Harlem Renaissance

The Harlem Renaissance was an influential and prolific movement that took place between World War I and World War II, revolutionizing African-American art, literature, music, dance, and theater. Harlem, the predominantly African-American neighborhood in New York, served as the movement’s symbolic capital, where a rebirth of the arts encouraged dialogue on the African-American experience, combatted racial stereotypes, and promoted political power and social integration. For example, Aaron Douglas’s mural inside the Harlem YMCA, Evolution of Negro Dance (1935) depicts dancing silhouettes represent eras of African-American history, with slavery giving way to the Harlem Renaissance. The lasting impact of the Harlem Renaissance continues to be felt in the present day, as contemporary artists engaged with African-American identity draw inspiration from leading figures in the movement such as Jacob Lawrence, Elizabeth Catlett, Richmond Barthé, Langston Hughes, Duke Ellington, Zora Neale Hurston, and W.E.B. Du Bois.

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