Africa American history and literature emanate from writers of African descent or colored Americans. Initialization of this genre of African American literature started with autobiographical narratives dominated with spiritual perspectives. The development of this category of dynamic literature later in the 18th century and early 19th century saw the introduction of a new genre of African American literature - slave narratives - accounting for the abolishment, freedom and fugitive narratives following expansive slavery in America (Smethurst 264). Later in the early 1920s, African American literature adopted the Harlem Renaissance initially known as the "New Negro Movement" for the intellectual, artistic and social explosion that originated from in Harlem region of New York. The movement was intended to rebirth the African American history and literature through different forms of art. This paper will explore the development of literature and history under the African American genre of the Harlem Renaissance.
Although the Harlem Renaissance started with a concentrated footing at the Harlem neighborhood in at the outcasts of the New York City where many Immigrant writers from Africa and Caribbean region colonies it later spread throughout the North American regions. The Harlem Renaissance genre of literature and history utilized issues and themes that explored the minority communities' contribution of artistic development of literature and other forms of arts in the American society. It was through this introduction and expounding to this genre of linguistic development that sought to establish integration of the voice of African culture, racism, social equity, and slavery. Over the centuries, the social and political position of African Americans evolved with the development of literature and historical preservation of their voice that was previously neglected (Lowney 259). As the literature voice struggle decamped from memoirs narratives to slave narratives the black community started making a distinct contribution to literature, especially among the freed slaves. Harlem Renaissance capitalized on airing the oppression viewpoint using different categories of genre narratives written by African America writers. This was a proposition to present the information that was previously misquoted was written by the people who had had the pressure of experiencing the struggles the black community faced in American society. The freed slaves, other black intellects among other immigrants in the new movement made emphasize to voice their thoughts against the injustices and the condemnation of slavery, and racial discrimination making history in the evolving community. At the beginning of the 20th-century key authors and thinkers had not brought themselves to debate on the subjects related to racism because the African American literature was highly unacceptable in the American society of the post-revolutionary day.
The Harlem Renaissance movement emerged after the First World War. This movement was the initiator of mainstreaming publishing and critiquing of African-American literature and other artistic materials. The original activities of the movement were literary related concepts in music, arts, politics, and theater. It emerged amidst the intellectual and socio-cultural turmoil of the black community living within the American territories when the elite black community started progressing to the middle class. This emerging category of the members of the society started accessing education and skilled employment as well as advocate for the abolishment of slavery. With the growing numbers of elite and employed black members of the community in America Harlem and its neighborhoods turned into political and cultural heritage center for the African American community. This composition gave rise to access to new racial advocacy for human rights and political representation of black people in the other wider society in America.
In literature representation, different poets and fiction authors like Senescent Charles, Dunbar Paul Laurence, Claude McKay, and Weldon James Johnson started emerging to voice the black opinion of life in literary contribution. Mainly their different narration and literature representation gave direct and indirect approaches of the misery suffered by slaves in bondage in the plantation, the road to freedom and the stereotypic marginalization faced by the freed slaves. The primary efforts of the Harlem Renaissance were felt immediately after the World War I when the first black literature was published under mainstream publishing companies. The journey of effective representation of the black voice in mainstream literary publication and readable media made the historical foundation of the literal representation of the African American literature and slave narrative with the rest of the recognized American literature. The racial struggle in theory and practice devoted to the black iterate of artistic representation in the Harlem issue featuring the literature contribution of black writers (Buck 2013). Later in that era, the initial literature materials were edited and revised by black philosophers to add to the cultural pluralism of the colored community in the larger American society. Harlem literature contribution was therefore essential for the coverage of the elite and low-level members of the African Americans in New York and later spread to the rest of the American boundaries.
The Harlem Renaissance of the African American literary devices and ideologies lacked any particular composition at the onset of the movement but, later in the development of their representation in literature and history fields they founded commitments to artistic expression to advocate for the racial themes that dominated the majority of the black literature. The literal elements of black literature were later borrowed into music like jazz and other African representation of culture and social diversity. As the Harlem movement advances and diversified the target group of the developed literal composition started incorporating mixed audience unlike the previous target of black communication among themselves. Another public medium of communication like painting and other artistic crafts started incorporating black elements of the African American literature. The diversification of the communication outlet gave black representation in the historical milestone of building literature fraction in the entire American society to increase publication of the merged representation of anti-slavery and anti-racial movement media (Harden, et al. 2012). The movement made major accomplishment by opening up publicity of black mindset to the entire society on the road against discriminative reading and application of diversified literature.
In conclusion, Harlem Renaissance genre of literature and history utilized issues and themes that explored the minority communities' contribution of artistic development of literature and other forms of arts in the American society. The Harlem Renaissance movement's primary efforts were felt immediately after the end of the World War I when the first black literature was published under mainstream publishing companies. The journey of effective representation of the black voice in mainstream literary publication and readable media made the historical foundation of the literal representation of the African American literature and slave narrative with the rest of the recognized American literature. The racial struggle in theory and practice devoted to the black iterate of artistic representation in the Harlem issue featuring the literature contribution of black writers.
Buck, Christopher (2013). Harlem Renaissance in The American Mosaic: The African American Experience. ABC-CLIO. Santa Barbara, California.
Harden, Renata, et al. "Reading the Harlem Renaissance into public policy: lessons from the past to the present." Afro-Americans in New York Life and History, vol. 36, no. 2, 2012, p. 7+. Academic OneFile, http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/A301488635/AONE? u=tel_a_nsti&sid=AONE. Accessed 10 July 2018.
Lowney, John. "The African American Roots of Modernism: From Reconstruction to the Harlem Renaissance." African American Review, vol. 45, no. 1/2, Spring/Summer2012, pp. 258-261.
Smethurst, James. The African American Roots of Modernism: From Reconstruction to the Harlem Renaissance. Chapel Hill: U of North Carolina P, 2011. 264 pp.
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