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The Harlem Renaissance and Slave Narratives Essays

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The Harlem Renaissance began around the 1920’s and was the hub of African American artistic endeavors, with less discrimination, more freedom, and amazing strides in politics and economics which was very different from how the slaves lived and hoped, but there still were similarities like a will for a better life, and hope for the future which both embraced even though they were in a dreadful position. Of course there also are differences, in this case that Harlem writers and artist were more educated and saw education as a stair way towards progress and equality, where the slave authors didn’t have education and didn’t care about it, the second difference is their purpose and their audience which are both different in the slave narratives and in the Harlem Renaissance.

No matter of their differences in knowledge and power both the Harlem Renaissance writers and slave narratives showed the will for a better life and hope for the future, which they hoped to make better. Writers like Langston Hughes who were from the Harlem renaissance and were educated writers wrote poems like “I, Too” which talks about how the black man shall one day sit on the dinner table with the white folks, even though they have mistreated him. An example of this is “Tomorrow, I’ll be at the table when company comes, nobody’ll dare say to me eat in the kitchen then, besides they’ll see how beautiful I am and be ashamed.” Frederick Douglass gives us an example of the will for a better life, and hope for the future in his narrative when he writes this, after his fight with Mr. Covey: “It rekindled the few expiring embers of freedom, and revived within me a sense of my own manhood. It recalled the departed self-confidence, and inspired me again with a determ...


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...hestra.” In these couple of sentences Hughes talks about the glory and amazement of the shows that were happening in Harlem, and about the stars who were acting, singing, or attending the shows. Although the writings are different they have a similar goal which is to stop their people from suffering and create a better future, they also don’t forget about their culture, except that in the Harlem Renaissance the African American culture is modernized or you could say changed.

The Harlem Renaissance played a very important role in African American literature, music, art, culture, and political position, but shared the same goals as the Slave Narratives which wanted to change the way black’s were treated and free them-selves. Both brought great changed and both had influenced our world today greatly, weather through literature or culturally, they made change happen.


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