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Harlem Renaissance

            In the early 1900s, particularly in the 1920s, African-American literature, art, music, dance, and social commentary began to flourish in Harlem, a section of New York City. During the mass migration of African Americans from the rural agricultural South to the urban industrial North (1914-18), many who came to New York settled in Harlem, as did a good number of black New Yorkers moved from other areas of the city. This African-American cultural movement became known as "The New Negro Movement" and later as the Harlem Renaissance. The Harlem Renaissance is a term used to describe a flowering of African-American literature and art in the 1920s, mainly in the Harlem district of New York City. More than a literary movement, the Harlem Renaissance exalted the unique culture of African-Americans and redefined African-American expression. The area soon became a sophisticated literary and artistic center. Responding to the heady intellectual atmosphere of the time and place, writers and artists, many of whom lived in Harlem, began to produce a wide variety of fine and highly original works dealing with African-American life. African-Americans was encouraged to celebrate their heritage. The main factors contributing to the development of the Harlem Renaissance were African-American urban migration, trends toward experimentation throughout the country, and the rise of radical African-American intellectuals. .
             The Harlem Renaissance transformed African-American identity and history, but it also transformed American culture in general. Thematic content included Africa as a source of inspiration, African-American history, folk idioms, including music and religion of the South, and social injustice. Their collective efforts not only established this new African-American identity, but also contributed to the development of our modern American culture. Never before had so many Americans read the thoughts of African-Americans and embraced the African-American community's productions, expressions, and style.

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