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Unity and Equality for the African-American Population

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Unity and Equality for the African-American Population

Between 1919 and 1926, African Americans began to leave the southern states for the more developed northern cities, sparking a new found sense of independence and free will among them. (Reuben) In the 1920s and 1930s, that very spark ignited a cultural fire known as the Harlem Renaissance. The center of this fire was found in Harlem, New York. (Wikipedia)

Due to the fact that New York was built on the values and lifestyles of the predominantly white, upper-class population, Africans felt the need to build themselves up on the opposite end of the spectrum, especially in the arts. (Topic) This remains to be one of the most significant artistic movements in American history. The creative minds behind this movement include poets, musicians, architects, artists, novelists, and more. These minds worked in order to show their humanity to the society which looked so harshly down upon them. (Topic)

The great minds behind this movement include Jean Toomer, Langston Hughes, and Zora Neale Hurston, just to name a few. Jean Toomer, a poet and novelist during this time, had few works that were published. Many of his works regarding "the potential of the American race," however, were dispersed throughout the Quaker community. (Topic) Langston Hughes, a columnist, was best known for his fervent writing styles and his "jazz poetry." Hughes' poetry captivated the rhythms of blues and jazz and the dialect of African American speech that he was surrounded with daily. In 1926, Langston Hughes published his first book of poems, The Weary Blues, which showed the truth of Harlem living. However, Zora Neale Hurston's writing was different.

Hurston, unlike the other writers of this era, did not see the prejudices of everyday life. She wrote many novels that personified the time, place, and person of the story. Zora wrote and published little during this time. She wrote short stories and essays that were published in Opportunity and The Crisis. Hurston's way of writing, without magnifying the prejudice behaviors of the white population, put her under scrutiny from her fellow authors. (Topic) Hurston exemplifies the impact of jazz music in the black population in her essay, "How It Feels to Be Colored Me." The essay also exemplifies the lack of impact of jazz music in the white population. "The great blobs of purple and red emotion have not touched him. He has only heard what I felt. He is far away and I see him but dimly across the ocean and the continent that have fallen between us. He is so pale with his whiteness then and I am so colored." (Hurston 2)

In addition to artistic talents, Harlem and lower Manhattan was also the center for intense debates and powerful political movements that exemplified the African-American public. Marcus Garvey founded the Universal Improvement Association that upheld

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