New Negro Novels. Fiction of Harlem Renaissance Writers

Essay, 2016

4 Pages, Grade: 1

Abstract or Introduction

Harlem had evolved into a buzzing centre of Afro-American culture and art at the beginning of the 20th century. Racism, segregation and discrimination in the agricultural South of the United States had driven hundred thousands of Afro-Americans into the industrial cities of the North. Additionally, the First World War had led to a tremendous labour shortage that could only be balanced by intense migration, education and employment of black farm workers. Just like other American cities at the time, New York saw the development of an urban district with a predominantly black population. Located in the northern part of Manhattan, Harlem had almost two hundred thousand inhabitants in 1925 and covered an area of more than two square miles. This busy quarter not only supplied the entire infrastructure of modern city life but also provided the human capital and institutional resources of the New Negro Movement.

The New Negro Movement of the 1920s and 1930s brought Harlem Renaissance fiction to full bloom. Political concerns found their way into the early novels but were increasingly supplanted by artistic intentions. Torn between social uplifting and individual expression, the novelists became more and more daring in their treatment and representation of Afro-American issues. Today the Harlem Renaissance is regarded as a crucial period in the history of Afro-American literature. Its representatives used a wide range of traditional and modern narrative and stylistic techniques to produce a variety of first-rate works. Even if the civil rights movement in the 1950s dismissed some of their novels as too conservative, subsequent generations of black authors could take them as creative models.


New Negro Novels. Fiction of Harlem Renaissance Writers
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Harlem Renaissance, New Negro, Jessie Redmon Fauset, Walter Francis White, Claude McKay, Nella Larsen, Wallace Thurman, Zora Neale Hurston, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, NAACP, There is Confusion, The Fire in the Flint, Home to Harlem, Passing, The Blacker the Berry, Their Eyes Were Watching God, James Baldwin, Alice Walker, Toni Morrison, Great Migration, Survey Graphic, Alain LeRoy Locke, Aaron Douglas, The Crisis, William Edward Burghardt Du Bois, Ernest Gaines, Maya Angelou
Quote paper
Mag. Bernhard Wenzl (Author), 2016, New Negro Novels. Fiction of Harlem Renaissance Writers, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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