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The Harlem Renaissance and the Civil Rights Movement

Powerful Essays
The decade after World War I and the postwar depression were hard times. Unemployment was up, spirits were down, and emotions needed lifting. Americans needed to have a good time. Still, entertainers were losing their jobs, and a gaping hole was left in the public's source of cheer. The Harlem Renaissance was the time that fixed it. African-American music gained popularity from the time when it was enjoyed free on the street through the time of the dance halls with black bands that were paid to play. African-American literature and poetry also gained a piece of the spotlight, as well as the black philosophers who were often as educated as whites. As the popularity and acceptance of black culture grew, changes started to occur.

The music, literature, and intellectuals resulting from the Harlem Renaissance helped to show whites that blacks could create art, achieve professionalism, and be as cultured as whites, which resulted in the change of some stereotypical views of whites, which in turn let the black equality movement advance with less resistance. The accelerated growth of music, literature, and intellectual achievement brought to attention that blacks could achieve as much as whites, and provided many examples. A major part of the Harlem Renaissance was the music, specifically jazz.

The music of the Harlem Renaissance was enjoyed by the young white population in the speakeasies and dance halls, which, with the radio, spread the popularity of jazz and promoted imitation by white bands, and led to the merging of black and white music styles. The Harlem Renaissance was lucky enough to start about the time of prohibition. Illegal bars, called speakeasies, needed entertainment to accompany the alcohol, and music...

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...acks to put aside their differences to enjoy music, live a little better, and develop skills on both sides. Literature spread the word of the injustices that were occurring and showed that blacks could be good writers and thinkers, which later led to greater advancement in many fields of literature and expression. The intellectuals and advancements in black philosophy created racial pride and increased the influence of blacks across the country.

The combination of all these achievements helped to reduce the stereotyping of blacks and let the goals of black rights and equality be achieved more easily. Not only has the Harlem Renaissance helped a group of oppressed people attain their civil rights, but it has also made America a more accepting country, and helped to open minds to other cultures and ideas, so people around the world may all be treated equally.
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