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An African American cultural movement of the 1920s and early 1930s that was centered in the Harlem neighborhood of New York City Variously known as the New Negro movement the New Negro Renaissance and the Negro Renaissance the movement emerged toward the end of World War I in 1918 blossomed in the mid- to late 1920s and then faded in the mid-1930s The Harlem Renaissance marked the first time that mainstream publishers and critics took African American literature seriously and that African American literature and arts attracted significant attention from the nation at large The Harlem Renaissance emerged amid social and intellectual upheaval in the African American community in the early 20th century Several factors laid the groundwork for the movement A small black middle class had developed by the turn of the century fostered by increased education and employment opportunities following the American Civil War 1861-1865 During a phenomenon known as the Great Migration hundreds of thousands of black Americans moved from an economically depressed rural South to industrial cities of the North to take advantage of the employment opportunities created by World War I As more and more educated and socially conscious blacks settled in New Yorks neighborhood of Harlem it developed into the political and cultural center of black America In his influential book The New Negro 1925 Alian Leroy Locke describe the northward migration of blacks as something like a spiritual emancipation No common literary style or political ideology defined the Harlem Renaissance What united participants was their sense of taking part in a common endeavor and their commitment to giving artistic expression to the African American experience Some common themes existed such as an interest in the roots of the 20th-century African American experience in Africa and the American South and a strong sense of racial pride and desire for social and political equality But the most characteristic
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