The New Negro

Essay by kwsixthsenseCollege, UndergraduateA-, April 2007

download word file, 5 pages 4.5

Downloaded 66 times

The New Negro is a term that was phrased during the late teens of the 1900’s as well as much of the 1920’s. The expression commonly referred to African Americans, specifically during the Harlem Renaissance, who sought to portray themselves as one of a new image, one that contrasts the “Old Negro” stereotypes and assumptions. The goal of the New Negro, frequently considered to be those of the middle class, was to construct a new representation of the Black American people. This concept stimulated massive reactions from its enthusiasts, each with a different perspective on the New Negro conception, as well as distinctive demonstrations on how to achieve such “Blackness.” Two well known contributors to the existence of the New Negro were authors and scholars Alain Locke and W.E.B. DuBois. While Locke and DuBois shared similar visions to the essentiality of the New Negro, they held dissimilar positions as to what symbolized the New Negro, as well as what qualifications were indispensable for attainment.

By the time he finished schooling, Locke had been elected to Phi Beta Kappa, been named a Rhodes Scholar at Pennsylvania, studied at Oxford University and achieved a PhD in philosophy from Harvard University (Locke and the New Negro). Locke considered Blacks and Whites of America to be equal participants of the American culture. He did not contemplate a divergence between being "American" and being "Negro," instead he developed equality between the two through cultural mutuality. “Whoever wishes to see the Negro in his essential traits,” Locke states, “must seek the enlightenment of that self-portraiture which the present developments of Negro culture are offering.” Locke believed that mere forms of expression held by African Americans, symbolizes “Blackness” in its purest form.

So it seems then that Locke was in disagreement with Du Bois' double consciousness belief.