Harlem Renaissance

Essay by Mark StolzoffHigh School, 12th gradeA+, November 1996

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The Harlem renaissance was a time of creative ingenuity among blacks confined to the ghetto's of America by racism and an implied social class. In the Early 20's black's had progressed far enough along where some didn't need to work 16 hour days to make a living. This, coupled with the coming together of lots of blacks in ghetto's, the exposure of some blacks to European whites who weren't racist like American whites, combined to raise the hopes, dreams, and aspirations of blacks. With this new found time, blacks created a enlightening style of music, and wrote great pieces of literature. From this time period came many outstanding singers, musicians, athletes, and writers. In addition to this Creative boom of black talent, many black leaders emerged, creating such Negro advancement groups as the UNIA and NAACP.

A large majority of these black entertainers were either born as slaves, or had parents who were.

Creativity stemmed from the need of slaves to have something to enjoy, and keep them going. Slavery however kept them from developing beyond crude hymn's and homemade instruments. Once slavery was abolished it opened a pathway for many talented blacks. Female singers like Bessie Smith, Billie Holliday, and Marion Anderson emerged on the Music scene, with great talent, and Joyful spirits.

Singers played a large part during the renaissance. Mainly women, these great singers paved the road for each other, and many other great jazz singers. Bessie Smith was born into a poor black family. She began to sing in childhood and practiced her talent in the saloons and small theaters of Atlanta the first of the great blues singers, Ma Rainy. Her eventual alcoholism lead to her decline, but not before singing over 150 songs, some with the likes of the great Louie Armstrong and Benny...