Harlem Renaissance: History

The Harlem Renaissance began around 1918 to 1920 and was an era of African American art. The period was sparked by literary discussions in lower Manhattan (Greenwich Village) and Upper Manhattan (Harlem and New York City). The movement was known as the “New Negro Movement” coined by Alain Leroy Locke in 1925. The “New Negro” was a term related to African Americans during the Great Migration who had moved from the south to northern cities in the United States in search of better education, employment, and suffrage. “The New Negro” was utilized to describe African Americans as artistic, conscious and sophisticated, as opposed to the stereotypes of African Americans being innately servile.
The Harlem Renaissance was known as having a militant edge. The era acted as a celebration and development of the intellectual achievements of African Americans. It was also described as a literary movement and social revolt against the racism implemented by Jim Crow Laws. This period was utilized to recreate the Black identity through varied mediums: music, literature, visual art, and entertainment.
The Harlem Renaissance also sparked the notion of the “New Negro Woman”, relating to women poets, authors and intellectuals, known for their race conscious writing. Women in the Harlem Renaissance played a vital role as the voice for the struggling minority of African American women. African American women utilized the movement to express their views on race and gender relations.