Last Updated 09 Jan 2023

The History of the Harlem Renaissance and the Progressive Treatment of the African Americans

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During the great rebirth hundreds of African Americans migrated to Harlem. This “great migration” is known as the Harlem Renaissance and took place from 1919 through the mid 1930’s. The name Harlem Renaissance was given because Harlem is the place where most of the African American people migrated to, and “renaissance” means rebirth. The Harlem Renaissance was a new opportunity for African Americans. It helped show that African Americans had talent and shouldn’t be treated as second class citizens. In fact, African Americans were so outstanding they started a whole new era in America, including new music, literature, and entertainment. For a long time African Americans had been treated as second class citizens but that was all about to change. African Americans migrated to the north, specifically New York for a number of reasons. One being lots of them hadn’t worked for a while and were seeking job opportunities. The agriculture economy had died in the south so they were looking for refuge. African Americans showed that they were talented and were just as capable as white people were and in some cases even more talented through writing, music, and poetry, after they moved to Harlem. African Americans expressed themselves by writing music, poetry, and performing.

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Many performed in popular night clubs such as the Cotton Club, Connie’s Inn, and Small’s Paradise. The ironic thing about the Cotton Club was that while African Americans to preformed, only white people were allowed to enter the Cotton Club. Some of the most famous African Americans during the Harlem Renaissance were W. E. B. du Bois, Langston Hughes, and Louis Armstrong. Songs like, “What a Wonderful World” and “West end Blues” (both by Louis Armstrong) were a few of the songs that became popular during the Harlem Renaissance. “The negro was in vogue,” which was later paraphrased as, “when Harlem was in vogue.” As you can tell African Americans were having a huge effect in New York and now it was time that the rest of America took notice. People started to comprehend that African Americans could work normal jobs and were just as intelligent as everyone else. They could write books, poetry, and songs. Most of all, people realized African Americans had been underestimated as a whole. However, as all good things must come to an end so did the Harlem Renaissance. It was believed that the Harlem Renaissance ended sometime during the 1930’s, because of the Great Depression The Harlem Renaissance could be considered one of the most unexpected and most productive points in history. A lot was accomplished for African Americans through those ten years like books, poems, and music. These accomplishments boosted African Americans as a whole and made them more noticed by the rest of America.

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