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Cultural History of the Harlem Renaissance

The Harlem Renaissance was an important part of literature during the 1920s. The Harlem Renaissance took place in Harlem, New York in the ’20s and was lead by African-American writers and changed the way African-Americans were view by people.

The Harlem Renaissance was a literary movement led by African-Americans in the New York area, especially Harlem. Many African-American writers began getting noticed for their writings and many people began reading literature written by African-Americans. During the renaissance, many people thought of Harlem as the “Black Mecca.” Many black writers became publicized and accepted. There were also a small number of non-black writers. African-American writers published many books of poetry and novels. The Harlem Renaissance was a good time for black writers.

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There were many writers who were associated with the Harlem Renaissance. The most popular writer was Langston Hughes. Hughes wrote many poems and was an active writer during this time. Other writers were Zora Neale Hurston and Ida B. Wells Barnett. Most of the writers who participated in the renaissance were African-American, but there were a few white writers. Carl Van Vechten was one of the white writers. Van Vechten’s most famous piece of literature is Nigger’s Heaven. This book was liked by most, but some African-Americans despised the book.

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A writer from the black publication New York News said, “ Nigger Heaven means, in common parlance, a nasty sordid corner which black folks are herded, and yet a place in which crass ignorance are fools enough to enjoy it. Harlem is no such place as that, and no one knows this better than Carl Van Vechten.” Van Vechten was criticized by whites for his involvement with the renaissance, but many African-Americans were happy that he was part of it. During the Harlem Renaissance blacks and whites worked together without problems.

The Harlem Renaissance changed the way blacks were seen by whites. The black culture became more popular and accepted by non-blacks. Many people wanted to travel to Harlem just to see what it was like. A direct result from the Harlem Renaissance was that black writers were more popular, they were also being published more and more people were reading literature written by black writers. The Harlem Renaissance was very important to blacks being accepted as equal. Charles Johnson believed that black equality could be achieved by the intellect. The Harlem Renaissance proved his belief to be true.

The Harlem Renaissance was important to African-Americans because it was the first major step towards equality. The renaissance proved wrong black stereotypes. It also made black culture more popular and accepted. The effects of the Harlem Renaissance spread beyond literature and affected the way people viewed African-Americans during the 1920s.



1.) Chambers, Veronica The Harlem Renaissance. New York, New York

2.) “The Harlem Renaissance”

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3.) Harlem 1900-1940

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Cultural History of the Harlem Renaissance. (2021, Feb 12). Retrieved March 27, 2023, from