The Harlem Renaissance and the "New Negro" Essay

The Harlem Renaissance and the "New Negro" Essay

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As white soldiers and soldiers of color returned home from the devastation of World War I, many African Americans thought that fighting for their country and the democracy it championed would finally win them total equality at home. However, they found themselves marching home to fight a “sterner, longer, more unbending battle against the forces of hell in our own land” (Du Bois “Returning Soldiers”). They fought against atrocities abroad only to return to an even more horrifying day to day reality. Their children could not attend schools with white children, most were stripped of their right to vote, and racial violence by groups such as the Ku Klux Klan were everyday occurrences. “In an era marked by race riots, a resurgence of the Ku Klux Klan, and new brands of scientific racism, the New Negro of the Harlem Renaissance embraced black beauty, African roots, and African folk wisdom while projecting urban sophistication, celebrating the social and biological mixing of the races, and holding out for democratic practices that reflected democratic ideals” (Ferguson viii). What began in 1890 that became known as the Great Migration lured thousands of African Americans to the north, where they felt that they could reach a better life with more opportunity than by remaining in the south (“The Harlem Renaissance”). They found themselves excluded from society in the north as well, secluded to predominantly black communities like Harlem, New York. In these ever growing pockets of outcasted communities, an outburst of culture flourished off of the resentment, angst, and frustration of the citizens that resided there. The very country they had fought for, the fellow citizens that they would have died to protect, had shunned them, but they w...

... middle of paper ...

...t had fought for it since the beginning, all the way back to the roots of the “New Negro” in Harlem, New York.

Works Cited

Du Bois, W.E.B. "Returning Soldiers." Editorial. May 1919. Print.
Ferguson, Jeffrey B. The Harlem Renaissance: A Brief History with Documents. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2008. Print.
"The Harlem Renaissance." Independence Hall Association. Web. 2 Apr. 2014.
Hughes, Langston. "The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain." Editorial. 1926. Print.
Locke, Alain. "Harlem." The Survey Graphic, Harlem Issue (1925). Print.
Locke, Alain. "The Negro: "New" or Newer"?" Opportunity 1939. Print.
Randolph, A. Philip, and Chandler Owen. "The New Negro-What Is He?" The Messenger [New York City] Sept. 1920. Print.
Richard, Wormser. "The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow . Jim Crow Stories . The Harlem Renaissance |." PBS. PBS. Web. 2 Apr. 2014.

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