The Negro Artist And The Racial Mountain : The Manifesto For Artists Of The Harlem Renaissance

1787 WordsMar 13, 20178 Pages
Bowen 7 Sunteasja Bowen Harlem Renaissance Dr. Bracks 2 March 2017 The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain: The Manifesto for Artists of the Harlem Renaissance The Norton Anthology of African American Literature suggests that the Harlem Renaissance was the “irresistible impulse of blacks to create boldly expressive art of a high quality as a primary response to their social conditions, as an affirmation of their dignity and humanity in the face of poverty and racism” (953). The Harlem Renaissance was known as the rebirth of music, drama, dance, literature, and art for African Americans from 1919-1940. During this time, Black Americans found themselves longing to gain acceptance from their own. Blacks needed to create art and literature…show more content…
The poet in Hughes’ essay says that he only wants to be a poet. He did not want to be associated with race. Hughes took that as meaning that he did not want to be a negro poet. Hughes associated this need with the fact that he was of a middle-class family and taught to act white. This essentially disconnected the poet from his blackness and his purpose for creating high quality black art. “One sees immediately how difficult it would be for an artist born in such a home to interest himself in interpreting the beauty of his own people. He is never taught to see that beauty. He is taught rather not to see it, or if he does, to be ashamed of it when it is not according to Caucasian patterns” (1311). Once a person chooses to dissociate themselves from their heritage, it becomes almost impossible to create art meaningful for that race. Because Hughes had his own personal vindications with race and class systems, Pardlo believes this is why he was quick to condemn others who openly voiced differing opinions; however, Hughes played a vital role in the advancement of black Americans during the Harlem Renaissance for this very reason. Hughes, for the sake of the advancement of blacks, critiqued artists for their positions and involvement, or lack thereof, in the Harlem Renaissance. Furthermore, not everyone believed in what the Harlem Renaissance stood for. Artists such as George Schuyler, for example, directly opposed the general view of the African American community’s
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