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Harlem Renaissance - Essay Example

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By the end of the first decade of the twentieth century Harlem in Manhattan, New York had become a prosperous black middle class neighborhood, stemming from the economic elevation of many thousand African-Americans. This rise in economic status brought about a sense of…
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Harlem Renaissance

Download file to see previous pages... Supported by the African American Church and even more so by the African American writers, playwrights, artists, and musicians; the expression of African American resentment and the new grown self- confidence was demonstrated in their protests of American entry into the First World War in 1917. The Harlem Renaissance was very vocal against what they believed was a capitalist war that was not in their interests, and so exhorted the African American brought into New York from the South to support the war effort, to join the trade unions instead of being involved in the actual fighting in the war. Yet, many of the African Americans did go to war, expecting to get full citizenship. The denial of citizenship along with the segregation faced by them in the army, caused the returning soldiers to be involved in the expression demanding more rights for the African Americans (Williams, p.1-20).
The newly found prosperity of the African Americans disappeared with the Great Depression in 1929. This was to have a profound impact on the survival of the Harlem Renaissance. In the beginning, the Great Depression had little impact on the fortunes of Harlem. Life went on as usual and the great writers continued to churn out inspirational works that expressed the African American desire of greater freedom and social expression. Yet, the era of the great days of Harlem were over. Erosion of the new found prosperity gradually reduced the importance of Harlem, as people strived to face the challenges of the Great Depression. The final nail in the coffin was the repeal of Prohibition by the government in 1933. The nightlife of Harlem disappeared, with the population of Manhattan preferring to remain in Manhattan, as they could drink legally in Manhattan. Many of the Harlem residents lost their jobs and were forced to eke out a living in penury, leading to racial riots (Worth, p. 92-98). Yet, to view the impact of the Harlem Renaissance as limited to ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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