The Harlem Renaissance How did the culture of the US evolve during the Harlem Renaissance?


The Harlem Renaissance was the core of the Roaring '20s, with jazz, speakeasies, new artistic movements, and everything in between. All over the place. It was a wild ride that only picked up speed as it continued, pumping out its champions such as Louis Armstrong and Billie Holiday. Though its prime spanned the '20s, the Harlem Renaissance started in the late '10s and only started to wind down by the mid '30s.

Jazz: Jazz originated in the late 19th century by blending Afro-Caribbean style music with European styles. The Harlem Renaissance was where jazz gained popularity. Jazz had a cool cousin named swing, they coexisted harmoniously, and the results were legendary. The aforementioned Louis Armstrong (also known as "Pops" and "Satch," among other things) was considered the man who really made jazz jazzy. Jazz, of course, wasn't just a music; it was a culture. It was prominent everywhere, one of its most abundant areas being speakeasies. Its started in New Orleans, and made its way across the US of A, all the way to Harlem, New York. But it doesn't stop there; Jazz evolves, only getting better. "Scat singing" becomes more prominent, Ella Fitzgerald leading the way and making her mark on history. A little later, a teenage Billie Holiday comes in singing at clubs and opens the jazz market even more. Jazz was on a roll now, with more and more artists entering the field. And after a good run, the Harlem Renaissance may have ended, but Jazz still only got stronger.
Louis Armstrong: Good ol' Pops himself

Posted above is "Savoy Blues," an instrumental by Louis Armstrong.

Religion: Religion played a very big part in the lives of those who existed during the Harlem Renaissance. Protestant Christianity still remained the largest religion, but Catholicism began to see a promotion. Even the esoteric Voodoo saw some recognition, due to the healthy syncretism it had with Catholicism. There were some problems, of course. By this era, black people started to gain more social ground, but the stigma from the events 60 years prior still remained. Christianity already had a doctrine which most priests saw as unfit for blacks, but that didn't really stop them.
Art: Posted above is the work of Aaron Douglas, a major visual artist during the Harlem Renaissance, sometimes considered "The Father of African-American Arts." His artistic style has often been described as "Art-Deco," though others claim that it was an original style only influenced by Art-Deco. Like all art, it's supposed to represent something, because that's what art does. However, the art of the Harlem Renaissance was a defining element, much like the European Renaissance (as in Leonardo DaVinci).

Racism: As mentioned before, racism still existed, despite official "freedom." Clicking the button above will lead to a newspaper known as "Cayton's Weekly," specifically a set of articles from 1919. Be warned, for the aforementioned articles contain some possibly offensive language. Although diminishing, this source is meant to represent some of the existing racial stigma at the time.

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