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The Harlem Renaissance was an artistic explosion that took place in Harlem, New York throughout the 1920’s. Known at the time only as “The Negro Movement”, it spread throughout the united states, but it was truly, in Harlem, that the movement bloomed. This movement was, in part, prompted by the great Migration, the movement of six million African American’s from rural, southern America to urban areas, particularly in the northeast. African American neighborhoods popped up, and became hotspots of influence and change throughout cities such as Philadelphia, and New York. The Harlem Renaissance produced some of the most well known artists, poets, activists and musicians, who’s influence even spreads as far as into our 21st century culture. These include Langston Hughes, a poet who wrote such famous poems as “I, too” and “Let America be America Again”, W.E.B Dubouis, a famous activist and sociologist who’s ideas are still well known and accepted in the field, and Duke Ellington, a composer and pianist who’s music paved the way for the acceptance of black musicians in mainstream culture. One of the most important impacts of the Harlem Renaissance was its significant impact on the civil rights movement. In addition to this, it opened the doors of formerly white publishing houses to black authors, and even white record labels to black musicians. The movement redefined how United States, and the world, views black Americans, their struggle, and their rich culture. However, like any situation of such magnitude, opposition arose. Disagreements within those closely tied to the movement became a problem. Some believed that, in order to appeal to white americans, it was necessary to align their views with their conservative views, and therefore focus the movement on black culture, and remain silent (as most of america remained at the time) on the issue of persecution on the basis of sexuality. Pioneer of the movement, such as Langston Hughes disagreed with the silence and began to include mention of these things in his poetry, which was unheard of at the time. The moment, which is today known as one of the most influential of its time, ended abruptly with the beginning of the great depression, and is often critcized for failing to perservere through the economic struggles of the 1930’s.

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