The Harlem Renaissance and the African American Experience

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Updated: Mar 28, 2022
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The campaign established important problems influencing the experiences of African Americans within a mixture of protests, movies, painting, drama, music, art, sculpture, and literature. The creativity explosion between black authors of the time was the outcome of the various conditions and situations of the past. Consequently, the Harlem Renaissance was stronger than a movement of literature; it was an impressive social interpretation of the experience of racism which reached within each section of the black experience. The importance of the campaign of literary creativity holds in the forces of its authors to celebrate the legacy of African Americans also to utilize their different experience as a system approaching redefining the literary expression of African American.

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Harlem Renaissance was the period when for the first time African Americans owned a valid cause to experience satisfaction and celebrated in their identification. In Harlem, they got something that held differently their personal. African American beliefs, music, art, and history were recognized, honored and endured upon a state level. First time African Americans were seen as scholars. This convention was an original unskillful, servile, unqualified, and with few possible another than being a worker. Several years later of experiencing racism by imprisoning and power through the White people, African Americans started to get collectively to show their powerful ideas of national self-esteem and uniqueness(Zhou, and Gallego). This campaign boosted the self-confidence of African Americans and provided them to appear beautiful and comfortable. Under that campaign, each journalist and analysts caught African American literature sincerely, and they began working among the white population. The Harlem Renaissance was a life changer for the literature of African American; it was not studied mainly by black people yet begun to incorporate in the complete American experience. Because of these causes discussed overhead Harlem Renaissance was one of the various essential campaigns in African American history. It also recognized as the golden period for the art and literature of African American.

The Harlem Renaissance’s idea was to help African Americans to show the necessity for racial justice. Activists of Civil Rights like W.E.B. Du Bois served to build the National Association to the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), determined that preferably of practicing right legislative medians to accomplish their purposes of racial justice, which they would use writers and artists of the history to accomplish the objects.

While the Harlem Renaissance was an outbreak of aesthetic production in each field including dance and music, poetry and literature, visual arts, and this expressed and provided speech to the African American views. Also, magazines and Newspapers like The Opportunity: A Journal of Negro Life, Crisis, and The Messenger were further very significant because they displayed discrimination crimes. African Americans saw to certain literature parts for power and management. The central purpose of the Harlem Renaissance’s authors was to provide the Negro being an able person, deserving of the equal honour granted to white people. Authors like Langston Hughes and Claude McKay, not just developed the method Negros described in theatres during records but burned the way to the coming generation to follow. The Harlem Renaissance was a period when the poem transformed a country of African Americans to prominent rises. It remained an important, powerful tool adopted for the development and recognition of African American political, culture, and history awareness. The appearance of various middle and lower -class blacks in the north ghettoes they could purchase magazines and books and move to theatres and associations gave the business help to promote the talented black who committed to the Harlem Renaissance. One of the leading authors who developed during that period was Langston Hughes. He first came to New York in 1921 to attend Columbia University. A year next he dispatched escape being a salesman and cook’s assistant on a tour boat to Europe and Africa. He experienced and accomplished in Italy and Paris and then reverted to the U.S, in a Washington DC he got work as a bus-boy. In 1925, he was found through the artist Vachel Lindsay, who admired poems of Hughes and directed him to give himself to composition (McCluskey, and Watson).

Hughes first works, Fine Clothes to the Jew (1927) and The Weary Blues (1926) got poem awards and earned him universal recognition. Unlike several of his companions who were rolling through dramatic composition. Hughes investigated the emotional efficacy of black language in city and farm lifestyle of black. His insightful and powerful portrayal of African Americans reaches the hearts of numerous. His poem draws a portrait of the difficulties encountered by African Americans with a blend of environmental struggles, happiness, culture, and music, culture. Hughes lived in a community which was entirely controlled by White people. He perceives the company of his grandma, “She…held me in her lap and told…stories about people who wanted to make the Negroes free….” (Emanuel19).

Therefore, not just cultural environment but his people experiences have further addressed him to employ rhyme as a tool through that he presents an adequate explanation to ethnic and social characteristics of the black community to develop a community. “He has stated his opinion of self-approval” (Berry 87). To the first time, a man honored his “Blackness” and not feels embarrassed about being Black. Hughes is well-known among people due to his poetry, but he committed to various kinds of nonfiction and literature during his great profession. In 1930, his first book “Not without Laughter” issued. Hughes produced a full spectrum of skill. He was a strong historian of the black generations. He composed sanguinely and contemptuously regarding the African American positions. His several popular fictional characters are, nicknamed Simple, Jesse B. Semple, who utilizes humor to complain and mock the current inequalities. Aside from poetry he further composed song lyrics, operas, children’s books, and short stories. He turned international authors and composed various shows.

