Thursday, October 14, 2010

Impact of the Harlem Renaissance on the World Today

         The Harlem Renaissance was a very brief movement in history. Yet, it left a significant mark in culture of not just America, but the world. Many critics considered the Renaissance a failure of what people hoped would end all discrimination and racism towards blacks. The Harlem Renaissance did not accomplish on getting African Americans higher wages, do away with assimilation, and abolish Jim Crow laws. Some critics even dare to say that no “masterpieces” of American literature were written during this period. Still, the movement altered the arts and literature for African Americans for the years to come. The number of works from African American writers increased also because after the Harlem Renaissance, publishers were more open to black works to a significant extent.
         Literature produced from these years inspired countless numbers of artists. Some writers included Ralph Ellison and Richard Wright. Even writers in the late 20th century such as Alice Walker and Toni Morrison had roots from the Harlem Renaissance. Even some artists from outside of the United States were influenced by this moving time period. Different artists, writers, and even dancers traveled to Europe and became popular using their methods that originated during
the Harlem Renaissance.
Other cultural aspects changed in society. Black actors starred on Broadway. Ethels Waters starred in famous Broadway plays such as Africana and Blackbirds; she also performed at nightclubs and acted in movies later on. Along with Broadway, Black visual arts became popular in the period after the Renaissance.
         As for music, the Harlem Renaissance started with Ragtime and Theatre music. After the time period, it brought about Swing, and the later on, it brought jazz and blues. Eventually, Rhythm and Blues fused with Country music to create Rock ‘n’ Roll in America. The 1960’s was a time for soul; it reflected the black culture and pride. Numbers of black owned record labels rose, and black singers were more popular than ever.
         All in all, the Harlem Renaissance had a lasting effect on African American culture. Not only were there more opportunities for black artists, writers, dancers, and singers, but they also inspired artists in the present time and for years to come.

[By Jiwon Min]

Works Cited

Ethels Waters Biography. “” 10/6/20.

Hilliard, Kenneth B. The Impact of the Music of the Harlem Renaissance on Society. “Yale University.” 10/7/10.

Impact of the Harlem Renaissance. “Spiritus Temporis.” 10/6/10.

A Brief Historical Introduction to the Harlem Renaissance. “The Classics Circuit.” 10/8/10.

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