During the early 1920’s, African American artists, writers, musicians, and performers took part in a cultural movement known as the Harlem Renaissance. This migration took place after World War 1 and brought African Americans of all ages to the city of Harlem located in New York (Holt). There were many inspiring young artists; one of them in particular was Augusta Savage.
There were many notable events taking place in the years 1900-1940, some being Pablo Picasso painting one of the first cubist paintings is 1907 , the sinking of the Titanic in 1912 , the 18th Amendment being added to the Constitution (prohibiting the use of intoxicating liquors) and then being repealed in 1933 , the 19th Amendment guaranteeing women the right to vote in 1920 , Amelia Earhart becoming the first woman to fly across the Atlantic in 1928 , and the list continues. Undoubtedly one of the most influential of events during this time was the Harlem Renaissance. Even with its many leaders and innovators, it wouldn’t have been nearly as effective had it not been for Alain LeRoy Locke: black writer, philosopher, and teacher who influenced black artists to look to African sources for pride and inspiration. Without Locke’s contribution, the Renaissance would not have flourished as much as it did, and black pride would have taken longer to develop and accept.
The early 1900s was a time marked with tragedy in America. Started and ended with the Great Depression in between, it was not America 's finest moment. Prohibition was in place, the Klu Klux Klan was still marching, and the Lost Generation was leaving for Paris. But despite the troubling times, people still found beauty and meaning in the world around them. They still created art and celebrated life. The Harlem Renaissance was an artistic and literary movement that developed a new black cultural identity through artistic expression. It fused African traditions with slave history and American culture, and revealed to the world what life was like as a black person in America.
Mexican artists, more than most other artists in the Americas, exemplify the political and social obligations of artists. According to Soltes (2011), several Mexican artists of the early twentieth century were inspired by the revolutions and political unrest occurring in Mexico, which was reflected in their work. Diego Rivera (1886-1957) considered one of Mexico’s Renaissance artists, influenced by European avant-garde style, painted Zapatista Landscape (1915). This work was done as Rivera’s tribute to the Mexican revolutionary “Emiliano Zapata who had played a key role in the 1910 Mexican Revolution that had overthrown the then President Porfirio Diaz” (Soltes, L43, 4:42). Soltes (2011) describes this work: “very clearly we see a rifle; we see it's a sarape, together with a very stylized backdrop of water, mountains and sky, punctuated by a work that seems largely to emulate the synthetic cubist style of Picasso and Braque that we've earlier discussed. One has the allusion indeed, that we are looking at a collage of geometric forms made of diverse materials imposed against that background of vague sea and sky”(L43, 4:13).
Zora Neale Hurston, who wrote Their eyes were watching god, was an American famous folklorist, anthropologist and author during the time of the Harlem Renaissance. The Harlem Renaissance was a social, cultural and artistic explosion and movement that kindled a new black cultural identity in Harlem, New York, during the 1920s. In 1926, Alain Locke declared that “Negro life is seizing its first chances for group expression and self-determination.” Harlem became the midpoint of a “spiritual coming of age” in which Lock’s “New Negro” altered social disillusionment to racial pride. According to the Project Muse (2015), The Harlem Renaissance also included the visual arts and cultural expressions across the urban areas in the Midwest and Northeast sides of the United States, and it was considered to be a reborn of African-American arts.
These great numbers of blacks along with economic aggressive black businessmen is how Harlem's newly developed real estate was seized from the white middle-class and was converted into the biggest and most elegant black community in the Western world (Huggins p.14). With this acquisition, Harlem had become a great concentration of blacks from all over the country within the most urbane of American cities (New York) just feeling its youthful strength and posturing in self-conscious sophistication. The growth and flourishing of Harlem came at just the right time for black Americans to rekindle dreams of innocence and a new start in America . An essay written by one of Harlem's most prominent leaders Alaine Locke stated that "without pretense to their political significance, Harlem had the same role to play for the New Negro as Dublin has had for the New Ireland or Prague for the New Czechoslovakia."(Knopf p.115). This idea spread like wildfire causing Harlem to be viewed by many as the "black metropolis or mecca".
The “Harlem Renaissance” which we also refer to as “The Jazz Age” and/or “New Negro Movement” was the time where underprivileged African Americans migrated to the north mostly to Chicago and New York in search for a better life. This was a time of a cultural, social, and creative movement that enhanced the African American Community mostly in New York and Chicago between the years of 1917 and 1935. The Harlem Renaissance was the defining moment when African American photographers, writers, musicians, poets, artists, actors, scholars, dancers, composers and etc. migrated from the south to escape the oppression of Caucasian supremacy and poor conditions. They traveled in order to be able to express their talents freely. The movement allowed oppressed African Americans to express their creativity, skills, intelligence and determination. The Harlem Renaissance is the movement that contributed a fundamental part of the culture we know today. During this time African Americans started to embrace things of their culture such as music, theatre, and art.
