How The Harlem Renaissance Shaped Literature

1596 Words Dec 8th, 2014 7 Pages
Marie Eggly
ENG 320
How the Harlem Renaissance Shaped Literature The Harlem Renaissance was a revolutionary time for African Americans in the Twentieth Century. It lasted from around 1918 until 1937 and is described as “the nation’s first self-conscious black literary and artistic movement” (Tindall 804), but the ideas cultivated within those years are still relevant in today’s society. In New York the city of Harlem had a rapidly growing population of African Americans due to the Great Migration and it was also the destination for immigrants from other areas of the United States. Once people began hearing about the Harlem Renaissance even more writers, photographers, musicians, and scholars moved to the area. Due to the large population of African Americans here, a sense of common identity and cultural expression were apparent and this led to the embracing of their own culture separate from what white people had defined it as. A path was laid out for new African American literature and had a huge impact on all of the black literature to follow. The early stages of the Harlem Renaissance took off due to several plays, poems, and a newspaper. Three Plays for a Negro Theatre was written by Ridgely Torrence, a white playwright, and his play showed African American actors expressing complex yearnings and emotions instead of the usual stereotypes of blackface and minstrel shows. Then in 1917 Hubert Harrison created The Voice, a newspaper that focused on…

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