BY WALTER OPINDE
Six decades after the abolition of slavery in the United States, African-Americans were still battling for their rights and freedom. The only way they could do this was through the formation of revolutionary groups, associations, and movements. Therefore, Harlem Renaissance was one of such avenues formed during the 1920s.
Almost a century ago, Harlem Renaissance was an explosion of social, artistic, political, and cultural aspects of the African-American society. It was then known as the “New Negro Movement,” a movement that saw the inception and rise of jazz, alongside the launching of new literary careers, such as Zora Neale Hurston’s and Langston Hughes. Altogether, these formed a platform for the new sense of Black pride and identity. Historically, this movement occurred in Harlem- New York from 1918 to 1937, throughout the 1920s.
The movement was characterized by the expressions of new African-American cultures across the surrounding urban areas, in the Midwestern and Northeastern United States, which were the areas majorly affected by the great African-American migrations. Harlem was the region largely impacted by this migration. As such, the Harlem Renaissance was famously known as the rebirth of the Black arts and culture. It entered historical records as the most influential movement in the literary history of the African-Americans, embracing musical, visual, theatrical, and literary arts. The participants sought after the reconceptualization of the “Negro” and away from the white stereotypes, which had greatly influenced the Black people in terms of their relations to their heritage and each other.
Owing to the fact that the Harlem Renaissance was ushered in by the civil rights movements, it also aimed at breaking free from the Victorian morals and values, alongside the bourgeois humiliation or disgrace due to their ways of life, as seen by the whites and racist beliefs.
The Harlem Renaissance movement ushered in a period when the majority of African-Americans were born as free people, forming the generation when the black people were born, not as slaves but as free Americans. This majorly began in Harlem and later spread throughout the United States. Regardless of the racial oppressions and violence that the movement encountered at the South, the black people were glad to have found an avenue through which they could create a vibrant base of artifacts and cultural practices. This platform literally informed people of everything that happened in the African-American culture from music, dances, poetry, arts to writing. It marked a very robust and vibrant period of the black culture.
Harlem, which was contrarily synonymous with crime and poverty a few decades ago, has currently become a hotbed for real estate market; a stream of well-healed buyers now flood the Manhattan’s northern end, seeking to bargain and buy its distinct properties.
“Read more of the original story via: https://www.britannica.com/event/Harlem-Renaissance-American-literature-and-art and https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2015/02/03/black-history-harlem-renaissance/22825245/”