The idea of justice and social equality was the main theme of human thought for many epochs. In the 20th century, led by such intellectuals as W.E. B. Du Bois and Alan Locke, African Americans began the movement to fight for their civil rights, which was subsequently called the Harlem Renaissance. After the end of slavery, plenty of African Americans had to migrate to other states searching for the recognition of their identity and political change (Wall, 2016). To achieve equality, the ex-slaves understood that there is a need for preserving their cultural heritage through education and art. Even though it was rather difficult for African Americans to struggle for their rights, their attempts succeeded and turned into the Harlem Renaissance that was caused by migration, identity search, political change, literature, and music breakthrough as well as the very change in peoples’ attitudes towards them.
The development of the Harlem Renaissance led to the recognition of the significant influence of African American culture on American culture – for the first time, instead of the humiliating stereotype of a Black man, who had been implanted in American culture for decades, people saw an educated and cultured member of a truly decent society. Among the most talented examples, there were Zora Neale Hurston’s literary prose and Duke Ellington’s jazz (Domina, 2015). The goal of self-determination and group expression was also achieved in the works of African American philosophers such as Alan Locke and W.E.B. Du Bois. The Harlem Renaissance introduced the beginning of racial acceptance, since not only the law but also people recognized the rights of African American residents of the country, thus leading to the onset of social and political change based on equality.
Domina, L. (2015). The Harlem Renaissance: A historical exploration of literature. Santa Barbara, CA: Greenwood.
Wall, C. A. (2016). The Harlem Renaissance: A very short introduction. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.