The Harlem Renaissance Essay

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Throughout the history of African Americans, there have been important historical figures as well as times. Revered and inspirational leaders and eras like, Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights Movement, Nat Turner and the slave revolt, or Huey Newton and the Black Panther Party. One such period that will always remain a significant part of black art and culture is the Harlem Renaissance. It changed the meaning of art and poetry, as it was known then. Furthermore, the Harlem Renaissance forever left a mark on the evolution of the black culture.

The Harlem Renaissance found its birth in the early 1920’s, in Harlem, New York. The period has been thought of as one of African Americans greatest times in
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Hurston later went on to publish “Their Eyes were Watching God,” in 1937, still keeping with the themes of strong black characters.

Music was another art form found in the Harlem Renaissance. It became the background, inspiration, and the structure for the Harlem Renaissance literature. A style of music known as jazz represented the new, urban, unpredictable lifestyle. One of the greatest jazz singers of this time was Bessie Smith. She was a southerner and her recordings were rare for black performers during her time. Duke Ellington, whose legendary band played at the Cotton Club, personifies jazz. Charlie Parker and Billie Holiday would also record jazz music form the 1930’s until the 1950’s.

Langston Hughes was one of the few poets that would combine both blues and jazz to create an original art form. Claude McKay used the jazz atmosphere in his novel “Home to Harlem.” In this novel, he presented Harlem as a beautiful, fantastic place. In the Harlem Renaissance somewhere using words to create images, while others were using canvas and various mediums to produce a visual art.

By 1926, another stage in the developmental history of African-American visual artists came about, with the establishment of the Harmon Foundation. The Harmon Foundation became a tool for
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