The Harlem Renaissance showed the unique culture of African Americans and redefined African American expression. It began in the early 1920's where African American literature, art, music, and dance began to flourish in Harlem, a neighboorhood in New York City. This African American cultural movement became known as the "The New Negro Movement" and later was called the Harlem Renaissance. The emergence of the Harlem Renaissance symbolized black liberation and the shaking off of the remains of slavery in mind, spirit and character The Renaissance became a mecca for streams of black writers. Critic and teacher Alain Locke described it as a "spiritual coming of age" in which the black community was able to seize upon its "first chances for group expression and self determination." It was a refuge from the all-pervasive racisim of American society. The Renaissance was mostly a literary movement where African Americans were encouraged to celebrate their heritage,a heritage marked by struggle and perseverance, and to reveal the truth about the everyday black person.For many the Harlem Renaissance was considered to be the high point in African American writing. Not only did the Harlem Renaissance transform African American identity and history, but it also transformed American culture in general. Never had so many Americans read the thoughts of African Americans and accepted the African American community's productions, expressions, and style. The Harlem Renaissance marked the first time that publishers and critics took African American literature seriously.
The timing of the Renaissance was perfect. The Renaissance took place between the end of World War 1 and the Great Depression. These were boom times for the United States, and jobs were abundant in cities, especially in the North. Between 1920 and 1930, almost 750,000 African Americans left the South, and many of them migrated to urban areas in the North to take advantage of the prosperity and the more racially tolerant environment.