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Blacks In America: Tolerant To Revolution Of The Harlem Renaissance

3828 words - 16 pages

Blacks in America from 1900 to 1920 were more tolerant of their living situations and the near abolishment of their basic human rights than the more educated and vocal blacks of the Harlem Renaissance period in New York from 1920 to 1930. This paper will show how and explain why; blacks from 1900-1920 were more tolerant of their situation in America than those who launched the revolution of the Harlem Renaissance from 1920-1930. According to Gordon D. Morgan, “The Harlem Renaissance was essentially an attempt to create a new identity for Black people. One which would have them apologizing neither for their color nor for their former Status as slaves” (Morgan, p. 214). This essay will investigate the forces both internally in the communities that affected the thinking of Black people of these two time periods as well as the external factors brought about by governments’ and other organizations’ oppressive tactics designed to prevent the evolution of Blacks in America. These two time periods were both oppressive to Black people, but those living in Harlem, New York from 1920 until 1930 found ways to express themselves through the arts at a level that had never been seen in the Black community, and through their artistic voice found freedom.
The thoughts and attitudes of Blacks in the early 1900s differed tremendously from that of Blacks in Harlem, New York during the Harlem Renaissance. In the early 1900s, most Blacks still lived in the rural South, but this was changing. The atmosphere in the post reconstruction south had rekindled a white movement that sought to subdue any efforts of advancement by Blacks. Jim Crow laws in the segregated south blocked blacks from participation in government. The Judicial decision of Plessey vs. Ferguson condemned the education of Black southerners to the poorest of conditions in schools and forced these students to use outdated substandard materials no longer used by white students. Deserted by the federal government after the compromise that ended reconstruction, blacks in the south found themselves pitted against racism and hatred unchecked by law enforcement. The ideals of Tuskegee Institute’s Booker T. Washington were the prominent course of action followed by Blacks in the rural farming communities of the south. Washington’s philosophy was one that asked Blacks to work hard, practice self-help and seek education in order to find advancement (Ferguson, p. 43). This philosophy endeared him to northern philanthropist, and convinced them to help in helping fund Tuskegee Institute. Washington saw education as the key to helping Blacks cope with the oppression they had endured. Still, the early 1900’s saw many Blacks flee the south searching for better opportunities in the industrial north. According to Karen J. Ferguson, “The Cooperative Farm Demonstration Movement originated in 1903 as a United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) program developed by Seaman A. Knapp to battle the onslaught of the boll...

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