Harlem renaissance was a cultural revolution, centrally located at Harlem in the New York City. It started soon after the First World War, picked momentum in 1920s, and declined in mid 1930s. The movement engaged in art, dance, music, and theater. The initiative assisted to raise the pride of the black people and uplifted the race by use of the intellect. The bright African-Americans challenged the racial stereotypes and worked to promote racial integration by using artistic talents. The arts of thinking Americans like Alain Locke, Duke Ellington, Charles Spurgeon Johnson, and Prof. W. E. B. Du Bois became the bedrock of social change In the American society. This paper uses the pathological persuasive style to show how the Harlem renaissance led to the social change in the American society.
William Edward Burghardt Du Bois was the first black American to obtain a Ph.D. specialised in history, Harvard University. He founded NAACP, an association that assisted the black people to gain an equal access to opportunities like the whites. He wrote The Philadelphia Negro in 1899, “The Souls of Black Folk” in 1903, “John Brown” in 1909, “Black Reconstruction” in 1935, and the “Black Folk, Then and Now” in 1939. In a later book on “The Souls of Black Folk”, Du Bois detailed on the problem of racism in the American culture which he argued as the twentieth-century problem. He documented on how the blacks were central in the civil war that rocked America and the reconstruction.
In the early twentieth century, Du Bois, Alain Locke, and Charles Spurgeon Johnson promoted the generation of African art by the African American artists. Painters such as Aaron Douglas painted illustrations a1nd murals which were inspired by the jazz music and African sculpture. These paintings came to renew the perception of an African American as a culture bearer than an ex-slave. Such artworks became influential and, students could even embrace them. This changed the perception of the Americans and it paved the way to the civil rights movement after the Second World War.
The Harlem revolution also transformed the music to include instruments like the addition of the piano to Jazz, which made it more acceptable to the affluent African Americans. Some of the numbers played by artists like Duke Ellington came to be accepted, and it greatly changed the perceptions towards the blacks.
In the context of English literature, Charles Spurgeon Johnson urged writers to join the Harlem revolution in order to gain a common from to redefining the African Americans. Drama, including plays and related theatrical performances like the famous work “Malatto” by Langston Hughes’ was central in defining the African American in the period of Harlem Renaissance. Eugene O'Neill's play on "The Emperor Jones,” described an African American who after killing a man escaped to Caribbean and became a leader in the Caribbean nation. This shattered the traditional stereotypes that the African Americans were inferior.
The Harlem revolution came to influence the entire part of the twentieth century. It became pivotal time in the change of American history. In religion, Du Bois observed that religion could either be good or evil. He suggested that the religion gave people pride and strength. He argued that religion enabled the African Americans to derive comfort by sharing their common experiences and struggles. Referring to Dubois, David Levering Lewis said, "His will be the first and will be last appearance of a scholar, an African American in the program until 1940." The tremendous achievements of scholars of the Harlem renaissance contributed strongly to the evolution of the modern perception on the African Americans.
The Social Change in the American Society during the Harlem revolution was contributed immensely by the scholars who exploited art works like dance, music, and theater to change the perception on the African Americans. Racial discriminations diminished through the efforts of artists like Du Bois whose artistic approach led to the current trend of racial equity in the American Society.