Thisresearch mainly centers upon the period between the years mass influx ofAfrican Americans to the cities and the Great Depression.
This thesis examinesthe case of Harlem in African American culture during the 1920s and 40s.Finally, it is aimed to clear up the period between these years.The impactsof the Great Migration, which experienced up to the 1920s, the HarlemRenaissance which emerged from 1920, and the Great Depression which marked theera 1930s and 1940s on Harlem and African Americans are three aspects of thisresearch. Events such as the Great Migration, Harlem Renaissance, and the GreatDepression which took place from the beginning of the 1900s until the 1950scontribute to find out Harlem’s significant role in American culture.
Thisthesis focuses on the era of the 1920s through the 1940s. Cultural boom in the1920s and the 1930s and 1940s were marked by Great Depression culminating inworsening living conditions reveal the dual portrayal of Harlem as a culturalcapital or a ghetto.During theAmerican Civil War, Harlem witnessed many uprisings, but also experienced theimpacts of the economic development followed the end of the war. Advancementswere started shortly after the economic crisis of 1873. Large scale houseconstruction in Harlem has been made, and the railroad to Harlem has led to anincrease in Harlem’s population. In addition, Abraham Lincoln granted freedomto slavery in the South by the end of the Civil War. As a result, theagricultural economy based on slavery decreased.
However, these rights did notlast too long and were taken back by the white people. A group of AfricanAmericans escaped from he laws of Jim Crow which enforced racial segregation,and migrated from the South to Harlem for a better life. This communityincludes many people who would participate in the creation of Harlem as acultural centre.Harlem is agreat neighbourhood in Northern Manhattan of New York City. It is a settlementthat witnessed many things as a culture and living space, and became asettlement for different ethnic groups. Harlem was originally settled by Dutch,but also it hosted British, German , and Irish immigrants. In the later years,Harlem became a neighborhood populated by black people in comparison to rate ofwhite population. The black population primarily gathered in Harlem, and thenorthern cities if New York.
One of the main reasons was the decline in therent prices in Harlem because of unfinished construction of subway. Anotherreason why Harlem became a settlement attracting southern people was thatHarlem also become the center of key institutions such as NAACP and theNational Urban League. W.e.
b DuBois, pioneer of The National Association for theAdvancement of Colored People (NAACP), Marcus Garvey, supporter of INIP, editorof Messenger A. Philip Randoph andactivitist, poet, writer James Weldon Johnson moved to Harlem. Speeches onfreedom and equality, the writings they wrote became effective on blacks whoexposed to slavery.
Therefore, Harlem was a hope for the blacks to make theirAfrican American identities stand out. African Americans migrated from ruralareas to urban areas taking in their past slavery experiences, and the inherentpain they gained. Most of them presented Harlem as their new home in literary,musical, and visual works of art by accepting this transition as a milestonepoint. However, some African American artists regarded Harlem as a ghetto becauseof the injustices, inequalites, and racial attitudes toward black people inHarlem, and they introduced Harlem as a ghetto in their works. This paperfocuses on how the duality created by these two different roles attributed toHarlem manifest itself through art. Harlem has historically been recognized asboth cultural capital of African Americans and also ghetto blacks lived.Duality of cultural capital-ghetto emerged between 1920s and 1940s is Harlem’srole in the cultural development of African AmericanSubject ofthis thesis is to describe this duality of artistic expression focusing onreality of life in Harlem, and its fictional interpretation between the years1920 and 1940.
Thisanalysis aims to explain how Harlem’s dual perception of cultural capitalversus ghetto is reflected in the artistic expression of African Americanartists. In this research, it was tried to clarify the subject by usingexamples from the works of that period. The main African American writersincluding W.e.b DuBois, Langston Hughes, James Weldon Johnson, Alain Locke,Ralp Ellison, and Claude Mckay published novels, essays, and poem whichreflected history of Harlem. Fictional works such as poetry and novel are alsoconsidered significant evidence of culture and history since they also containa part of reality. The academic sources referenced in this research aim toclarify the following questions: How did African American culture and identityform? What is the value of Harlem symbolically and historically? How Harlem’sracial and class subjects in the changing world affected the works of art? Howis Harlem reflected in literature, music and art as a ghetto and a culturalcentre?