n Latin American Report - Tracing the origins of the Harlem Renaissance

Volume 27, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0256-6060



The Harlem Renaissance is known as a period of cultural explosion among African Americans. Arguably, however, it was more than this, for many participants in the Harlem Renaissance sought to use culture to address the issue of race relations in the United States of America. Through this they sought to prove that black people were capable of doing anything, just like any other human being. Black people, discriminated against, humiliated and oppressed by an essentially white government in a racist United States, suffered psychologically as well as physically. They were encouraged to believe that the white race was superior to the black one. It is uncontroversial that many Harlem Renaissance figures desired to challenge this belief.

If one accepts this, the thesis statement of this essay follows naturally: that the origins of the Harlem Renaissance can be traced back to the era of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade. The Harlem Renaissance emerged as a result of racism which was also conspicuous (indeed, which became most significant) during the Trans-Atlantic slave trade and the era of slavery in (especially) North America. This might help to explain why blacks in the United States were seen as inferior to their white counterparts in different facets and levels in society - especially, with regard to the Harlem Renaissance, art, culture, literature, and music.
After all, why are there black people in America? The slave trade brought black people to America, conducted by white people looking for cheap labour and easy profits. The dehumanization of the black person which this entailed is expressed in Phyllis Wheatley's poem 'On Being Brought from Africa to America'. Below, The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, Slavery, and The Harlem Renaissance are going to be discussed to show chain, relationship, and that really the origins of The Harlem Renaissance can be traced back to the Trans-Atlantic Slave.

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