The Harlan Renaissance And Identity.
As human beings, one of our biggest necessities in life is our need for identity. In the Harlem Renaissance, African-Americans felt so oppressed that they could not share their true identity with the rest of the white America. There was poetry, music, and art of all kinds that depicted how African-American cried out for people to except them and their culture for the beauty that it has. If you take a look at the beautiful artwork of African-Americans at this time in history, you will notice the pain and suffering that they felt on a deep level in their souls. The struggle of being free from slavery, then having to make a decision to move to the north was frightning but it was a decision that gave hope. The north put out news articles and advertisements for the African-American community to move to the north so that they would have a better life. These advertisements in news articles promised equality, jobs and a new life. The black community saw the north as a promise land. In reality the north was encouraging the freed slaves to come work in their factories for them. This was just another form of slavery. The music of the 20s through 50s is truly beautiful! You can hear the passion behind every instrument and the sorrow behind every note. Although the white community enjoyed this new music, they didn’t recognize the cry for help that the African-Americans were trying to communicate. The whites saw it as a form of entertainment and treated it as such. They would have jazz and blues clubs devoted to the upbeat and fun rhythms of the African-American culture. In these clubs they would have African-American servers and musicians playing for them. This is an example of social oppression and lack of equality toward the black community.
The African-American poetry at this time was inspiring! There are many pieces devoted to how the African Americans viewed themselves and how whites viewed them. The poetry depicted how misunderstood and dehumanized the African Americans felt. This poetry made me realize there are people even today that feel invisible, unheard, and worthless due to the people that treat them as such.
As human beings we have to be accepted by each other. A great example of this is the book Frankenstein. This book shows what happens when someone isn’t validated as being human or valuable. I would imagine the mental suffering that Frankenstein’s monster went through is much the same as the African-American community felt during the Harlem Renaissance time. I feel that it is important to know this part of history so that we can better understand the people around us that might feel invisible or invaluable.