||In 1904 several middleclass African American families moved away from the decaying conditions of Black Bohemia of midtown into the newly-built suburb of Harlem. This initiated a move north of educated African Americans and a foothold into Harlem. In 1910 a large block along 135th and Fifth Ave was bought up by various African American realtors and a church group. These purchases caused a "white flight" and lowered realestate prices.
As World War I approached, a shortage of labour ensued at the generous supply of European unskilled labour ceased to flow into New York City. From the southern states came vast numbers of African Americans attracted not only by the prospect of paid labour but an escape from the inherent inequities and blatant institutional racism of the South. There were various patrons of the arts, both black and white, including the very wealthy A'Lelia Walker who ran an influential salon, the Dark Tower from her home, Countee Cullen (the Romantic poet), Nora Thurston Zeale (anthropologist), Langston Hughes (playwright and poet) Three main political figures kept the hopes of freedom for African Americans alive and made Harlem a political hotbed of activities. The three figures were the pious, integrationalist W.E.B. Dubois, the James Weldon Johnston and finally the charismatic Black Nationalist Marcus Garvey.
1935 marks the end of the era known as the Harlem Renaissance. It was mostly the result of Depression economics, but also in part due to the premature death of the patron A'Lelia Walker in 1934, Countee Cullen.
Harlem Renaissance Links
Poets, Writers, etc.