Harlem Renaissance and the Emergence of Black Independence

Essential Question: Despite overt racism, how did Negro's improve life in the 1920's for themselves?
African Americans made great strides during the 1920's to improve their lives.  Marcus Garvey's ideas of Black Nationalism and racial pride spread throughout African Americans.  The Harlem Renaissance also played a huge role in improvement for blacks.  Artists, writers, and musicians were able to express their heritage and feelings, and were liked by the majority of the American public.  

The Effect of World War One on Harlem Renaissance

Some factors that helped the Harlem Renaissance or "New Negro Movement" include that many young, white males had to go help fight World War One in Europe. When these men left, many jobs opened in the large northern cities and blacks were the people to replace them, because most would work for low wages.  When these black men and their families moved north, there was a cultural explosion where African Americans gained national recognition.  They started thinking freely and created beautiful works of literature and jazz.  Although Renaissance means "rebirth", the Harlem Renaissance was actually a cultural birth, and this was the first time the white man started giving respect to blacks.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Racial Pride

Racial Pride was largely affected by the Harlem Renaissance ant it gave African Americans a much greater sense of self.  One of the major parts of the Harlem Renaissance was to lift Black Pride through the use of intellect.  Intellectual African Americans, using their artistic talents, challenged racial stereotypes and helped promote racial integration.  Racial Pride came to be represented in the idea of the New Negro, who through intellect, could challenge the white man's beliefs about black people and society

                                                  -African American parade holding a sign saying, "The New Negro has no Fear"

African American Contributions to a New American Culture

Harlem became famous for its concentration of talented African American artists, actors, musicians, and writers.  Writers focused on heritage, and expressed a range of emotions from bitterness and resentment to joy and hope.  Jazz music became popular all over, even with whites.  

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Marcus Garvey

Marcus Garvey brought the UNIA to the United States from Jamaica.  Unlike W.E.B. Dubois, Garvey advocated individual and racial pride for African Americans and created ideas of Black Nationalism.  He established organizations for separatism, economic self-sufficiency, and a Back-to-Africa movement.  Even though his ideas weren't very popular at the time, his thinking helped inspire a later generation to embrace the cause of black pride and nationalism.  

Thinking Like a Historian

Change and Continuity : Blacks changed their ideas about racial pride and nationalism.  They created a whole new culture and idea that they wanted to try and get their equal rights.  This was the starting point for black pride, which continued into the 1960's when Malcolm X picked up Garvey's ideas.