New Negro Movement
During the early 1900's, African Americans were pushing for equality. The center of this movement was in Harlem, New York. Harlem was originally developed for white workers who wanted to commute into the city, but due to the lack of people, was given cheaper to African Americans. During this time, many of the brightest and best black artists, intellectuals, and entrepreneurs lived in Harlem. The area soon became known as "the capital of black America". Critic and teacher Alain Locke described it as a "spiritual coming of age" in which the black community was able to seize upon its "first chances for group expression and self determination " (1925). Alain Locke can be known as the "Father of the of the Harlem Renaissance" for his publication in 1925 of The New Negro- an anthology of poetry, music, and plays by both white and black artists. Between 1900 and 1920, the number of African Americans doubled in New York City neighborhoods. This also happened, because the time during World War I and the Great Depression was extremely successful for the United States, and offered plentiful jobs especially in the North. Around 750,000 African Americans left the south to take advantage of the opportunities and more racial tolerance.
The Harlem Renaissance Changes Everything
The center of this movement in New York was where three of the largest civil rights groups established their headquarters. They were the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NACCP), Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League (UNIA-ACL), and the National Urban League (NUL). Together, these groups helped to establish a sense of community and empowerment to African Americans all around the world. They also provided a rare opportunity for whites to collaborate with black individuals. Instead of using more direct political means to achieve their goals, African American activists employed artists and writers of their culture to achieve equality. This movement of African American culture in European-American society, mainly in the worlds of art and music, became the Harlem Renaissance.
The Harlem Renaissance was a time for jazz, dancing, fashion, and fun. It allowed blacks to have more racial pride and freedom. Many ideas and movements from this period will live on much longer than its time.