In the 1920s, Harlem, New York City, experienced a cultural, social and an artistic explosion.

African-American Culture and Works of art during the Harlem Renaissance
In the 1920s, Harlem, New York City, experienced a cultural, social and an artistic explosion. The movement was characterized by various blends of arts, music, literature, and folklore (Watson 1-6). The cultural expressions of the African-Americans led to spread of literary knowledge, feeling of freedom, campaigns for gender equality and black identities. Criticism and controversial analysis through literary works exist on Harlem Renaissance. The historical development of the era was commenced by “The Great Migration” from the Southern regions by the Negros (Philipson 146). The period was actively enhanced between 1917 and 1933 by several known artists and writers.
Langston Hughes was a critical contributor to the African American poems that helped the white people understand and embrace the lifestyles of the blacks. Zora Neale Hurston was another key player during the period of transformation. In her novels and Forkores, she illustrated the indigenous culture of the black people. She also championed the rights of the feminine and revealed the plights of the female blacks during the period (Hull 6-37). Jessie Fauset is another writer that positively contributed positively to the Harlem Renaissance with her novels and poems. This paper aims to discuss the literary works by Hughes, Hurston, and Fauset during the period of change. The paperwork outlines their impact on African American literature and how they were handled by the white people and the media. The paperwork also describes the link between modernism and the Harlem Renaissance.
History and Development of the Harlem Renaissance

In the early years of the twentieth century, Harlem was a region where migrants around the country and from the southern areas settled to seek employment. Educated groups of people and the middle-class Negro also made it an area of destination, and they made it a city of culture (Philipson 145-160). In the early days of 1900, Harlem was a growing African-American neighborhood. The Great Migration was also a social base of the movement. The black communities in the region were still affected by the actual white racism during that period despite their continued growth (Watson). Their popularity increased as more ethnic immigrants flowed in. The various races were uplifted as the socioeconomic environment grew.
In late periods of 1910, the initial stage of the Harlem Renaissance commenced. The eventful “Three Plays for a Negro Theatre” happened in 1917 and it marked the start of the influential African-American movement. Several black actors participated in the event as they conveyed human feelings, behaviors, and actions (Hutchinson). Ridgely Torrance was the white playwright that hugely contributed in writing the play. They helped in eroding the stereotypes on the minstrel show and the perception of blackface. Claude McKay published a militant sonnet with a name “If We Must Die” in 1919. It captured matters of inheritance of culture in African ways and adoption of urban experience through modernism. The movements by the Negros orchestrated the formation of their organizations and public newspapers. Expansion of the North created more room for African Americans from the south. Abolition of slavery also enhanced the growth of Harlem Renaissance (Philipson).
Without a doubt, Religion also played a significant role in the Harlem Renaissance. Poetic critics and writers investigated the role of Christianity in the lives of the black people. Langston Hughes wrote a well-known poem during the movement which was a clear reflection of the attitudes that people exhibited towards religion in the Harlem Renaissance (Lewis 3). The region was a favored nightlife terminus. The Negros acquired chances of publicizing their artworks and opportunities of gaining popularity despite the religious controversies that surrounded them. African-American priest experienced difficulties in evangelizing the gospel in Catholic churches. They also encountered obstacles when demonstrating their faith in the Methodist Churches. Racist policies against the blacks were formulated in higher positions in the Church.
The migration and movements of the blacks eventually resulted in the historic explosions in the social sectors and arts (“History of African Americans”). The period went until the late years of 1930 and marked a significant era for the African-American culture. There were various forms of manifestations in literature, arts, music, and theatrical performance. The rise of jazz was experienced in the area. The careers of Langston Hughes and Neale Hurston that were based on literature helped in spreading the pride and identities of the black people (Bentley). It marked a generation when the African Americans were no longer born as slaves but as free people. Harlem has grown into a real estate market where property buyers meet with sellers to make deals and black people of different races occupy with great freedom.
Langston Hughes was born in 1902 and died in 1967. He contributed hugely to the African American poetry and novels. Also, he was a social activist that played an essential role during the Harlem Renaissance. Hughes is remembered as one of the most popular poetry writers during the period of change. Most of his works were done between 1920 and mid-1930. The writings he worked on mainly illustrated the lives of the black people. He highlighted the difference between the lifestyles of African Americans and their Caucasian counterparts. His professional experience kicked off he made a publication of his collection of poetries under “The Weary Blues” (Shmoop 13). During his time, Jazz music was the order of the day. Just like the African American community, he was a big fan of the jazz music. The writer specialized in a broad category of literature ranging from plays to novels.
