The Harlem Renaissance was an explosion of African-American arts, with middle and upper-class blacks as the dominant leaders. Poetry has never celebrated pride in African-American culture more than that period in the 20"s. The reasons behind the outburst of artists, ways in which the written word was expressed, and the artist's lasting affect on today show how much the Harlem Renaissance was one of the most brilliant artistic movements in history. .
Now is the accepted time, not tomorrow, not some more convenient season. It is today that our best work can be done and not some future day or future year. It is today that we fit ourselves for the greater usefulness of tomorrow. Today is the seed time, now are the hours of work, and tomorrow comes the harvest and the playtime.
- W.E.B. DuBois.
Black artists of all kinds followed DuBois as a mentor during the period of pressing prejudice and poverty in their new-found haven in Harlem. For those that weren't stricken with poverty during the Renaissance, rebellion was caught by many. The core to the colorful jazz and poetry emerged because of this want for acceptance urged by DuBois and the rebellion brought on by the post-war celebration. .
Some used their abilities as a source of second income. Others used it to stand out and get their opinions heard. An average African-American worker would write or go out and hear the writing of those in their community as a distraction from their stress-filled lives. The middle class dominated especially in the area of using it as a way to speak out. They would recite their poems in the form of straight reading or they would be sung in the form jazz. In Harlem, there was a sense of belonging which encouraged many, but there was also overcrowding which caused some unrest. Most poets wrote of their struggles and frustrations about being a African-American in a harsh, underpaying world. .
Other immigrants also felt the need to be accepted during this era.