The Harlem Renaissance: William Edward Burghardt Du Bois

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Bright lights, music throughout the streets, and crowds of poets were definitely not surprising phenomenon to see while walking down the streets of Harlem New York during the 1920’s. This period of history is known as the Harlem Renaissance. Throughout each day, people discovered new ways to express their ideas and thoughts through literature, create art, and play music. African Americans were able to break the negative stereotypes in society. However, there was one particular man, William Edward Burghardt Du Bois, who helped guide the people during this social movement. In the magazine of the NAACP, The Crisis, Du Bois used his knowledge from his multiple occupations as a sociologist, teacher, and author to suggest improvements for the lives …show more content…
However, he would not have became the prolific writer he was known to be if it were not for the influence of his grandfather, who he was greatly fond of. Nevertheless, one political issue that severely appalled Du Bois was the lack of education in the American population. During the early twentieth century only about ten percent of the African American population could be referred to as a leadership class, meaning they had a moderate economic and educational status (Beavers). In fact, a substantial percentage of the illiterate was in the south. This was the result of extensive slavery. Du Bois believed that if education remained uncared for, than each new generation of the negro youth would continue to suffer from positive ignorance. Education posed the key for African Americans to produce the best of their race, which would contribute to acceptance in society (The Crisis). Surprisingly though, Du Bois accepted that society would continue to discriminate against race and color during that generation. However, he openly expressed his hate of White Racism in his editorials in The Crisis (Lewis 18). Yet, he strongly stressed that if African Americans change their lifestyles, they will be able to change the laws of society. The first thing that had to be changed was their view on health. At the time, the African American mortality rate was exceptionally high, especially for infants. Once again Du Bois believed that a decent education would be able to aid this problem. Secondly, African Americans had to enter social contracts, meaning they sacrifice a portion of their freedom to the government in return for security and benefits. This would allow them to advance in society and improve the future lives of their children. Although, one thing Du Bois did not want to change was the African American culture. Du Bois

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