The Harlem Renaissance: A Black Cultural Revolution Essay

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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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Also influential was the publication of Jessie Fauset's novel There is Confusion, exploring how Blacks in large cities find their identities amongst the dominating social stigmas set by Whites. With these works as a foundation, legendary black thinker and leader Charles S. Johnson wanted to do something that would expose all the talent in Harlem to the world. Starting in 1924 Johnson planned a big literary extravaganza using Jessie Fauset's novel There Is Confusion as the reason for the event. He invited all the Black writers in Harlem and numerous influential editors and publishers to the Civic Club dinner. The editors and publishers were so impressed that many of the Harlem writers got deals that very night. Paul Kellogg, the editor of the influential white magazine Survey Graphic, sprung up an idea to have a special black culture issue featuring some of Harlem's finest writers including Countee Cullen, Claude McKay, Jessie Fauset, and others. The next great event that launched the Harlem Renaissance was the publication of Nigger Heaven by the white author Carl Van Vechten. The bestselling Nigger Heaven brought Harlem culture to the attention of white people all over America. Finally the creation of the literary journal magazine Fire!! by novelist Wallace Thurman allowed many Black writers to stake their claim in the Harlem gold mine. Three of the best American writers were introduced from Fire!!: Wallace Thurman, creator of Fire!! and the influential author of The

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