Langston Hughes in his article “The Negro Artist and The Racial Mountain” (1926), showed the latest revolutionary attitude about the Renaissance composers. In 1937 Hughes worked as an international journalist reporting the war of Spanish Civil for the Baltimore, African American press. In the 1940s, his most famous compositions were newspaper outlines composed for the Chicago Defender (Hughes).The outlines described the experiences evaluations of an honest oppressed Negro, “Simple,” whose understanding aspects of whites and blacks gave Hughes with the means for making broad satirical and important analysis on community and politics. Hughes was a sophisticated cosmopolitan who lived an essentially wandering life. But he was most impressed by his American experience, through his black culture, and through the glowing atmosphere of Harlem and city of New York, with its jazz music and blues which hugely affected the rhythm and construction of poetry like “The Weary Blues”.

The Harlem Renaissance legacy is re-established that how the world and America, saw the African American community. The movement of Blacks from the South to the North developed the concept of the African American from the farm, uneducated workers to the city, public composure. This unique status affected to higher cultural awareness; African Americans converted members on the universe platform, developing intelligent and communicative connections globally. Few general ideas expressed throughout the Harlem Renaissance were the power of the experience of slaveholding and growing African American community legends on black identification, the consequences of organizational racism, the difficulties essential in playing and composing for white viewers, and the problem that how to communicate the experience of contemporary life of blacks in the city (Washington-Favors, and Wintz). Identifying the Harlem Renaissance lasted an apparent racial arrogance that got to expressed in that opinion of the New Negro, that by understanding and creation of music, art, and literature could claim the pervading stereotypes and prejudice to advance socialist or liberal governments and social and racial alliance. The nature of literature and art would help to ‘welfare’ the black community. “New Negro” is a phrase simplified throughout the Harlem Renaissance suggesting further blunt support of honor and denial to present simply to the Jim Crow racial segregation’s laws and rules. Alain LeRoy Locke formulated the word “New Negro.” It outlined to determine how James Latimer Allen, James Van Der Zee, and Carl Van Vechten, perform and promote the “New Negro” in the product of paintings.

These compositions represent the communities of African origin in a definite spotlight, in common human conditions. Historically and constantly, African descent’s peoples are frequently described negatively in the different interpretations, and several mainstream artists serving in fields like Harlem, own traditionally highlighted exoticism, unfortunate circumstances, or social difficulties. So European interest in common artifacts produced from the expansion of Africa through Westerners, whose takeover of the region documented by a red graph. In 1900, some significant artists were immaculate through the power among Oceanic and African “fundamental” art. Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, and many others were brought to the techniques and themes of those non-European arts as a method to claim inherited artistic conceptions (Jimoh, and Wintz). People recognized southwestern methods as inactive and unnecessary for the present community. Predestinate, an expectation’s part of African American artists of that period was to report to and provide pictures which connected among common artifacts. When Europeans experienced African victims by the eye of colonialism, Westerns saw them as interpreting the slavery legacy and separation. Racial preferences ended in the neutralizing understanding of African history that continues to this date. Although after the Harlem Renaissance identified as a short golden period; a modern observer can’t support but express disappearance in those pictures. Van Vechten, Van Der Zee, and Allen performed their role to encourage African Americans in the enlightenment that these people deserve equality if people may not own monetarily justified the name. Each human deserves the freedom to dream and keep similar aims despite racial restrictions. I believe that those artists faithfully supported the concept of the “New Negro” and also constantly attempting to go ahead by those thoughts and their own creativity and work.

Work Cited

  1. Carl Van Vechten, Portrait of Bessie Smith.
  2. James Van Der Zee, Future Expectations (Wedding Day) 1926.
  3. James Latimer Allen, Portrait of James Lesesne Wells, c. 1930.
  4. Hughes, Langston. “Night Funeral in Harlem”. Retrieved 23 April 2019.
  5. Jimoh, A. Yemisi, and Cary D. Wintz. “The Harlem Renaissance, 1920-1940. Vol. 5-Remembering The Harlem Renaissance”. African American Review, vol 33, no. 3, 1999, p. 526. Penn State Press (Project Muse).
  6. Washington-Favors, Sarah M., and Cary D. Wintz. “The Harlem Renaissance, 1920-1940. Vol. 3-Black Writers Interpret The Harlem Renaissance”. African American Review, vol 33, no. 4, 1999, p. 697. Penn State Press (Project Muse).
  7. McCluskey, John, and Steven Watson. “The Harlem Renaissance: Hub Of African-American Culture, 1920-1930.”. African American Review, vol 31, no. 2, 1997, p. 329. Penn State Press (Project Muse).
  8. Zhou, Yupei, and Mar Gallego. “Passing Novels In The Harlem Renaissance: Identity, Politics And Textual Strategies”. African American Review, vol 38, no. 4, 2004, p. 720. Penn State Press (Project Muse).
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The Harlem Renaissance and the African American Experience. (2021, Apr 16). Retrieved from