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Rebirth in the Harlem Renaissance

This concentration of African Americans, many from a growing black middle- and upper-class, led to unprecedented artistic output known as the Harlem Renaissance. Robinson argues African Americans were "ready to set an example of what black people could really achieve" (14). This achievement occurred in all fields but was especially pronounced in the arts, from music to painting.

Singers like Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday and others helped usher in the jazz and blues age, a period of "flappers" and ostentatious displays of wealth and debauchery often chronicled by F. Scott Fitzgerald in works like The Great Gatsby (Shaw 3). Musicians like Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Jelly Roll Morton and Dizzie Gillespie helped define jazz and the blues, making the musical form closely associated with black creativity and artistic talent. As Harlem Renaissance historian Maureen Ryan argues, "Jazz and blues composers like Jelly Roll Martin and Duke Ellington created lyrics and beats that reflected the excitement of the time. Jazz greats performed at the famous Apollo Theatre" (14). This energy in music and jazz had a profound effect on many artists that followed those of the Harlem Renaissance.

Showing the enormous influence of jazz and blues music during the Harlem Renaissance on today


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Rebirth in the Harlem Renaissance. (2010, September 14). In Retrieved 11:59, October 25, 2014, from
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