Throughout history, African Americans have encountered an overwhelming amount of obstacles for justice and equality. You can see instances of these obstacles especially during the 1800’s where there were various forms of segregation and racism such as the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan terrorism, Jim- Crow laws, voting restrictions. These negative forces asserted by societal racism were present both pre and post slavery. Although blacks were often seen as being a core foundation for the creation of society and what it is today, they never were given credit for their work although forced. This was due to the various laws and social morals that were sustained for over 100 years throughout the United States. However, what the world didn’t know was that African Americans were a strong ethnic group and these oppressions and suffrage enabled African Americans for greatness. It forced African Americans to constantly have to explore alternative routes of intellectuality, autonomy and other opportunities to achieve the “American Dream” especially after the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments were passed after the Civil War.
This type of integration that they pursued helped them realize their full potential and created their political self-determination, which dates back to as far as the 18th century at the African Methodist Episcopal Church by Richard Allen. The question is, is how did they do it? Who stood up for them? How did African Americans overcome the epochs of oppression? In this paper I will examine the answer, Black Nationalism, its advocates and additional sources, which it was comprised of.
The precursor which led to Black Nationalism was the Harlem Renaissance which was an era of new beginning for African Americans through exploration of arts and music. This African American cultural movement originated in Harlem, NY. This area was predominately known as being a Jewish area until 1910 when the “Great Migration” came around. The “Great Migration” was from 1910-1930 and almost 750,000 African Americans moved into Northern cities; 175,000 moved to Harlem, which made it the largest black community in the country. This era was known for racial consciousness, racial integration, dramatic arts and painting. In addition, it was known for the explosion of music especially jazz and the blues. This outburst of confidence, expression, creativity and talent sparked the African American drive and created a “rebirth” of African American culture. A few of the famous influences were Langston Hughes, Claude McKay, Duke Ellington Johnson and Louis Armstrong.
The Harlem Renaissance acted as the crossroads for black to interact with others and expand their contacts, even internationally. Also, African Americans began to change their image from rural to urban. In other words, they were transforming themselves from peasants to sophisticates. The Harlem Renaissance allowed for African Americans to be a force in America even if they couldn’t be employed...