Influence of the Harlem Renaissance on Society

A group of people who had at one point held no power and position in society were now thriving in the nation, as they spread their culture and ideas. It was the start of an era known as the Harlem Renaissance. This was a more than a literary movement, it was a cultural movement based on pride in the Africa-American life. They were demanded civil and political rights (Stewart). The Harlem Renaissance changed the way African Americans were viewed by society. It, “changes the image of the African-American from rural, undereducated peasants to one of urban, cosmopolitan sophistication”.

This era expanded from the early 1920s to the mid 1930s (Wikipedia). It generated great pride in the people by expressing their ideas though the fine arts. The Harlem Renaissance was a movement that helped the African-American people defined who they were, and what they believed in by leaving an impact on a society that was to change. African Americans first began to have an influence on society during the Great Migration. Settlers from the South traveled to the North in search of a better life. Once there, some settled in the city of Harlem, also known as “the Black Mecca” and “the Capital of black America”, which lies on New York.

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Others moved from the metropolitan areas to Harlem. Then they began to populate the area, the white middle class abandoned their property here. Developers had to make a low income from this business. Harlem landowners sold their properties to black real estate agents and rented the homes directly to black tenants. Between 1900 and 1920, the number of blacks in Harlem had doubled. Black advocates, entrepreneurs, and intellectuals first began to spread their ideas here. The people not only brought their businesses and institutions with them, they also brought a variety of ambitions and talents (BIO).

The Harlem Renaissance gave African Americans an opportunity to be proud of their success. The popularity of the era helped bring success to the writers, entertainers, and artists of the Harlem Renaissance. African-American artists, writers, musicians, and performers were influencing not only African Americans, but also whites. Thousands of white Americans came to Harlem to experience the night life. The nightclubs in New York appealed to the whites as they were very famous. Jazz music was thriving in the area. It originated in the Unites States among African-American musicians.

It was at this time that jazz was at its most famous point. Many people would host rent parties which were very popular at the time. Apartment owners would hold a party and would charge a fee to those who wanted to enter. They used this money in order to pay off their rent (Worth). The influence of jazz also brought musical reviews. Soon white novelists, dramatists and composers started to exploit the musical tendencies and themes of African Americans in their works. Composers used the literary works of African-American poets in their songs.

Negros began to merge with Whites into the classical world of musical composition (Wikipedia). Soon, the works of artists were being displayed in nationwide magazines. Their culture began to spread with great velocity. The Harlem Renaissance also influenced a phenomenon known as Harlemania among both whites and blacks. It was the expression of style by the men and women of the era through their attire and decorative details. People would be richly dressed and the homes were extravagant. They had expensive decorations from foreign nations (Worth).

One person even said “ ‘You have never seen such clothes. . . . They do not stop at fur coats made of merely one kind of fur. They add collars of ermine to gray fur, or black fur collars to ermine. Ropes of jewels and trailing silks of all bright colors’ “ (Worth). The Harlem Renaissance also expressed the political ideas of the African-American people. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People was created in order to establish political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights for all persons in order to eliminate discrimination (NAACP).

W. E. B. DuBois, whom was an African-American poet, became the leader of the NAACP. Another respected man named Marcus Garvey also played a role in politics. He created the Universal Negro Improvement Association which had contradictory beliefs to those of the NAACP. Garvey believed that African-American’s needed to only receive help from themselves, not from white people. He sought to have all blacks unite and return to Africa to continue their movement. This was known as the “Back to Africa Movement”. This era was a part of dealing with interracial issues.

It affected the political rights leading up to the Civil Rights movement. This was a time when both blacks and whites interacted with each other (Stewart). They came together to enjoy a common interest without having much care for what the world had to say. The Harlem Renaissance addressed many individual and civil rights issues. It challenges white people to also think about what is best for their nation. They were forced to determine if they could socialize among people of another race or if they could not step out of their shell. They sought to be treated as equals and share the same rights.

This influenced the people to develop ways to express their beliefs. The Harlem Renaissance was a major era in the history of the United States. For nearly 15 years a variety of artists, writers, and performers flourished in Harlem. For a short while it became one of the leading cultural centers of America. The leaders of the renaissance created such rich works that helped to strengthen American culture as a whole. They influenced later African-American writers and artists and pushed for them to make a lasting impact on the cultural traditions of the United States (Worth).

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