Without a doubt, Hughes first work that was a poem on “The Negro Speaks of Rivers” whose publication was made in 1921 brought him into the limelight in the Harlem Renaissance period. The writer narrates of having seen amazing rivers like the Congo, Euphrates, and the Mississippi (Bentley 4). Hughes expression on the positive influence of the broad streams of Africa on his soul helped the people understand the unusual nature in the world of the blacks.
Unquestionably, Hughes depicted a conscious desire to be like the white in his book on “The Negro artist and the racial mountain.” In the paperwork, Hughes talked about a writer who wanted to be like the white poets (Hughes 3). The poet that Hughes describes is from the typical group and is a Christian who fellowships with a Baptist church. From the story, it is clear that the parents of the worked in places attended by the whites. The poet desires not to be a Negro. He admires the white society and wants to be like the white poets. The writer also highlighted the failure by the American institutions to standardize the education system where the blacks had equal opportunities. With an example of a black woman who loves listening to Spanish songs but not folks presented by black singers opened the eyes of the African Americans on the need to embrace their own culture. Hughes identified the people loved dull hymns created by the whites instead of black churches that used uplifting and rocking songs.
According to the Poetry Foundation, the black intellectuals criticized some works of Hughes because he portrayed an unattractive view of the black way of life. The white press another literary magazines embraced his works of art. The Negros considered his work on “Fine Clothes to the Jew” as a disgrace to their black race (“Poetry Foundation”). The prolific writings of Hughes, however, had a positive influence on the Harlem Renaissance. His poetries and scripts steered equality in America and escalated the musical and artistic explosions between 1920 and 1930s.
Zora Hurston was a crucial player in the Harlem Renaissance period by her artworks on folklore, essays, and novels. She was born in Alabama in 1891 and died in 1960. Articles, short stories, and plays were published cautery of her marvelous works. She was regarded as the prom queen of the New Negro Movement. She collaborated with Hughes in championing for the rights of the African Americans (“Harlem Renaissance Literature”). The most critical roles her works played during the period were on voicing the feminist needs. She addressed matters of sexuality and championed against the plights that the feminine faced during the time of change. The novels she wrote represented the voice and concerns of black women in Harlem. She is an excellent example of how freedom in a dominant black region can give way to brilliant minds.
“Mules and Men” is one of the most recognized works of art by Hurston between 1920s and 1930s. The book was a combination of folklore and voodoo of the Southern America. The indigenous culture of the blacks from the south was well illustrated in the book. The voices of the people she worked with and interviewed during her research were so clear from the writings. Her novel entitled “Their Eyes Were Watching God” illustrated different matters that were linked to sexuality. The novel described the life of a girl who went through relationships with various men. The script that was set in South Florida in the early years of the twentieth century substantiated the kind of life that some black girls went through (Douglas 117). Her great works had an evident cohesion with the cultural movement headed by the African Americans
Without a doubt, Hurston was concerned about female identity and issues of sexuality. The African American women experienced twofold discrimination: gender bias and racism. Her writings described the importance of feminine character during the era of change (Chambliss). The female slaves have mainly involved in domestic chores away from the emasculating male duties. They, however, struggled with self-acceptance after periods of sexual discrimination. Hurston was criticized by the white due to her desire to embrace cultural identity using vernacular from the Southern Region (Puchko 44). The white masters assimilated women into superficial levels. Her works later rejuvenated interest among the white people who could visit Harlem to have a glimpse of the culture and nightlife. Her use of symbolic language and stories contributed positively to the Harlem Renaissance.
Also, Hurston’s publications and life revealed the historical dynamics in class, gender, and race in the American community (Ralph 26). She was able to identify with white who could sponsor her works of art. She also used funny stories to identify with various races and gender during the Harlem Renaissance. The abilities made her one of the most memorable writers and scholars during the period. Her interest in preserving the African Heritage through art and music gave her a full acceptance by the African Americans who were part of the Renaissance.
Jessie Fauset is remembered continuously as one of the most significant architects of the memorable Harlem Renaissance. She worked together with Johnson Weldon and Du Bios to shape the African American Literature. She was born in 1882 and died in the year 1961. During her time, she worked as an editor, educator, novelist, essay writer, and poet in the African American literature (Lewis 3). Most of her literary work during the era of change supported social movements. She encouraged black writers to empower the characteristics of their race in their paperwork. Her novels during the Renaissance period explored the lifestyles of the middle-class people who were black. Her works are the evidence of the critical roles she played during the era.
