The New Negro By Alain Locke Essay

The New Negro By Alain Locke Essay

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“The New Negro” as described by Alain Locke is seeking social justice, however he is doing so in a way different from the various forms of resistance that preceded him. Locke describes a shift from radicalism in the fight for social justice to a need to build a relationship between races. The “New Negro” has come to the realization that assimilation into American culture is not a viable answer; therefore he has decided to build his own culture in collaboration with American culture. The construction of this culture became known as The New Negro Movement or The Harlem Renaissance. This was the attempt of the black community to birth for themselves a status quo in which they were no longer defined by their oppressors’ views. It was with in this time that the term “New Negro” was coined.
The term “New Negro” is a metaphor. It however held great significance to its cohort. New signified the opposition to the “old negro”, the Negro of slavery. New in itself can be defined as the beginning or birth of something. In The Trope of a New Negro and the Reconstruction of the Image of the Black, Author Henry Louis Gates states that New signified a utopia, a place of happiness, which is non-existent. ” The figure, moreover, combine simplicity both an eighteenth century vision of utopia with a nineteenth-century idea of progress…. “. Gates goes on to explain the New Negro as a person with no belonging, “A paradox of this sort of self-willed beginning is that its "success" depends fundamentally upon self-negation a, turning away from the "Old Negro" and the labyrinthine memory of black enslavement and toward the register of a "New Negro," an irresistible, spontaneously generated black and sufficient self. Perhaps a more profound paradox of th...


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...n, the largest in U.S. history, African Americans and others started to arrive in large numbers in urban areas from many parts of the rural South, New York absorbed the largest numbers. The found they could not escape the race consciousness that bound together a people sharing a history of oppression. The migrants inspired by an economic boom, and surrounded by an atmosphere of artistic revolt, blacks became a collective, critical mass whose culture and spirit were quickly recognized for newness and difference The art was unique because it was drawn directly from a communal lifestyle, the rituals, folk, oral, and musical customs of Africa, which held the memory and often the form of the original. It was unique also because it had developed for the most part in isolation, apart from the mainstream, transforming and adapting the very culture that sought to suppress it.

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