The Black Man 's Burden By Henry Louis Gates Jr.

1465 Words Dec 3rd, 2016 6 Pages
The Harlem Renaissance was a time for racial uprising and change. However, sexuality is rarely discussed when researching and reflecting on this time. Many of the leaders in the Harlem Renaissance identified somewhere along the LGBTQIA+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, and asexual) spectrum. “Claude McKay, Wallace Thurman, Alain Locke, Richard Bruce Nugent, Angelina Weld Grimké, Alice Dunbar-Nelson and Langston Hughes, all luminaries of the New Negro literary movement, have been identified as anywhere from openly gay (Nugent) to sexually ambiguous or mysterious (Hughes). In a 1993 essay, “The Black Man’s Burden,” Henry Louis Gates Jr., The Root‘s editor-in-chief, notes that the Renaissance ‘was surely as gay as it was black.’” “At the beginning of the twentieth century, a homosexual subculture, uniquely Afro-American in substance, began to take shape in New York’s Harlem. Throughout the so- called Harlem Renaissance period, roughly 1920 to 1935, black lesbians and gay men were meeting each other [on] street corners, socializing in cabarets and rent parties, and worshiping in church on Sundays, creating a language, a social structure, and a complex network of institutions.” Richard Bruce Nugent, who was considered the “perfumed orchid of the New Negro Movement” said, “You did what you wanted to. Nobody was in the closet. There wasn’t any closet.” Although there was a large acceptance of this community within the renaissance, as expected there was an…
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