Harlem Renaissance Essay

Submitted By cup2014
Words: 1199
Pages: 5

The Harlem Renaissance
There are many important events that happened during the Harlem Renaissance. As with the Renaissance in Europe centuries before it, there was a ‘rebirth’ of literature, art, and a way to view the world, from the African-American perspective.


Many advances were made in the black community, like education, politics, religion, music, and literature. Now more than ever before, blacks could get an education, no matter how impoverished the school was, they made the most out of it. Religion changed during this time, people went to church, worshiping fervently, through approaches that were cult/sect-like with bigger churches. Marcus Garvey was a prime example of revolutionizing the way the black community viewed themselves as a people. Music changed as well, the creation of the blues, and gospel (blues) became very popular in the black community. Leading jazz artists were Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday, and Louis Armstrong. It was even more popular in Europe, since prejudice still existed in America. Since most black people could read, they wrote plays, essays, and poetry, some about freedom and some about being left out because they were black. Authors in this time included Langston Hughes, Helene Johnson, and Zora Neale Hurston.


Music can be used to reach many different types of people in the same way. No matter what language you speak, and what you're beliefs are, we can all relate to each other and understand through music. Many musicians during this time evolved a sophisticated style of music combined with poetry, and writing (lyrics). This music was used to reach out to the African American community and show their true talents that were overlooked.

Ragtime, blues, gospel, jazz, swing: these are all types of music styles. They were started at different times, yet still preserved the same purpose of African American performers. Often, this type of music explained the struggles that their people faced throughout their (and their ancestors) lives.

Short Definitions

• Ragtime: created in 1910, it was based upon marches and had a steady rhythm (like all music). The king of ragtime was Scott Joplin. • Blues: the first recorded blues music was in 1920 by Mamie Smith. blues can go from sad to happy and joyful. blues is similar, and is sometimes compared to gospel. • Gospel: similar to blues, has a religious purpose. • Jazz: New Orleans was believed to be the birthplace of jazz. By 1920, musicians from New Orleans decided to move on to cities such as Chicago and St. Louis. Jazz moved to different cities as well, such as New York. Jazz was really born in Harlem. A new type of music was brewing, and people liked it. It had vibrancy, life, and feeling. Thomas "Fats" Domino was one of the top artists of the time. • Swing: was popular in the 1930's and 40's. swing music can be related to any type of music that involves swing dancing. It's uptempo, fun, and the perfect music to dance to.


Philosophy was molded by the experience of the Harlem Renaissance, and many important philosophers emerged. And with them, knowledge and emotion did as well.

Alain Leroy Locke was one of the most influential philosophers of the Harlem Renaissance. As an educator and philosopher, he played an important part.

"In 1944, [he wrote] under the title "Moral Imperatives for World Order.” In this article, Locke strongly proclaimed his belief that “Realism and idealism should be combined in striking for a world order.” Indeed, he stated “Skeletal ideals of universal human brotherhood have been in the world a long time and we are further from tribal savagery and its tribalism because of these ideals. But they are but partial expressions of what we hope to make them mean and what today's world crisis demands.” Thus, he argued, “The moral imperatives of a new world order are an internationally limited idea of national sovereignty, a non-monopolistic and