El renacimiento

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  • Publicado: 4 de mayo de 2010
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Harlem... A Space of Discovery

Much has been said about how African American culture flourished through the years after their unfortunate period of slavery. A unique and exquisite culture developed and grew allowing the whole world to see and appreciate African American intellectuality, artistic talent, and entrepreneurship capacity. Throughout the years, African American writers, poets,musicians, dancers, and painters have delighted the world offering the richness of their culture and their heritage. It is, in fact, fair to say that African American art and culture is directly connected to the history of it’s people. Every piece of the African American talent exposes a mixture of African origins and the experiences lived by black people in America ( the black people who’s ancestorswere brought from Africa and forced to be slaves; the black people who were born slaves and forced to live under inhumane conditions; the black people who strived to find their own identity and be valued and respected for it). During the 1920‘s, a period known as the “Harlem Renaissance” took place in the U.S. The Harlem Renaissance is certainly of great importance to the African Americanculture since it represents a period where blacks were able to flourish intellectually and artistically finding their own identity and building a foundation for social equality in the coming years. It is important to analyze the background and reasons that brought African Americans to eventually migrate to Harlem; the beginning of the movement that took place in this area; the different forms ofexpression that flourished during this period, and finally how the challenges of the Great Depression brought it to an end.

According to statistics, about 15 million African men, women and children were sold to work as slaves in different parts of the world. Most of this slaves went to America. The cotton and tobacco fields required intensive labor and the African men were forced to work on them inexchange of food and shelter. Beyond that, they had no possessions except the unforgettable memory of the dances and songs of their native Africa (Brown).
In the period during and after World War I many African Americans started to migrate to northern cities. They had very little opportunities in the South were many of them were located. Their unfortunate situation led them to desperation sincein addition to the hard work they had to do in order to survive, they also had to deal with racial violence and segregation. This unbearable situation led many of them to migrate North with the promise of an economic stability that would offer better opportunities for them and their families. This migration took place around the period of the 1910’s. Among the cities where many of the AfricanAmericans move to, were Chicago, Buffalo, Detroit, and New York City. What eventually brought them to Harlem could be seen as destiny. In the beginning, this area was destined to be occupied by high class White Americans, but the landlords were not able to fill all the spaces they had for rent and became desperate. They started renting the spaces to black Americans who would pay a higher rate thanwhat the white Americans did. Little by little, more black people where drawn to live in Harlem and leave the old neighborhoods in other areas of New York were they lived. The Black Church was key for the settlement of the black community in Harlem. They occupied former white churches and started promoting a sense of religious unity among blacks. White Americans in the neighborhood triedunsuccessfully to stop the African Americans from taking Harlem, but soon the area became a key spot for the “renaissance” of the African American culture. The neighborhood soon was segregated, but in a way, this kept it protected from the racial violence that was taking place all over the country during that period of time. Black people had many opportunities of growth and development and some started...
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