The Harlem Renaissance was important for its impact on the worlds of theatre, literature and jazz. Plays in the early 20th century typically portrayed negative black stereotypes through practices such as blackface, and the plays of the Harlem renaissance portrayed African-American characters as realistically human. This advancement would eventually affect all theatre in America.Continue Reading
The Harlem Renaissance also had a number of effects on literature. Newspapers such as The Voice provided a political voice for the "New Negro Movement," but also promoted both modern African-American literature as well as often-overlooked literature from the 19th century. The Harlem Renaissance also led to the emergence of a number of influential African-American writers such as Zora Neale Hurston and Langston Hughes who helped bring national attention to African-American writing.
Jazz was an important musical contribution of the Harlem Renaissance. Specifically, jazz helped to break down a number of social boundaries of the period. It helped to highlight the piano as an instrument that anyone could play, not just wealthy people. It also made black music and culture much more attractive to white people, effectively helping to break down the boundaries between the races in terms of musical composition and musical culture. These artistic contributions and the subsequent blurring of racial boundaries laid the groundwork for what would eventually be the major civil rights struggle for equality after World War II.Learn more about US History
Key events during the Harlem Renaissance include publication of many African-American poems and novels, race riots, appointment of African-Americans to prominent political positions and establishment of several key organizations promoting equality for African-Americans, such as the Race Relations Commission in 1919 and the Colored Players Guild in 1921. The Harlem Renaissance spanned nearly two decades of American history, starting with the end of World War I and lasting through the 1930s. The African-American community experienced greater prominence and respect during that time due to the achievements of several notable authors, educators and politicians.Full Answer >
Zora Neale Hurston contributed to the Harlem Renaissance by writing many stories, articles, plays and novels in the 1920s and '30s in New York. She wrote her most famous work, "Their Eyes Were Watching God," near the end of the Harlem Renaissance in 1937.Full Answer >
Others names for the Harlem Renaissance are the New Negro Renaissance and the New Negro Movement. The names gained popularity with Alain Locke's 1925 essay and anthology, both titled "The New Negro."Full Answer >
Mass culture, consumerism, jazz and Prohibition all occurred during the Roaring Twenties. The American economy began to prosper in the 1920s, becoming strong enough that many Americans had extra money to spend. This led to consumerism and mass culture. For the first time in American history, people were able to buy the same goods and listen to the same music throughout the entire nation, thanks to industry and radio.Full Answer >