What Is the Harlem Renaissance: Essay

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Many movements have happened over the years but none were as powerful as the Harlem Renaissance. Throughout the 1920s, the Harlem Renaissance was a social development that gave another lifestyle to African Americans. While Harlem gave off a setting with amazing materials for an artist to thrive, it also highlighted struggles during those times. Things such as verses, books, and short stories were loaded with scenes and characters that made Harlem pop. Essayists, for example, Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston, were few of many that depicted New York’s ghetto lifestyle. Harlem was energetic with its music, culture, and vivid styles. African Americans were confronted with civil problems such as racism, separation, and violence. The Harlem Renaissance caused many changes for the Black community and paved a way for future generations. The message they were trying to convey was that blacks are tired of being mistreated and are ready to fight for their basic rights which were taken away for many years. Infamous speeches like Martin Luther King Jr’s “I Have A Dream” speech or Frederick Douglass's “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July” speech, gave the Black community hope for a better lifestyle which helped push their message to the White people. Education, self-expression, and freedom were slowly progressing within the black community of Harlem, New York. Martin Luther King Jr. and his letter from Birmingham Jail and the case file named “Brown vs. The Board of Education”, show how much the people of color had to fight for their basic rights such as their education, their freedom, and the way they express themselves.

Without education, many Blacks would not be as historic as they are now. Not having an education limits the things people can do since they were not taught how or when to do some things. Many people of color were not given a fair chance to receive the same education as Whites. This was apparent when in the case file of “Brown vs. The Board of Education”, Chief Justice Warren argues, “The plaintiffs contend that segregated public schools are not “equal” and cannot be made equal.” Many negros felt that their children deserved better than how they were getting treated. This case pushed the black movement for equality one step closer to being complete during the Harlem Renaissance. The doctrine “separate but equal“ was mentioned a lot, in this case, to illustrate how wrong it was presented to the Blacks. Chief Justice Warren also concluded, “We conclude that, in the field of public education, the doctrine of “separate but equal” has no place.” The doctrine was not fair to the Blacks because it felt as if the Whites still controlled everything.

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During the Harlem Renaissance, Blacks were starting to get known for the way they were expressing themselves. Many people of color choose to make books and short stories to express the true separation they were put through because it connected with their lifestyles. Martin Luther King’s letter from Birmingham Jail placed down a foundation for the upcoming events which would change the lives of the Black community. In King’s letter, he states, “when you have seen hate-filled policemen curse, kick, and even kill your black brothers and sisters; when you see the vast majority of your twenty million negro brothers smothering in an airtight cage of poverty in the midst of an affluent society…” Sadly, Blacks were trapped in these unruly times where if they were to do anything that made the White people feel underpowered or as if they aren’t in control then they were punished. This is what started more and more Blacks to rise up and take action against the Whites and their cruel punishments causing more speeches or novels to be put out. In his letter, King later mentions, “Let us all hope that the dark clouds of racial prejudice will soon pass away and the deep fog of too distant tomorrow the radiant stars of love and brotherhood will shine over our great nation with all their scintillating beauty.” Martin Luther King just wanted the undesirable hate to stop and come to a peaceful conclusion. The letter gave Blacks the tool of self-expression without having the fear of being punished because of what they said.

The 13th amendment ceased slavery and gave many Blacks hope of freedom. Although the harsh things Blacks were put through, many fought for their freedom with the use of violence. Many felt that if they fought violence with violence the Whites would back off and give people of color more freedom. Martin Luther King was one of the leaders during this battle for freedom and rights. In his letter from Birmingham Jail King pleads, “We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.” King wrote to express a whole community of people's feelings and he did an amazing job that clearly helped his generation and future generations. His speeches and letters captured the true pains that Blacks endured. This is best shown in his letter when he explains, “..when you are harried by day and haunted by night by the fact that you are a Negro, living constantly at tiptoe stance, never quite knowing what to expect next, and are plagued with inner fears and outer resentment; when you are forever fighting a degenerating sense of “nobodiness” —then you will understand why we find it difficult to wait.” This was felt by all Blacks because it fully captures the depressing times that they were put through.

The Harlem Renaissance was one of the best movements to happen. It gave people of color hope, more freedom, basic rights, and more avenues to be somebody and do something special. Even though the Harlem Renaissance is over, the movement of fighting for equality isn’t. This is still an ongoing issue that the people of color are still fighting for to this day. “You’re not to be so blind with patriotism that you can't face reality. Wrong is wrong, no matter who does it or says it.” — Malcolm X

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What Is the Harlem Renaissance: Essay. (2023, March 01). Edubirdie. Retrieved May 20, 2024, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/what-is-the-harlem-renaissance-essay/
“What Is the Harlem Renaissance: Essay.” Edubirdie, 01 Mar. 2023, edubirdie.com/examples/what-is-the-harlem-renaissance-essay/
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What Is the Harlem Renaissance: Essay [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2023 Mar 01 [cited 2024 May 20]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/what-is-the-harlem-renaissance-essay/

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