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When you think of Harlem the Harlem Renaissance, What is the first word
that comes to mind? Harlem Renaissance was the great movement of the black
race from the deep rural south to the urban Harlem city during the 1920s to
1930s. It was the time of the black Americans to show and reflect their
talents throughout society. It was the time to prove something to the world.
The time of emancipation, the time of dignity, the time of passion, the time
of the art, the time of the music, etc. Do we really know why these people
have migrated? What caused them to migrate? These are some of the questions
that filled in my mind when I think of the Harlem Renaissance. Where did
these great talented people came from? What motivated them into becoming and
showing to the world that they are somebody?
Looking back through the years and years of poverty, bad condition, unequal
living, and having no right to be able to have their own voice in a white
dominated society, these were just the bits of images that African Americans
or should I say "blacks" because either way, even if you were black from
Jamaica or from some other places, the white majority still considered you as
"niggers". A race that is inferior and has no way into revolting against
the domination of whites. There were a lot of regulations and restrictions
that blacks faced during the time of slavery. Being considered a property is
one of the hardship that they went through. They were basically treated like
animals with no saying. They were sold here and there. There were also
times that a person would get separated from their family. That person will
never again see their family! The blacks were considered second class
citizens. Although there were many obstacles that they encountered during
their time period, they were able to escape that adversity.
The main reason why people were able to escape that adversity was because
they were willing to do anything, anything that would improve their life
condition in the South.
"The wash and rush of this human tide on the beach line of the northern city
centers is to be explained primarily in terms of a new vision of opportunity,
of social and economic freedom, of a spirit to seize, even in the face of an
extortionate and heavy toll, a chance for the improvement of conditions.
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(Locke, Alain 179)
The south was a place for "slaveowners". This was a place that they had to
get out of. They had to escape and face the reality that they will never
gain independence or freedom. As revolts began to happen, the black race
was showing their pain inside, little by little proving themselves to the
white owners that they were somebody, not a property, but a human being who
should be treated equally. They have self-worth and dignity. They were now
in the step of achieving what they want "freedom".
The main place that the black southerners were blinded of was the urban
places in the North. These were the places that captured their attention.
It was like a vision that someday they’ll live there. A place of their own.
A place that they could call "home". That dream became reality. Many of
the southerners who were slaves began to migrate in the northern cities.
These were the places where they began to live a life of independence and
freedom. They had their own neighborhood, their own saying, their own place
that reflected who they are inside.
The migration of the black southerners became a success. Their lives
changed when they moved to the urban cities. Their dreams became a reality.
Many of the talented blacks had began showing what they have. That
something was their "talent". Their individuality. The people were became
known such that they started music, poetry, dances, and many more. They have
contributed greatly during that time. Many of the blacks went to pursue
their education. These people were Countee Cullen, Claude McKay, Langston
Hughes, Zora Neal Hurston, etc.
The main reason why these people got motivated was because of the harsh
treatment they encountered in the South. The deep south was the main reason
for their movement. If it wasn’t for the influence of the rural south,
nobody of the talented blacks in the Harlem Renaissance would’ve existed.
The main root of their movement was to escape the adversity faced in the
South. What made them motivated was their bravery. The more they faced
brutality or hostility; the more it made them become stronger. These were
all because of the influence of the rural South. From the second class
citizen to the most prominent people in Harlem. They have learned so many
things from the south, they have learned that they didn’t have to live in
that kind of condition. They could handle to live with themselves without
anyone taking care of them. They have the right to choose what they want in
life. There’s more to "sharecropping" or "cotton picking". There’s a life
out there that will provide them happiness and tranquility. Their lives
have changed and will continue to change due to the images that they will
always remember in the deep south.
In conclusion, Harlem Renaissance was a time of celebration. A time to
celebrate and treasure the lives of the blacks who have endured harshness and
still manage to press on to improve their conditions. For me, I believe the
migration of the blacks from the South really made a big difference. If it
wasn’t for the south, Harlem wouldn’t be as well known as it was. The south
was the place that started it all. The people of the urban Harlem learned a
lot from the hardship of their people in the rural south. They have
influence these well known people, talented in the urban cities to encourage
the importance of being black. They have proved to the world that they had
something to show, something to treasure, something to value. The value of
their "life"; the value of being a human being in the world that was once
hostile to them.