The 1920's were a period or rapid growth and change in America. After World War I American's were introduced to a lifestyle of lavishness they had never encountered before. It was a period of radical thought and ideas. It was in this time period that the idea of the Harlem Renaissance was born. The ideology behind the Harlem Renaissance was to create the image of the "New Negro". The image of African-American's changed from rural, uneducated "peasants" to urban, sophisticated, cosmopolites. Literature and poetry abounded. Jazz music and the clubs where it was performed at became social "hotspots". Harlem was the epitome of the "New Negro". However, things weren't as sunny as they appeared. Many felt that the Harlem Renaissance itself
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Even in the Mecca of supposed racial equality, these sorts of discrimination were still prevalent. Advertisements for products produced by African-Americans were also skewed. Paramount Records deemed itself the "The Popular Race Record". (Document F) Many advertisements played on traditional racial stereotypes and utilized this to sell their products. What seemed to be at first a good idea was a subtle form of racism and stereotyping.
Racism was not eliminated during the Harlem Renaissance. In fact, it was more prevalent then ever. The Ku Klux Klan included a membership of more then 4.5 million members by the mid 1920's. In 1924 they passed out membership cards stating, "When aliens run the United Stated States
then the Ku Klux Klan won't be worth a damn." (Document C) The KKK fed on the fear created by the Harlem Renaissance. Many Whites weren't used to the idea of Blacks having an influence, and they panicked. Organizations like the KKK utilized this fear to increase their membership to staggering proportions. They continued to torment the African-Americans, and continued the practice of racial bigotry. In 1922, Congress passed an Anti-Lynching Bill stating that, "depriving any person of his life without authority of law" was a criminal offense. (Document A) However, lynching and burnings still took place. Before the end of 1929 the KKK had lynched more then 200