Harlem Historical Context

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Harlem, of this poem's title, is a famous area of New York City that has had one of the country's largest African-American populations since the First World War. In the 1920s it was the setting of a gathering of artists and intellectuals, later known as the Harlem Renaissance because it resembled the European Renaissance's surge in artistic productivity. Key figures in the Harlem Renaissance were Claude McKay, Zora Neale Hurston, Arna Bontemps, Dr. Alain Locke, and Langston Hughes. Since then, Harlem has been a focal point for African- American culture.

In 1951, when "Harlem" was first published, race relations were much different in the United States than they are today. Racism still exists, but there are now laws that can be used to fight against discrimination. Most of these laws were enacted during a period from the mid-1950s to the mid-1960s, when blacks became impatient with deferring...

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This section contains 1,014 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Harlem Study Guide
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Poetry for Students
Harlem from Poetry for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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