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The Harlem Renaissance

From 1920 until about 1930 an unprecedented outburst of activity among African-Americans occurred in all field of art. Beginning as a series of literary discussions in the lower Manhattan (Greenwich Village) and upper Manhattan (Harlem) sections of New York City, this African-American cultural movement became known as “The New Negro Movement’’ and later as the Harlem Renaissance. More than a literary movement and more than a social revolt against racism, the Harlem Renaissance exalted the unique culture of African- Americans and redefined African-Americans were encouraged to celebrate their heritage and to become “The New Negro,” a term coined in 1925 by sociologist and critic Alain LeRoy Locke. One of the
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Outside of the art world, people rarely think of the renaissance period describing the written word. This habit has extended, as well. to the Harlem Renaissance; however, the written word was a very important part of this period. There had been Negro writers for at least 140 years. Perhaps, the best known were Charles W. Chestnutt and Paul Laurence Dunlar. Chestnutt's novels included The Conjure Woman and The Wife of His Youth and Other Stories of the Color Line , whereas Dunbar, primarily a poet, was best known for his novel The Sport of the Gods . Chestnut's writing, though moving away from the plantation romanticism which had glorified slavery, possessed realistic flavor, and it emphasized relations based on the divisions of the black and white races rather than developing the interior lives of its characters. The Harlem Renaissance grew out of the changes that had taken place in the African American community since the abolition of slavery. These accelerated as a consequence of World War I and the great social and cultural changes in early 20th century United States. Industrialization was attracting people to cities from rural areas and gave rise to a new mass culture. Contributing factors leading to the Harlem Renaissance were the Great Migration of African Americans to

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