Harlem Renaissance

Harlem Renaissance is the classical reference to modernism. It explains the time that people defied the status quo and expressed themselves in ways that broke rank with the law. For this reason, many writers, poets, and other talented people had to run away to the north and other to Europe to nurture their talents. For example, the Harlem Renaissance is synonymous with the relaxation of Jam claw laws. At this time, the racial different couple could be seen dancing together. Thus, Harlem Renaissance points to a period where people embraced a new sort of thinking toward then and a future ahead of them.

In the study of the history of Afro, American one cannot underrate the changes that were brought by the Harlem Renaissance. This period is regarded as the time that emancipated the black community. Individual such as W.E.D Dubois was at the height of his career during this time and played pivotal role encouraging young black men and women to run away from oppression. Dubois also encouraged creativity by publishing some of the work of black artists. During this time, there was an emergence of a new set of literature, art and music. Moreover, people would enjoy a new set of novels, plays, short stories and articles by African American.

It is worth noting that Harlem Renaissance arose out of a difficult time characterized by the Great War. Therefore, people had the gut to try new things in the literal world that could shape the ideas of a new generation that defied the war and cultures at the time. This period made the emergence of people such as Gertrude Stein, Langston Hughes, and Ezra Pound among other to redefine a future free of suffering and economic difficulties. These expatriates brought a new set of thinking in psychology, economic, medicine and in philosophy. For example, they questioned the justification of undermining women in society. To this end, an expansive feminist literature was published that awakened the right of women. Moreover, these expatriates criticized the poor working conditions of a worker in industries and contributed to a change of doing business around the world.

Change occurs in all period as people experience unique challenges that require specific remedies. As the Harlem Renaissance brought a new culture into being, the spirit of modernism is still life. There is increased innovation in communication sector and the world has become a small village. Communication is faster now than it was in the last century. For example, literature publication has many channels than it was then.  Today’s governments are under constant pressure for each decision they make that negatively affect the masses. Thus, the circumstances that characterized Harlem Renaissance are life even today.

Thus, Stein references to ‘continuous present’ present the thinking of a break in the past. He ambitiously embraces modernism, but in a way that refers to past habits, ordinariness and repetition in developing new writing forms. Thus, according to Stein we are all in a ‘continuous present’ evolving are cultures, behaviors, and beliefs of what surround us (Nicholls, 2008).




Nicholls, P. (2008). Modernisms: A literary guide, second edition. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

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