Lost Gen And Harlem

958 Words2 Pages

The Artists of the Harlem Renaissance and the Lost Generation diverged from the mainstream to begin a separate cultures. Harlem was an area in New York with an extensive African American population. During the ‘20s poets, writers and musicians like Langston Hughes, Claude Mckay and Zora Neale Hurston made the Harlem area the center of black art and culture. The lost generation was based mainly in Paris, France. It consisted of war torn men who could not re-enter society after World War I.

In Europe nearly sixty two percent of men had been killed, captured or debilitated in the Great War. Famine and poverty plagued every nation. The Lost Generation was truly lost – they felt angered by the problems at home and many choose to abandon their pre-war land and values to move abroad and adapt a new culture and morals. The black artists of the post WWI era did not conform to mainstream society or even “regular” black society. Instead they formed their own culture aside the mainstream and the movement was dubbed the Harlem Renaissance. It was truly a coming together of black, and to some extent white, cultural figures.

There was little outside influence on the Renaissance. Neither big industry, with their endless promotions to lure customers, nor the anti-prohibition, or speakeasy culture, that characterized the roaring ‘20s affected the diverse Harlem culture. Langston Hughes was a very prominent writer during the Renaissance. He was a very well cultured man who had traveled all over to places such as the USSR, Haiti and Japan.

Refered to as the poet Laureate of New York, his writing was a vehicle to express social and political protest. His diverse use of Jazz and black folklore influenced many black writers of his time. He was also one of the first, along with Claude Mckay, black writers to attract a substantial white audience. Mckay was a Jamaican born poet and novelist. He was attracted to Harlem because of its immense diversity of culture.

He had been oppressed and harassed during the Red Scare, a nationwide hunt for radicals, because of his status as a leftist newspaper editor. His style of writing attracted crowds of people never exposed to black culture. He “used traditional forms to express unfamiliar ideas”. Zora Neale Hurston was the prominent woman during the Harlem movement. She was very much involved in black heritage and southern culture.

Open Document