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Harlem Renaissance: The American Dream Redefined

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Danyelle Milton

on 8 May 2014

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Transcript of Harlem Renaissance: The American Dream Redefined

Harlem Renaissance: The American Dream Redefined
Harlem Renaissance
Great Migration: Why Did They Leave?
Racism through the Jim Crow Laws in the South.
African Americans were also attracted to the many opportunities available in northern states. There were great labor demands and greater access to the rights of citizens in northern states.
Wages in the north ranged from $3-$5 per eight hour day, compared to $.75-$1 in southern agriculture
In northern states, there was better acces to health care, schools, and more voting rights.
Alain Locke

W.E.B DuBois

James Weldon Johnson

The American Dream
Langston Hughes
1902-1967
Music
Duke Ellington was one of the most prolific composers of the twentieth century.
He formed the Duke Ellington Orchestra, which played at some of the hottest night clubs and Harlem and received national prominence.
American Dream Redefined
The Harlem Renaissance redefined the American Dream because instead of trying to be white in order to “pass” and live up to the “predestined” standards of the American Dream created by white America, African Americans were encouraged to become The New Negro: the African American who embraces his or her heritage, creating a new sense of black pride and using the power of language to express the harshness of their past and encourage fellow African Americans to be persistent in achieving their dreams despite the injustices of society.
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Shorter 8th ed. 1 vol. Ed. Nina Baym. New York: Norton, 2013. 308-323. Print.

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Hirschman, Charles. “America’s Melting Pot Reconsidered.”
Annual Review of Sociology
Vol. 9 (1983):
397-423.
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Hughes, Langston. “Mother to Son.”
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Shorter 8th ed. 1 vol. Ed.
Nina Baym. New York: Norton, 2013. 2223. Print.

Hughes, Langston. "The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain."
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Literature.
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PBS Online, n.d. Web. 26 Apr 2014.

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Mother to Son by Langston Hughes
Well, son, I’ll tell you:
Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.
It’s had tacks in it,
And splinters,
And boards torn up,
And places with no carpet on the floor—
Bare.
But all the time
I’se been a-climbin’ on,
And reachin’ landin’s,
And turnin’ corners,
And sometimes goin’ in the dark
Where there ain’t been no light.
So boy, don’t you turn back.
Don’t you set down on the steps
’Cause you finds it’s kinder hard.
Don’t you fall now—
For I’se still goin’, honey,
I’se still climbin’,
And life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.
"One of the most promising of the young Negro poets said to me once, "I want to be a poet--not a Negro poet," meaning, I believe, "I want to write like a white poet"; meaning subconsciously, "I would like to be a white poet"; meaning behind that, "I would like to be white." And I was sorry the young man said that, for no great poet has ever been afraid of being himself. And I doubted then that, with his desire to run away spiritually from his race, this boy would ever be a great poet. But this is the mountain standing in the way of any true Negro art in America--this urge within the race toward whiteness, the desire to pour racial individuality into the mold of American standardization, and to be as little Negro and as much American as possible."
An ideology that suggests that anyone in the United States can succeed through hard work and has the ability to lead a happy, successful life.
The idea of the American Dream is rooted in the United States Declaration of Independence which proclaims that "all men are created equal" and that they are given certain inalienable rights by their Creator, which includes Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.
In the early 1920's African American writers, musicians, and performers took place in a great cultural movement known as the Harlem Renaissance, originally known as the New Negro Movement.
The Harlem Renaissance was an outpouring of creative expression by African Americans that had been bottled up by the constraints of segregation, fostering a new black cultural identity.
The Founding Fathers
"So I am ashamed for the black poet who says, "I want to be a poet, not a Negro poet," as though his own racial world were not as interesting as any other world. I am ashamed, too, for the colored artist who runs from the painting of Negro faces to the painting of sunsets after the manner of the academicians because he fears the strange unwhiteness of his own features. An artist must be free to choose what he does, certainly, but he must also never be afraid to do what he must choose."
Due to the Great Migration North, one of the most significant demohgraphic events in the United States, African Americans moved North in search of better opportunities.
Dramatic redistribution of the African American population.
As a result of World War I, an estimated 700,000-1,000,000 African Americans left the South.
More men than women were moving to northern states.
By 1980, over 4 million people moved out of the southern region.
An example of Du Bois' Talented Tenth
The first black executive secretary for the National Associatation for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), brining attention to racism, lynching, and segregation
He believed it was important for African Americans to produce great literature and art. By doing so, he believed blacks could demonstrate their intellectual equality and advance their placement in America
In 1925, he published
The New Negro,
an anthology of essays, stories, and poems by black writers.
He encourgaed Negro artists to change their attitudes toward themselves, urging them to not let the fetters of discrimination shackle their minds. If they were going to be artistically and culturally mature, they would have to be creative, dynamic, and confident in themselves.
Author and social activist.
One of the founding members of the NAACP
Famous for his book,
The Souls of Black Folks.
He emphasized the necessity for higher education in order to develop the leadership capacity among the most able 10 percent of African Americans, also known as the Talented Tenth.
By the time he died in 1963, he had written 17 books, edited four journals, and played a key role in re-shaping black-white relations in America.
Literature
Poet, novelist, and playwright.
Some of his famous poems are "Harlem," "Negro Speaks of Rivers," "Mother to Son," and "I Too, Sing America."
Folklorist and anthropologist.
She became the most successful and most significant black woman writer.
One of her most famous works is
Their Eyes Were Watching God.
Born in Kentucky and raised in New York by foster parents.
He believed that art transcended race, and that it could be used as a vehicle to minimize the distance between white and black people.
Bessie Smith was known as the Empress of Blues.
She was one of the most successful black performing artists of her time. While she was the greatest of the vaudeville blues singers, her struggles with alcoholism damaged her career.
Louis Armstrong was considered the most influential jazz musician of all time. He had a profound effect on the development of jazz, He is famous for introducing The Swing.

J. Henry St. John de Crevecoeur supports the idea of Americanization in his
Letters to an American Farmer
, arguing that the American is one “who, leaving behind him all his ancient prejudices and manners, receives new ones from the new mode of life he has embraced, the new government he obeys, and the new rank he holds”(312).
America says: Get rid of your identity and take on an American one
Harlem Renaissance says: Have pride and confidence in who you are as the New Negro.
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