21 Facts About Harlem Renaissance

1. Harlem Renaissance was an intellectual and cultural revival of African American music, dance, art, fashion, literature, theater, politics and scholarship centered in Harlem, Manhattan, New York City, spanning the 1920s and 1930s.

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2. The movement included the new African American cultural expressions across the urban areas in the Northeast and Midwest United States affected by a renewed militancy in the general struggle for civil rights, combined with the Great Migration of African American workers fleeing the racist conditions of the Jim Crow Deep South, as Harlem Renaissance was the final destination of the largest number of those who migrated north.

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3. Many in the Harlem Renaissance were part of the early 20th century Great Migration out of the South into the African-American neighborhoods of the Northeast and Midwest.

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4. Harlem Renaissance grew out of the changes that had taken place in the African-American community since the abolition of slavery, as the expansion of communities in the North.

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5. Nevertheless, with the Harlem Renaissance came a sense of acceptance for African-American writers; as Langston Hughes put it, with Harlem came the courage "to express our individual dark-skinned selves without fear or shame.

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6. Many poets of the Harlem Renaissance were inspired to tie in threads of African-American culture into their poems; as a result, jazz poetry was heavily developed during this time.

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7. The Harlem Renaissance encouraged analytic dialogue that included the open critique and the adjustment of current religious ideas.

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8. Harlem Renaissance trained with Arthur Calhoun in Chattanooga, and at Fisk University in Nashville.

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9. Harlem Renaissance began singing in public as a student, and toured with the Fisk Jubilee Singers in 1911.

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10. The fashion of the Harlem Renaissance was used to convey elegance and flamboyancy and needed to be created with the vibrant dance style of the 1920s in mind.

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11. Extraordinarily successful black dancer Josephine Baker, though performing in Paris during the height of the Harlem Renaissance, was a major fashion trendsetter for black and white women alike.

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12. Characterizing the Harlem Renaissance was an overt racial pride that came to be represented in the idea of the New Negro, who through intellect and production of literature, art, and music could challenge the pervading racism and stereotypes to promote progressive or socialist politics, and racial and social integration.

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13. Some common themes represented during the Harlem Renaissance were the influence of the experience of slavery and emerging African-American folk traditions on black identity, the effects of institutional racism, the dilemmas inherent in performing and writing for elite white audiences, and the question of how to convey the experience of modern black life in the urban North.

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14. Harlem Renaissance allowed for assistance to the black American community because he wanted racial sameness.

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15. Harlem Renaissance helped lay the foundation for the post-World War II protest movement of the Civil Rights movement.

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16. Urban setting of rapidly developing Harlem Renaissance provided a venue for African Americans of all backgrounds to appreciate the variety of Black life and culture.

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17. The Hamilton Lodge in Harlem Renaissance hosted an annual drag ball that attracted thousands to watch as a couple hundred young men came to dance the night away in drag.

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18. Major accomplishment of the Harlem Renaissance was to open the door to mainstream white periodicals and publishing houses, although the relationship between the Harlem Renaissance writers and white publishers and audiences created some controversy.

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19. Harlem Renaissance explored this topic because it was a theme that during this time period was not discussed.

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20. Certain aspects of the Harlem Renaissance were accepted without debate, and without scrutiny.

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21. Artists and intellectuals of the Harlem Renaissance echoed American progressivism in its faith in democratic reform, in its belief in art and literature as agents of change, and in its almost uncritical belief in itself and its future.

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