Boom to Bust Project

Harlem Renaissance

Harlem Renaissance

This was the time around the 1920’s when the African Culture really started to show. The culture was shown mainly through the arts such as music, theater, art, and literacy. The city Harlem was the heart of the renaissance where many talented people used their talents to help push the Renaissance forward. The effect of the renaissance didn't just stay in one place, however, the effects spread around the nation. This renaissance really helped show the true culture of the African Americans, and brought some of their culture into our American culture. This time was the first time that the culture of African Americans was noticed and taken seriously.

Great Migration

The end of the American Civil War created the first black middle class in America. The African Americans expected this to make them more equal to the whites, but the Plessy vs Ferguson case made it opposite by saying that racial integration was constitutional. At this harsher conditions were created for African Americans, especially in the south where some states wanted to minimize equality between slaves and their descendants. The south gradually became economically depressed, and bug-infested crops reduced the amount of labor needed. As a result of this, many African Americans began to migrate to the north in the millions. The north was considered to have more equality, allowed all adult men to vote at this time, provided better education for African Americans and their kids, and also offered greater job opportunities due to the industrial revolution and WWI. This, also known as the great migration, brought over 7 million African Americans to the North.


Jazz Artist

Some of the best known African American jazz artists were Louis Armstrong, who was a trumpeter, Duke Ellington, who was a pianist, and singer Bessie Smith. White musicians such as Paul Whiteman and Bix Biederbecke also played jazz to help bring it a wider audience. Jazz gave American one of its most distinctive art forms. Jazz was created in the South from African American work songs and African music as a blend of ragtime and blues.

Cotton Club

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The Cotton Club was created in Harlem during the 1920’s and 30’s, when Owen Madden became the owner of The Club Deluxe and changed its name to The Cotton Club. At the Cotton Club, black entertainers would come and perform in front of a white audience. Here, many people got a road to fame such as Duke Ellington and many other performers. At the club, the performers would mainly play Jazz and The Blues.

Langston Hughes

He was a very important, influential writer during the Harlem Renaissance. He successfully wrote and published many different literary works like books, poems, plays, essays, and novels. Through his works, he showed his disapproval of racism and unfair treatment of African Americans. He also praised the African American culture and spirituality. The writing of Hughes was influenced by his past life, as well as the music Jazz. When he wrote, he would base the stories off real things that happened to him in order to better portrait what it was really like to be an African American in America, rather than make up unrealistic stories.


Racial Unrest

Racial Unrest was where over 500,000 African Americans moved to the North, making it harder to get jobs for white men. This competition for jobs created violence between whites and African Americans. There were over 70 African Americans lynched. This is what led to the riot along with a group of whites who drowned a little African American boy.”The riot left 15 whites and 23 Americans dead and more than 500 people injured”. For weeks on end there were black and white gangs roaming the city attacking each other and causing violence to the cities.



Marcus Garvey

Marcus Garvey greatly reinforced the back to Africa campaign. He also created the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA). He greatly influenced the negro communities and gave them hope. He told the negro’s “to be a negro is no disgrace, but an honor”. The UNIA had branches in many states so they had rallies all around. But the were peaceful and they also held parades. A famous writer said that he gave negro’s hope, and he helped admire and praise black things and black people.

Philip Randolph

Philip Randolph started the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters(BSCP). This was made up of African Americans working on railroads, it struggled at first but started to increase population in the 1930’s. In between the 1940’s and 1950’s, Philip became a great leader of the Civil Rights Movement. He helped give African Americans jobs. He later built the first successful black trade union.


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