Harlem Renaissance period of American Literature - 1920s

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The Harlem Renaissance period runs parallel to Modernism

Content:

  • celebrated characteristics of African-American life
  • enjoyment of life without fear
  • writing defines the African-American heritage and celebrates their new identity as Americans

Genre/Style:

  • allusions in writing often refer to African-American spirituals
  • uses the structure of blues songs in poetry (ex-repetition of key phrases)
  • superficial stereotypes later revealed to be characters capable of complex moral judgments

Effect:

  • this period gave birth to a new form of religious music called "gospel music"
  • blues and jazz are transmitted across America via radio and phonographs

Historical Context:

  • mass African-American migration to Northern urban centers.
  • African-Americans have more access to media and publishing outlets after they move north.

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