1920’s African American

Category: Culture
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“During the 1920’s African American were undergoing a new artistic and intellectual revolutionary movement called the Harlem Renaissance, which was based in Harlem, New York but spread throughout the nation. After the Civil War many African Americans moved to northern states such as New York, Detroit, and Chicago to escape the terrors of racism in the South. Harlem was the primary neighborhood that many blacks chose to make home and develop. Soon the Harlem Renaissance was born due to the explosion of African American culture that was being produced in Harlem, mainly “literature and art that worked toward undermining racism” (Carrol). Writers, artists, musicians, and poets found solace in creating art that captured the essence and struggles that blacks faced in this era. Its impact can still be found into the 1930’s and later throughout history. This paper will go into detail on four major pieces of art that emerged and that I believe were essential in portray the experiences African Americans faced in this era. Langston Hughes’s poem “A Dream Deferred”, Zora Hurston’s novel Their Eyes Were Watching God, Josephine Bakers’ musical comedy Shuffle Along, and finally Aaron Douglas’s painting “Let My People Go”.

Langston Hughes was a prominent poet in the Harlem Renaissance well known for his works that captured the lives of middle class African Americans using his own form of jazz poetry. His most know work would have to be his poem “ A Dream Deferred”. While it is a short poem it is very layered in its analysis. After the Civil War many African Americans were regarded as second-class citizens, which meant they were only allowed menial jobs. Hughes implies that after years of mistreatment African American people cannot tolerate the way this society had treated his fellow people. His line “does the dream explode or sag like a heavy load “ is a reference to his life story that should he let his anger explode due to these injustices but rather his literacy genius and intellect would prove discrimination wrong and those who oppressed him, and pave a way for blacks pursuit of civil rights.

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Next we’ll look at Zora Hurston’s novel “ Their Eyes Are Watching God”, which portrayed the struggles African American women faced during this time. Themes of gender roles, marriage, and equality were the main takeaways from her novel. During this time women were expected to not be outspoken and disobey their husbands and that women could only attain status through marriage to a wealthy man. However Ms. Hurston fought these stereotypes by making the main character to her novel a headstrong empowered woman who fought her husbands on their views of what a good woman was.

Also on the theme of woman empowerment during this era we have prominent figure Josephine Baker. The Harlem Renaissance’s influence was not only in America but spread throughout the world. Although American born Josephine Baker grew as a artist and performer in France were should would remain for the rest of her life, but she brought with her the rich African American culture that was growing back in America. She is the first African American to star in a major motion picture back in 1927. Her performance in the ground-breaking musical Shuffle Along would help set an example for latter African American performers that they would reach a wider audience then previous generations. Finally we have prominent Harlem Renaissance painter Aaron Douglass”

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1920’s African American. (2021, Jun 26). Retrieved from https://papersowl.com/examples/1920s-african-american/