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Harlem Renaissance

Two developments led to a mass movement of African Americans to Harlem, New York, during the 1920s, a period during which more than 100,000 African Americans relocated to this area of New York in what was known as the ôGreat Migrationö (Robinson, p. 14). The first development that led to this migration was the growing dissatisfaction with many African Americans in the Southern states. The second development was the construction of New YorkÆs new subway system, connecting for the first time Harlem and the cityÆs downtown area. A majority of African Americans in Harlem during this period were members of a growing black middle- and upper-middle class. As Lisa Clay Robinson (p. 14) argues, ôNever before had there been such a concentrated community of African Americans, many of them well educated, with professional jobs, and ready to set an example of what black people were really like.ö Harlem represented a new home for African Americans, one that would become a showcase for their talent in music, dance, literature, theater, painting and other forms of art. The birth of new artistic expressions by African Americans blossomed into a full scale movement that is referred to as the period of the Harlem Renaissance. This analysis will explore the artists of the Harlem Renaissance and their impact on American arts and letters.

The influence of the artistic output known as the Harlem Renaissance is still witnessed in contemporary times. Billie Holiday, the great blues singer of the era, served as the inspiration of the rock group U2 in its song Angel of Harlem. AliciaÆs Keyes new album is called Harlem Nocturne, and Sean ôP-Diddyö Combs maintains that ôHarlemÆs energy helped him get started in his careerö (Ryan, p. 15). With the mass migration of tens of thousands of African Americans to Harlem in the 1920s and 1930s, Harlem experienced a renaissance or rebirth in a number of ways. As Ryan (p. 14) explains, ôJazz and ...

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Harlem Renaissance. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 09:13, April 22, 2019, from