The Harlem Renaissance brought about many great changes. It was a time for expressing the African-American culture. Many famous people began their writing or gained their recognition during this time. The Harlem Renaissance took place during the 1920’s and 1930’s. Many things came about during the Harlem Renaissance; things such as jazz and blues, poetry, dance, and musical theater. The African-American way of life became the “thing.” Many white people came to discover this newest art, dancing, music, and literature. The Great Migration of African-American people from the rural South to the North, and many into Harlem was the cause of this phenomenon. Harlem was originally a Dutch settlement. Harlem became one of the largest African- American communities in the United States, and during the Harlem Renaissance became a center for art and literature. Many great writers came about during this time, one of which was Langston Hughes. Hughes was born in 1902 with the name James Langston Hughes, and died in 1967. He lived most of his adult life in Harlem. He grew up without a stable family environment. His father moved to Mexico, and he never really saw much of him. Hughes was often referred to as “Harlem’s poet” (Haskins 174). Hughes had and still has a great influence on poetry.
Hughes poetry was a reflection of the African-American culture and Harlem. He wrote many poems, and continued to write even after the Harlem Renaissance. He loved Harlem that was his home. He watched it decline with the onset of the Great Depression. He saw Harlem turn into a place to be feared by many. It was a sad and dangerous place to be, after the depression. Hughes described the impact of the Great Depression upon African-Americans, “The depression brought everyone down a peg or two. And the Negro had but a few pegs to fall” (Haskins 174). Langston Hughes valued the teaching of children. Many of his poems are children’s poems. He often traveled to schools and read his poetry. His first published works were in a children’s magazine during the 1920’s. He published a book of ABC’s called The Sweet and Sour Animal Book. He wanted to inspire the youth, and make them feel good about themselves. He did not only write poetry, but that is what he is famous for. Much of his poetry talks of the hardships, poverty, inequality, etc. of the African-American people....
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...ng things. Jazz and Blues became popular. White people came to Harlem to see how blacks danced,
and what music they listened to. Harlem became a very “hip” place. The arts flourished all around Harlem. People were having fun. This influenced many people and ways that still are around today. The influence of the music can still be heard in some of our music today. Many authors today were inspired by those of the Harlem Renaissance. It was a great time for the African- American community, but at the same time it caused fighting between the middle class and poorer blacks. The feeling of inequality still existed, but at least African-Americans were finally getting some recognition for some of the wonderful accomplishments that they have made.
Haskins, Jim. The Harlem Renaissance. Brookfield, Conn: Millbrook Press, 1996.
Hughes, Langston. “Harlem.” The Heath Anthology of American Literature. 3rd ed. Ed.
Paul Lauter. New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1998. 1619.
Hughes, Langston. “I, Too.” Lauter 1618.
Hughes, Langston. “The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain.” Lauter 1629-32.
Hughes, Langston. “The Negro Speaks of Rivers.” Lauter 1612-13.
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