Essay on The Harlem Renaissance- a Black Cultural Revolution

2031 Words May 29th, 2006 9 Pages
The Harlem Renaissance- A Black Cultural Revolution

James Weldon Johnson once said that "Harlem is indeed the great Mecca for the sight-seer; the pleasure seeker, the curious, the adventurous, the enterprising, the ambitious and the talented of the whole Negro world."("Harlem Renaissance") When one thinks of the Harlem Renaissance, one thinks of the great explosion of creativity bursting from the talented minds of African-Americans in the 1920s. Although principally thought of as an African-American literary movement, the Harlem Renaissance's influence extended through every form of culture: art, dance, music, theatre, literature, history, and politics. Along with the great contribution this period made towards art and entertainment,
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"Many of the intellectuals, creative writers, and artists of the Harlem Renaissance saw as one of the purposes of the movement was the creation of more positive images of African Americans than had generally existed in American Culture before the 1920s." (Powell) By the decline of the Harlem Renaissance, the image of African-Americans had transformed to one of urban, cosmopolitan sophistication. One of the great characteristics of the Harlem Renaissance is that all the artists worked equally on this goal. Thus, all these works made by African Americans-their paintings, their writings, their music- became the American culture at that time. Never up until that point in history were African-Americans regarded as intellectual contemporaries by their European and American White counterparts. Black people were able to hold their heads up high and be proud of their achievements in the world. The birth of the "New Negro" in Harlem had become the stigma that all African Americans around the U.S. were able to identify with. "It represented a liberation from the self-doubt of the past and an inauguration of an era of unprecedented optimism, pride and confidence in black culture. These were the ideals of the New Negro…" ("Art of the Soul Men")
Many critics of the Harlem Renaissance like to say that this movement did not in fact, achieve its goal of creating a new identity. They say that the Harlem Renaissance, in its attempt to create a separate, distinct culture fully

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