Harlem Renaissance Paper Essay

A renewal of black culture occurred around 1910-1940s. This breaking movement in history was referred to as the Harlem Renaissance. African Americans thrived in music, theatre, dance, literature, education, and art during this time period. The cause of the Harlem Renaissance included an important migration where thousands of African American people relocated to urban areas primarily up North. With many rural southerners moving up north, they had an opportunity to achieve more things and be influenced by several insightful African Americans.

During the Harlem Renaissance, the New Negro Movement took place in cities such as: Detroit, Chicago, and Harlem. Harlem, New York, located on the island of Manhattan, was the central point during this time. The Harlem Renaissance helped to redefine how Americans as a whole understood African American culture. Integration between black and white cultures occurred. This movement was also the beginning of black urban society. During this time, many prominent people were involved and noted throughout history. Two notable leaders during the Harlem Renaissance were W.

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E. B. Du Bois and Alain Locke. W. E. B Du Bois was all for informing about separation, while Locke was more in touch with informing about integration. These two men both wanted to do something in the African American community to lessen racism, and they wanted to show that African Americans should not have to feel inferior. Both men were philosophers and had different approaches on how they felt about things. Alain Locke was an educator, intellect, traveler, mentor, editor, philosopher, and inspirational writer during the Harlem Reinsurances. Locke termed his philosophy “cultural pluralism” and emphasized the necessity of determining values to guide human conduct and interrelationships” (Harris). One of Locke’s main passions was generating race-building. His philosophies consisted of African subject matter in regards to informing full participation and integration (PowerPoint). One thing I found profound about Locke was that he helped inspire many African Americans in finding where their talent was and embracing their heritage. Locke had an influence on Langston Hughes, and helped guide him to success.

Schools have been named after Locke, and I feel that every African American should know who this great man was. Alain Locke contributed tremendously to African American history in the United States of America. Some of Locke’s contributions included: the New Negro Movement in arts, promoter for renaissance, the New Negro Anthropology. Writer, historian, poet, humanitarian, and socialist are just a few words to describe W. E. B Du Bois. Du Bois philosophies included the focus on African subject matter in regards to informing, yet promoting separatism (PowerPoint). Du Bois was one of the first male civil rights leaders to recognize the problems of gender discrimination. He was among the first men to understand the unique problems of black women and to value their contributions” (Gale). I cannot express enough how important W. E. B Du Bois was. He was the first African American to earn a Doctor’s degree from Harvard University. Du Bois wrote many works of poetry and literature works. He talks about double consciousness and its reference to the way a black person felt when dealing with inner social conflicts.

Politically Du Bois activism always seemed to anticipate struggles that followed. He played a crucial role in the Pan African movement, NAACP organization, protest, and many more things. Constantly in the act of bettering himself in an open reflection of an every changing world described Du Bois. Some of his greatest contributions included: The Souls of Black Folk, Theory of the “Talented Tenth”, editor of the Crisis, and founder of the National Association of the Advancement of Colored People aka NAACP.

From having philosophers during the Harlem Renaissance such as Du Bois and Locke, they helped refine African American expression in literature, art, music, social commentary, dance, etc. Harlem, Chicago, and Detroit were three major cities where influences were shown. These two men were not the only brave men who spoke out and shared their views, but their impacts on artist in urban areas were significant. Not only were African Americans more embracing, this movement transformed African American identity and history.

Overall, the Harlem Renaissance was a time in history that marked a major breakthrough for African Americans and their different forms of art. Books were published, actors arose, music was heard, and paintings were scene. Everyone in the nation had the opportunity to admire the significance and culture African Americans had tastefully displayed during this time.


Gale – Free Resources – Black History – Biographies – William Edward Burghardt Du Bois. ” Gale – Home. Version 10th . N. p. , n. d. Web. 11 Oct. 2012. <http://www. gale. cengage. com/free_resour Harris, Leonard. “Alain Locke, educator, writer, and philosopher. ” African American Literature – Author Profiles, Book & Film Reviews, Interviews, Articles and More. AALBC, n. d. Web. 11 Oct. 2012. <http://aalbc. com/authors/Alainlocke. htm>. **PowerPoint – was unsure how to quote the PowerPoint cite from class. **Link I used for my title page: http://dabcc. nmsu. edu/info/labs/lab85/handouts/chicagop2. pdf