did this not only through cultural explosion, but also at the sociological level. Harlem Renaissance legacy redefined the view that American and the entire world had on African-Americans. Sothern Blacks migration to the north changed perception that the whites had of them as uneducated, rural peasants to cosmopolitan, urban sophisticated group. The new cultural identity and perception enhanced social consciousness. African-Americans became recognized as players in the global stage. It also expanded their international social contacts and intelligence.
Both real and symbolic, the progress made during this time became an important reference point. African-Americans attained a self-determination experience that created a feeling of black militancy and black urbanity. It also acted as a foundation for the black community to build its struggles for civil rights from in the 1950s. Harlem Renaissance also provided a venue for the African-Americans to appreciate their culture.
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