In less than twenty years time, the African American population of just Harlem, New York grew from about 50,000 to around 200,000 people. Thus, becoming an enormous part of the commonly known ?Great Migration that started during World War one, began what is known as the Harlem Renaissance. The ?Great Migration is the main cause of the Harlem Renaissance; without it, it seems that African Americans would not have pushed as hard for the recognition of their culture had they remained in the south. African Americans demanding the acknowledgment of their culture and identity in general, is another major cause. They returned from fighting in the war to find that their status had not changed at all, they were still regarded as less than human by most of the American population. They demanded a change for risking their lives for a country that did not appreciate it. Then the effects that sprouted from these actions were tremendous.
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There was an appreciation of the African American culture emerging and many African Americans were becoming nationally and/or internationally recognized. With Louis Armstrong being seen as one of the greatest jazz players in history and Langston Hughes being an internationally known poet, this was a huge success for African American people. There was finally a definitive identity for the African American people. They had fought so diligently in the war to defend and protect a country that wouldnt even recognize them as human beings, so they demanded recognition. One of the major effects of the Harlem Renaissance is that it lay a foundation that would be used during the Civil Rights movement. The Harlem Renaissance was brought about by many different causes and their effects were nothing short of what was needed to begin the Civil Rights movement and to show that the African American people were no longer going to be ignored.
The start of the Harlem Renaissance began because of the Great Migration; without it, many African Americans wouldve remained in the South. During the Great Migration, which occurred around 1916 to the late 1950s, around five to six million southern African Americans moved to the West, Midwest, and North. This was an attempt to escape economic and racial oppression and burden they were faced with in the South. With the North being in need of employees of any race since the United States became involved in the First World War and the immigration sanctions that were put in place, African Americans were ready to jump at the chance of this prosperous change. There was such a high demand for workers that the employers were sending out memos pleading for people to work for their companies. Companies were paying the fees of transportation for African Americans so they could come work for them. This led to tension between the white people who were already there looking for jobs, and the African Americans moving in search of jobs.
With the movement to new places, specifically the north, African Americans faced comparable hardships when trying to find a place to fit in, in what was previously mainly white cities. Though it was ruled illegal in 1917 to not sell or rent to African Americans, it still occurred countless times. Racism was widespread in the North, Midwest, and West; and with the high rates of migration, racism and tension grew rapidly. With actions such as these, African Americans tended to create their own neighborhoods within cities. They found that with one another, they could freely express themselves and their talents. With the beginning of Harlem, artists of all kinds came flooding into the area where they felt welcome and unrestricted.
Harlem was originally an all-white neighborhood; but with the interminably increasing rates of African American migration, the neighborhood soon housed around 200,000 African Americans and the white families left. Soon, the African American culture grew rapidly in Harlem, and there was finally a sense of identity within the populous. With the need for African Americans in the workforce and also in the military, as well as the growing artistic movement, there was a new identity to be associated with African Americans. They demanded to be acknowledged by everyone and to be accredited for what they did.
The Harlem Renaissance History. (2019, May 23).
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