The Harlem Renaissance was an intellectual movement from c. 1918-37 centered in Harlem, Manhattan. It brought the cultural revival of African American music, dance, art, fashion, literature, theater, and politics. The movement heralded African-American cultural expressions alongside the struggle for civil rights, during a segregated America. Using art, music, and literature, the African-Americans sought to break free from prevailing stereotypes and define a new identity for themselves.
They also sought to break from the Victorian moral code which had labeled several parts of their culture as shameful. This movement helped popularise African-American authors and their works. Francophone writers brought aspects of the movement to Paris and the Caribbean islands.
One of the phenomena which served as the foundation for this movement was the migration of African-Americans to Northern parts of the United States and from rural areas to urban areas. This led to a rise in literacy levels and the creation of organizations that fought for civil rights.
Magazines such as The Crisis by NAACP, Opportunity by the National Urban League, and The Messenger were crucial to the movement.
With the Great Migration, the Black Pride movement also began. This movement sought to ensure that the African-American community got the credit they deserved for cultural contributions.
This movement,in some ways, paved the way for the civil rights movement of the late 40s and 50s.
Categories: Culture and History