Langston Hughes Essay On The Harlem Renaissance
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Langston Hughes and the Harlem Renaissance: Crash Course Literature 215
He embraced Catholicism, retreating from Communism entirely, and officially became an American citizen in His experiences working with Catholic relief organizations in New York inspired a new essay collection, Harlem: Negro Metropolis , which offers observations and analysis of the African American community in Harlem at the time. McKay died of a heart attack in Chicago, Illinois, on May 22, We strive for accuracy and fairness. If you see something that doesn't look right, contact us! Subscribe to the Biography newsletter to receive stories about the people who shaped our world and the stories that shaped their lives. American radio and television news broadcaster Edward R. Known as the "Lion of the Senate," Democrat Ted Kennedy was a staunch liberal who was elected to Congress nine times, spearheading many legislative reforms.
He abdicated the throne in order to marry his lover, Wallis Simpson, thereafter taking the title Duke of Windsor. Langston Hughes was an African American writer whose poems, columns, novels and plays made him a leading figure in the Harlem Renaissance of the s. She also authored novels, essays and poems. He was a popular ruler who strengthened his country prior to World War I. Philip Randolph was a trailblazing leader, organizer and social activist who championed equitable labor rights for African American communities during the 20th century.
Arturo Alfonso Schomburg — Carolina Herrera —. Bad Bunny —. See More. Through this expression, the Harlem Renaissance encouraged the new appreciation of folk roots and culture. For instance, folk materials and spirituals provided a rich source for the artistic and intellectual imagination, which freed Blacks from the establishment of past condition. Through sharing in these cultural experiences, a consciousness sprung forth in the form of a united racial identity. However, there was some pressure within certain groups of the Harlem Renaissance to adopt sentiments of conservative white America in order to be taken seriously by the mainstream. The result being that queer culture, while far-more accepted in Harlem than most places in the country at the time, was most fully lived out in the smoky dark lights of bars, nightclubs, and cabarets in the city.
Many people, including author Alice Dunbar Nelson and "The Mother of Blues" Gertrude "Ma" Rainey ,  had husbands but were romantically linked to other women as well. Ma Rainey was known to dress in traditionally male clothing and her blues lyrics often reflected her sexual proclivities for women, which was extremely radical at the time. Ma Rainey was also the first person to introduce blues music into vaudeville. Another prominent blues singer was Gladys Bentley , who was known to cross-dress. Bentley was the club owner of Clam House on rd Street in Harlem, which was a hub for queer patrons. The Hamilton Lodge in Harlem hosted an annual drag ball that attracted thousands to watch as a couple hundred young men came to dance the night away in drag.
Though there were safe havens within Harlem, there were prominent voices such as that of Abyssinian Baptist Church's minister Adam Clayton who actively campaigned against homosexuality. The New Negro movement was an effort to define what it meant to be African-American by African Americans rather than let the degrading stereotypes and caricatures found in black face minstrelsy practices to do so. There was also The Neo-New Negro movement, which not only challenged racial definitions and stereotypes, but also sought to challenge gender roles, normative sexuality, and sexism in America in general.
In this respect, the Harlem Renaissance was far ahead of the rest of America in terms of embracing feminism and queer culture. These ideals received some push back as freedom of sexuality, particularly pertaining to women which during the time in Harlem was known as women-loving women ,  was seen as confirming the stereotype that black women were loose and lacked sexual discernment. The black bourgeoisie saw this as hampering the cause of black people in America and giving fuel to the fire of racist sentiments around the country.
Yet for all of the efforts by both sectors of white and conservative black America, queer culture and artists defined major portions of not only the Harlem Renaissance, but also define so much of our culture today. Many critics point out that the Harlem Renaissance could not escape its history and culture in its attempt to create a new one, or sufficiently separate from the foundational elements of White, European culture. Often Harlem intellectuals, while proclaiming a new racial consciousness , resorted to mimicry of their white counterparts by adopting their clothing, sophisticated manners and etiquette. This "mimicry" may also be called assimilation , as that is typically what minority members of any social construct must do in order to fit social norms created by that construct's majority.
The Harlem Renaissance appealed to a mixed audience. The literature appealed to the African-American middle class and to whites. Magazines such as The Crisis , a monthly journal of the NAACP , and Opportunity , an official publication of the National Urban League , employed Harlem Renaissance writers on their editorial staffs; published poetry and short stories by black writers; and promoted African-American literature through articles, reviews, and annual literary prizes.
As important as these literary outlets were, however, the Renaissance relied heavily on white publishing houses and white-owned magazines. A major accomplishment of the Renaissance was to open the door to mainstream white periodicals and publishing houses, although the relationship between the Renaissance writers and white publishers and audiences created some controversy. Du Bois did not oppose the relationship between black writers and white publishers, but he was critical of works such as Claude McKay's bestselling novel Home to Harlem for appealing to the "prurient demand[s]" of white readers and publishers for portrayals of black "licentiousness".
Langston Hughes spoke for most of the writers and artists when he wrote in his essay "The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain" that black artists intended to express themselves freely, no matter what the black public or white public thought. He began to use disruptive language in his writings. He explored this topic because it was a theme that during this time period was not discussed.
African-American musicians and writers were among mixed audiences as well, having experienced positive and negative outcomes throughout the New Negro Movement. However, some of the most popular clubs that showcased black musicians were exclusively for white audiences; one of the most famous white-only nightclubs in Harlem was the Cotton Club , where popular black musicians like Duke Ellington frequently performed. Similarly, black writers were given the opportunity to shine once the New Negro Movement gained traction as short stories, novels, and poems by black authors began taking form and getting into various print publications in the s and s.
Certain aspects of the Harlem Renaissance were accepted without debate, and without scrutiny. One of these was the future of the "New Negro". Artists and intellectuals of the Harlem Renaissance echoed American progressivism in its faith in democratic reform, in its belief in art and literature as agents of change, and in its almost uncritical belief in itself and its future.
This progressivist worldview rendered Black intellectuals—just like their White counterparts—unprepared for the rude shock of the Great Depression , and the Harlem Renaissance ended abruptly because of naive assumptions about the centrality of culture, unrelated to economic and social realities. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. African-American cultural movement in New York City in the s. For the album by Benny Carter, see Harlem Renaissance album.
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