To convey a positive perception of her people, Fauset published four novels between 1924 and 1933 (Johnson 147). The story entitled “There is Confusion” earned the praise of several literary experts and was recognized by the New York Times. The novel was against the negative fictions that were created against the Negros. It urged the American people to embrace the racial diversities and come to an agreement with sophisticated racial histories. Her novel on “Plum Bum” also helped in gaining the African-American identity. Faucet’s novel on “The Chinaberry Tree” played a critical role in ensuring that the African American middle class gained respect in the society. Discrimination of the black due to their skin color reduced substantially due to her literary works during the Harlem Renaissance (Jerkins 314).
Without a doubt, most of the black literature analysts endorsed the excellent works of Fauset because of the ambiance in her novels (Johnson 147). The black life was regarded highly in the pyramid by her actions. Most black readers of the books appreciated the positive aspects of their lives in the stories. The educated appreciated her focus on the economic plights of the black people and their culture (“African American History”). Alain Locke is one of the literary intellectuals that admired Fauset’s novels during the 1920s. He believed that a novel such as “The Confusion” was educative on the better lives of the black people in, the higher class. The writings enabled the African Americans to acquire a positive image against the servant perceptions that were painted on them. The short stories and poems by her also helped in empowering the Negro.
As a literary editor and a novelist, she published the works of other significant players in the Harlem Renaissance such as Langston Hughes and Georgia Douglass (Femi). She traveled across Europe and Africa during her work as a journalist. Her experiences and observations were documented to create more insights into the lives of black Americans. She also wrote about the freedom and industrialization that was accompanied by the Great Migration. All her works that had a positive impact on the Harlem Renaissance were inspired by the inaccuracy on how people portrayed the black Americans. She was responsible for the empowerment of African American voices during the Renaissance period.
The late 19th Century and early 20th Century were the periods of literary modernism associated with cultural trends and transformations. The traditional ways of writing and music that exploded during the Harlem Renaissance have a direct link with modernism in literature. The change was a critical moment of movement for the Afro-Americans (Baker 16). The literary movement through modernism marked the end of traditional was of perception, expression, and representation for the black people (Houston). The era was characterized by modernist poems, ways of lives, and social organizations (“Modernism and the Harlem Renaissance”). The works of art, writings, and music through the African American Modernism influence the work and actions of key literary players in the Harlem Renaissance (Baker 4).
Unquestionably, Modernism presented various styles of arts and philosophy that guided the works of artists in the early 20th Century. The philosophical movements and trends were borrowed by the prominent writers and activists. The study of African American literature that was initiated in the 1920’s acknowledged the role of practices and social matters of modernism (Moglen 1192). Hughes argued that modernism was a gift due to the methods that positively represented the blacks. In his poems, he clarified the modernistic and aesthetic actions escalated the racial and economic empowerments (Moglen 1197). The writings of most Modernist authors such as William Faulkner and Marcel Proust disregarded consecutive continuity and lack of change (“Modernism”). Their works steered various literary movements in the early 20th Century with Harlem Renaissance being one of them.
Artistic composers in the Harlem Renaissance and modernism had a common intention (Odyssey 11). They made social statements that only readers could understand after analysis between and beyond the lines. For example, E. Cummings is a modernist poet used the image of a man rushing through his thoughts. Langston Hughes, who is a Harlem Renaissance poet, composed his literary work with modernistic features. Hughes depicted an internal conflict that was associated with social unrest and racism against the blacks. The two movements, therefore, have a close relationship when theoretical traditions and literacy are taken into consideration (Gosselin 37). Both the American modernism and Harlem Renaissance shared matters of alienation and primitive cultures surrounding the black people. They both adopted writing and traditional art techniques that communicated change.
In conclusion, the explosion of art and literature between the 1920s and 1930s was a historical process. After the great migration, African Americans were able to settle in Harlem. They later made it an area of black culture and social transformation marked by the Harlem Renaissance. Literary experts were the major contributor to the explosion with their works on different forms of art, music, poems, novels, and folklore. The poetries and writings by Langston Hughes expressed characteristics of an African life and the desire to embrace the white culture by other people. Some intellectuals criticized his works due to unattractive expressions on the black life. Most Negros realized the need for transformation to embrace their own culture through jazz music and other forms of art from his work. The folklores and novels by Zora Hurston helped in communicating the challenges faced by black feminists. Her works also escalated the cultural movement by conveying a positive perception about her people. Literary modernism that constituted cultural trends and transformations had a direct link with Harlem Renaissance. Major participants in the period of change borrowed modernistic philosophical movements and styles of art. The two had a common feature regarding historical literature and theoretical traditions of art.

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