Alain Locke: The New Negro During The Harlem Renaissance

There has been much debate over the Negro during the Harlem Renaissance. Two philosophers have created their own interpretations of the Negro during this Period. In Alain Locke’s essay, The New Negro, he distinguishes the difference of the “old” and “new” Negro, while in Langston Hughes essay, When the Negro Was in Vogue, looks at the circumstances of the “new” Negro from a more critical perspective.

During the Harlem Renaissance period, Alain Locke considers African Americans as transforming into someone “new.” He describes how African Americans migrated from the south to the north and were given new opportunities. The old Negro was being taken away from constantly being scrutinized by the public and whites. The Negros transformed into stronger
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In Locke’s opinion the “old” Negro was a confused individual that was always the target of debate. For example, Locke says, “His has perpetuated as an historical fiction partly in innocent sentimentalism, partly in deliberate reactionism.” This is important because the “old” Negro was treated as an object, automatically made to depend on whites, and more or less subjected to being ruled over. The “new” generations of Negros were also stronger, seeking ways to control their own destiny, became conscience of their identity and race, and accepted the color of their skin. “The Negro to-day is inevitably moving forward under the control largely of his own objectives.” The …show more content…
He looks at it as a negative contribution to Negro living because blacks aren’t getting the same equal rights as the whites. Hughes feels that this movement to Harlem only segregated Negros. In addition, Jim Crow Laws were created to keep Negros in their place. He believes that the Negro is in the same position as they were before. For instance, he says “All of us know of the so-called Negro Renaissance of the 20’s was not so gay and sparkling beneath the surface as it looked.” Hughes argues that people need to look at and accept the reality of Negro living during this period. People may have acted as if the movement to Harlem gave people freedom but truthfully, it didn’t. The whites still had the upper-hand and the Negro’s were still left at the bottom struggling to get up. The Negro was still suppressed and subjected to being below. African Americans weren’t given the same opportunity as the whites. For instance, Hughes uses comedy clubs to illustrate certain points of segregation. He writes, “The Negros said: “We can’t go downtown and sit and stare at you in your clubs. While whites got the pleasure to enjoy everything that was offered to them, Negros had to deal with the other end of the frustrating place of unfairness. Hughes also feels that people made it seem like Negros were given opportunities. For example, Hughes

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