In terms of culture the 1920s are often characterized as a period of American prosperity and optimism. This decade, beginning amidst the ashes of the Great War, blossomed into an age of the greatest social interracial change between white and black culture in American history. As a reaction against both the disillusionment from World War I and the virtuous culture of the Victorian era, white America rebelled against old ideas, traditions and customs. The America of the 1920s longed for opportunities to improve the social life of its people. There was a radical change in the way of thinking and behaving in society and the dream for a better future emerged.
Especially for most southern African-Americans who had suffered from years of enslavement, hard labor and oppression, this decade was a high point in history. In what became known as the Great Migration, Blacks poured off the farms in search of employment opportunities created by World War I. During this time the focus of many black southerners" attention was directed towards the urban areas. Between 1915 and 1920 as many as one million African-Americans moved to northern cities. Nearly another million joined them in the decade that followed. The urban industrial centers were the places where African-Americans finally began to live a life of independence and freedom. .
The migration of black southerners was a success, as well as the reorientation in the work-related aspects of life. Leaving the economically depressed rural South, the North opened up the prospect of paid labor in the industrial sector for Blacks. By 1930 the number of employed African-Americans in the industry rose by almost 20 percent. Within one decade African-American culture was completely altered and also caused drastic changes in white culture as well.
With the increasing migration of educated and socially conscious Blacks, New York's Harlem neighborhood developed into the political and cultural center of black America.