Harlem Renaissance 3


Harlem Renaissance 3 Essay, Research Paper

The Harlem Renaissance

I. Introduction

II. Definition of the Harlem Renaissance

A. The Time of the Harlem Renaissance

B. What was the Harlem Renaissance

III. Music of the Harlem Renaissance

A. Kinds of music

B. The big people

IV. Drama of the Harlem Renaissance

A. Kinds of drama

B. The big people

V. Literature of the Harlem Renaissance

A. Kinds of Literature

B. The Big People

VI. Art of the Harlem Renaissance

A. Kinds of Art

B. The Big People

VII. Reason

A. Why did they write the way they did?

B. The message that they were trying to send

VIII Decline of the Harlem Renaissance

A. The Reason for the Decline

B. The Aftermath of the Harlem Renaissance

IX. Poem by Langston Hughes

X. Conclusion

Thesis: The Harlem Renaissance was a prosperous time, and Black Americans

benefited from the rapid growth in the economy in music, drama,

literature, and art.

The Harlem Renaissance

The place of growth was known as New York City. The time of year

was the 1920s. This time period was also known as the Jazz Age. The

music was played mostly in a Manhattan neighborhood known as Harlem.

Harlem created a growth of African-American culture which created a

community exploding with art, politics, energy, and racial pride. The

Harlem Renaissance was a prosperous time, and Black Americans benefited

from the rapid growth in the economy in music, drama, literature, and art.

When blues was hot and jazz was a growing stay in America s

culture; when speakeasies were filled with both blacks and whites dancing

to the rhythms of life set out by the saxophone, trumpet, and drums…..

( Harlem ). This is the definition of the Harlem Renaissance. This

definition is true in many ways. The Harlem Renaissance was around the

time period of the 1920s and 1930s. The only aspect that I might know

about the Harlem Renaissance is that there were a lot of poetry, books, and

music going around. There were numerous clubs and places to hang out in

Harlem. The clubs were filled with over three hundred well-dressed blacks

and whites.

The main interest of the clubs were the music and dancing. Jazz

music, invented by black musicians in New Orleans, Louisiana, hit Harlem

and the rest of the country with such force that the 1920s became known as

the Jazz Age (Chambers 9). Jazz was one of the many types of music that

was the most popular during the Harlem Renaissance. The other popular

music was the Blues. Blues is unlike jazz. This is because jazz has a more

up-beat and blues have a real down-beat. The dances that were popular was

known as the Boogie-Woogie, the Turkey Trot, and the Big Apple. Those

were just few of the many dances that developed during the Harlem


Black writers were dependent on white publishers, but white

publishers were sincerely interested in black literature, and they worked

closely with black writers and intellectuals to achieve a viable literary

movement (Wintz 162). The only way that black writers could get in the

literature business was that they got in with someone who is white. The

white people knew that the only way that they could have a booming

business is to have black literature. This is because the only literature that

could really sell is the black literature. So for the whites to make money,

they had to get in with the blacks. This would then work out for both of


The Harlem Renaissance produced a shine of new authors during this

time period. The authors knew each other well and they frequently

exchanged ideas. The Renaissance writers remain important not just for

their own work but because the literary tradition they built would become a

platform from which future African-American voices could shout and be


There were many big authors during the Harlem Renaissance. You

still hear some names now. They were Langston Hughes, Jean Toomer,

Jessie Redmon Fauset, Countee Cullen, Claude McKay, Wallace Thurman,

and Zora Neale Hurston.

Besides literature and music, there was also art involved in the

Harlem Renaissance. In the 1920s, European and white American painters

tangled with new ways to express the industrial world that was growing

behind them. Many of those painters were influenced by African tribal

culture. The Harlem Renaissance was much more than simply a white fad,

but the extent of white interest and support shaped the movement in many

ways (Chambers 86). The white people really paid attention to Harlem

when the blacks began to take an interest in artwork. The black artwork

was really interesting to many whites and other minorities. This would

bring whites to recognize the importance of the Harlem Renaissance.

Local artists reflected the change of the Harlem Renaissance by

introducing their artworks. They painted many different scenes, and they

had many different ideas. Some of the ideas that were used were men and

women of a sophisticated city, a streamlined graphic style known as Art

Deco, and others used brushes to record the new African-American

communities springing up in the North. There were many big artists during

the Harlem Renaissance such as, James Van Der Zee, Aaron Douglas, and

Richard Bruce Nugent. These are just a few of talented artists in the Harlem


The Harlem Renaissance ended with a good ending. Blacks still

received recognition for what they did during that time period. The

Harlem Renaissance, which had begun with a burst of creativity in the

mid-1920s, gradually dissipated in the early 1930s (Wintz 217). The

Harlem Renaissance ended with the decline of the economy. This decline

was also known as a depression. This depression caused changes in the

economic growth and it halted the Harlem Renaissance. The depression

stopped attracting more people that would bring wealth to Harlem by their

talents, whether it is art, literature, or music. The depression also brought

about the dropping out of other well-known writers. These writers later on

died in the near future. Several writers held on to write about black history.

The ones that did not, just faded from the public view. After the Harlem

Renaissance, many writers that were left were suffering to support

themselves. This poem by Langston Hughes is a fairly good definition of

the times that Blacks were going through.

Same in Blues

I said to my baby,

Baby, take it slow.

I can t, she said, I can t!

I got to go!

There s certain

amount of traveling

in a dream deferred.

Lulu said to Leonard,

I want a diamond ring.

Leonard said to Lulu,

You won t get a goddamn thing!

A certain

amount of nothing

in a dream deferred

Daddy, daddy, daddy

All I want is you.

You can have me, baby–

but my lovin days is through.

A certain

amount of importance

in a dream deferred

Three parties

On my party line–

But that third party,

Lord, ain t mine!

There s liable

to be confusion

in a dream deferred.

From river to river

Uptown and down,

There s liable to be confusion

when a dream gets kicked around.

You talk like

they don t kick

dreams around


I expect they do–

But I m talking about

Harlem to you!

Harlem to you!

Harlem to you!

Harlem to you!

By : Langston Hughes

(DiYanni 549)

The Harlem Renaissance was a prosperous time, and

Black Americans benefited from the rapid growth in the

economy in music, drama, literature, and art. The Harlem

Renaissance was a time for the black people to come together

as one. The Harlem Renaissance has really showed us that we

can do anything that we put our minds to.

Works Cited

Chambers, Veronica. The Harlem Renaissance. Philadelphia: Chelsea

House Publishers, Inc., 1998.

DiYanni, Robert. Literature: Reading Fiction, Poetry, Drama, and the

Essay. Pace University, Pleasantville: McGraw-Hill Publishing

Company, Inc., 1990.

The Harlem Renaissance. Online Internet. 21 October 1999. Available:


Singh, Amritjit. The Novels of the Harlem Renaissance. The Pennsylvania

State University Press, Inc., 1976.

Wintz, Cary D. Black Culture and the Harlem Renaissance. Houston,

Texas: Rice University Press, Inc., 1988.

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