The Harlem Renaissance

Write a 6 pages paper on the harlem renaissance. The Renaissance is considered to have started in 1919 and existed until the mid or early 1930s.The influence of the Renaissance was felt on a scale larger than the United States as it is credited with having impacted on black writers from colonies in the Caribbean and Africa, that were French-speaking and living in Paris. The ideas and beliefs of the movement lived on for a long time after the movement ceased to exist. Majorities of African-Americans who were enslaved and lived in the agrarian south of the United States up to the end of the Civil War. After the civil war, the slaves were free to move and do as they pleased. The African-Americans started striving for political equality, participation in civic positions and self-determination in cultural and economic fields. Black congressional representatives made speeches that addressed the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871 and reprimanded the bill. This necessitated the Civil Rights Act of 1875. However, Democrat whites had regained power in the south leaving the African-Americans without representation in the congress. This allowed them to draft and pass bills that disenfranchised many poor whites and most Negros establishing white supremacist regimes (Ushistory.org, 2013). There was denial of the African-American political and civil rights through terrorizing attacks from lynch mobs and vigilante groups. A convict labor system also forced thousands of African-Americans into unpaid labor on plantations and in mines was reminiscent of slavery. Only a small number purchased land after the civil war. The African-Americans started migrating to the industrially emerging north from the agrarian south that had become increasingly difficult. However, the reception in the north was not a walk in paradise. Northerners were prejudiced against the African-Americans though the legal systems in the states were not as imposing on their rights as the south. White laborers complained of the flooding of the employment market by the African-Americans and lowering of wages. The “Negroes” segregated in urban slums by practice (Rau 7). Among these slums was Harlem. The neighborhood was a design for white workers who needed to commute to the city. Nevertheless, the project was overambitious, as the transportation could not cater for the populace. The district abandoned by whites, was sold, and rented to black real estate agents and tenants. The push of blacks from the city’s metropolitan area saw them move to the neighborhood en masse. The brightest black intellectuals, entrepreneurs, and advocates positioned themselves in Harlem bringing institutions, businesses, and a wide range of talents and ambitions with them. The neighborhood became “the Black Mecca” (Herringshaw 26). A large number of African-Americans joined the neighborhood during the First World War. The activities of the war created a deficit and demand for industrial labor while ceasing the migration of laborers from European countries. This caused the Great Migration of thousands of African –Americans in the city and into the neighborhood of Harlem. After the war, African-American soldiers from units like the Harlem Hellfighters returned to a nation with citizens who had no respect for their accomplishments due to the virulent White Racism (Ushistory.org, 2013). The Renaissance started developing in the late 1910s.

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