The Harlem Renaissance and Its Effect on African American Literature

3258 WordsOct 8, 200814 Pages
The Harlem Renaissance and its Effect on African American Literature Thesis: The literary movement during the Harlem Renaissance was a raging fire that brought about new life for the African American writer; its flame still burns today through the writings of contemporary African American writers. I. The Harlem Renaissance- Its Beginning and Development II. The Major Writers A. Claude McKay B. Jean Toomer C. Countee Cullen D. Langston Hughes E. Zora Neale Hurston III. Major Themes of Writing during the Harlem Renaissance A. The effort to recapture the African American past and African Heritage B. Life in Harlem C. Racism IV. The Harlem Renaissance – The Era Comes to a Close V. The Influence…show more content…
Diversity flourished in the performing arts as well as in music, literature, and art. “By the time the novels, poetry, and dramas of the Harlem Renaissance were being recognized, African American music had already gained fame worldwide. Jazz and blues provided the background, the spirit, and the style for the achievements of the period’s literary and visual artists” (Howes 81). In every movement there are those who are called front runners or foundation layers. These individuals pave the way for others to follow and so it was with the Halrem Renaissance. “Contrary to popular belief, the Harlem Renaissance did not emerge out of a literary and cultural wasteland” (Brown pg 9). The writers of the Renaissance dealt with African American life from a African American perspective. The first important writer of the Renaissance was Claude McKay (1889-1948), who was born in Jamaica and came to the United States in 1912. McKay is best remembered for his poems treating racial themes. “His novel Home to Harlem became the first best seller by an African American author and he received the Harmon Foundation’s gold medal for literature (Howes 48). “Jean Toomer (1894-1967) was the second most important writer of the Renaissance and one of the most gifted in modern American letters” (Whitlow 80). After a visit to Georgia in 1921, Toomer wrote his most masterful work entitled Cane. Cane is Jean Toomer's acclaimed exploration of the
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