African Americans had to push very hard to be seen and noticed. The Harlem Renaissance was a time where they created beautiful works of art to express the strength that they had. Zora Neale Hurston, author of How It Feels to Be Colored Me, expresses the importance of white people seeing and understanding African American’s pride and history. Augusta Savage creates the sculpture Gamin as a symbol for all African Americans. Within Our Gates, starring Evelyn Preer and directed by Oscar Micheaux, gives insight into what went on in the rural south in the 1920s. How It Feels to Be Colored Me, Gamin and Within Our Gates, though different art forms, are similar in that they all demonstrate the same theme of the African American perspective.
Many African Americans had been enslaved and remained living in the south. After the end of slavery, the emancipated African Americans, started to act for civic participation, political equality and economic and cultural independence. Right after the civil war had ended many African American Congressmen began to give speeches after the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871. 6 of the congressmen were black by 1875 as part of the Republican Party’s reconstruction legislation By the 1870s, the predominately white Democratic Party managed to regain power in the South. Between 1890 and 1908 the Democratic Party proceeded to pass legislation that were not favorable for
In the essay “Description and criticism of the three murals by Rivera” I was astonished through the murals were described. The symbolism and the comprehensive manner, the murals were defined. The way the paintings were able to revive, the power of the revolutions within Mexicans. I enjoyed reading this because I was able to identify a profound meaning on the circumstances Mexico went through after several difficult and challenging obstacles Mexico’s revolution. The murals and symbolism were another way to view the suffering and the society that went through political struggles. Through the use of colors and body language to understand the mural, it was a sophisticated manner to approach the story behind the Mexico revolution.
The Harlem Renaissance was a movement that spanned the 1920s. It was the name given to the cultural, social and artistic explosion that took place in Harlem, New York. During this time, it was known as the “New Negro Movement” named after the 1926 anthology by Alain Locke. The movement also included the new African American Cultural expression across the urban areas in the Northeast and Midwest United State affected by the Great Migration of which Harlem was the largest. The Harlem Renaissance was considered to be a rebirth of African American Literary Movement arose from generation that lived through the gains and losses of Reconstruction after the American civil war. Art and music also flourished during Harlem’s golden age. Plays and concerts
The Harlem Renaissance is a social, cultural, and artistic eruption that happened in Harlem, New York. The outburst took place in 1925 and included the new African-American cultural expression, and it was considered the birth of African –American Arts. The movement also involved Caribbean and African writers who resided in Paris. The emergence of Harlem Renaissance was due to the fight by African Americans who wanted to be given a chance for a participation in civic matters, cultural and economic self-determination, and political equity between the whites and the blacks. This happened after the civil war was over and reconstruction of the nation was taking place. The freed and emancipated blacks begun to push for this reforms. The year 1875 blacks a total of sixteen in number were elected to the Congress and moved on giving numerous speeches. The regain of power by the white supremacist was a major challenge to the blacks in America. This was characterized with denying Africans their political and civil rights, brutalizing of black convicts, exposure to unpaid labor, and conducting lynch mobs and vigilante acts to black communities. This event led the staging of the first Harlem Renaissance with theater plays like “three plays for a negro” in 1917, been showcased to express the black suffering in the region (Wikipedia, 2016). This was followed by a series of activities to show how the blacks were stereotyped in America with Hubert Harrison writing the article “the father of Harlem radicalism” in the year 1917. This was the beginning of the Harlem Renaissance. The Harlem Renaissance is still important in our community up to the date because it gave the contribution towards the music industry. The period led to the development of the Harlem stride style in playing piano that up to the date provides a benchmark in the piano art. The Renaissance period provided fashion clothing for which blacks can be identified with the blacks like wearing of the leather jackets (White, Shane and Graham 1998). The period helped to the rise of African-American music, the culture which up to date is one big industry contributing towards the American economy and the black society.
The Harlem Renaissance represents the rebirth and flowering of African-American culture. Although the Harlem Renaissance was concentrated in the Harlem district of New York City, its legacy reverberated throughout the United States and even abroad, to regions with large numbers of former slaves or blacks needing to construct ethnic identities amid a dominant white culture. The primary means of cultural expression during the Harlem Renaissance were literature and poetry, although visual art, drama, and music also played a role in the development of the new, urban African-American identity. Urbanization and population migration prompted large numbers of blacks to move away from the Jim Crow south, where slavery had only transformed into institutionalized racism and political disenfranchisement. The urban enclave of Harlem enabled blacks from different parts of the south to coalescence, share experiences, and most importantly, share ideas, visions, and dreams. Therefore, the Harlem Renaissance had a huge impact in framing African-American politics, social life, and public institutions.
I always found the 1920’s a very interesting decade as it went from a lively moment to a depressing and struggling one within a split second. Therefore, I believe that I learned all of the concepts pretty well. For instance, I learned about the Harlem Renaissance, the cause and effect of The Dust Bowl, and the lasting political argument of the New Deal in the United States. First of all, the Harlem Renaissance was a time period where African Americans began to embrace their roots and create art/works to reflect their experience living in US society. However, during the Great Depression many Americans were left unemployed. In addition to drastic unemployment rates, the environmental disaster, also known as the Dust Bowl, contributed to many