Harlem Renaissance: A cultural movement

Lately I have read a few books based in the 1920's including The Great Gatsby, Scott F. Fitzgerald and Jazz, Toni Morrison. Both books have got me looking into the 20's. From dresses, to lifestyle, environment, and the list goes on. h History of the Harlem Renaissance So today the letter H will be The Harlem Renaissance, which was a cultural movement in the 1920's (aka 'New Negro Movement'). It was a time where African Americans began establishing a culture, weather that be in art, theatre or music; Jazz and blues played a major part in the movement (and the 1920's has also been referred to as the Jazz age).

After the Civil war in America and many enslaved Africans regaining their freedom, African American’s decided to head to the north seeking better opportunities. Harlem became one of the area’s which became largely populated by black people during this time, hence the name.


So that’s a mini history lesson and below is my short story.

The Movement 

Adeline decided to move north with her husband. More work, more opportunities. He found work within the first month; it wasn’t too bad finding a few well-paying jobs, polishing shoes, maintenance here and there, cutting shoe patterns. He preferred making shoes since that was his field. Back in the south the women would say what a good pair they were, since she wasn’t too bad of a dress maker, whilst his shoes looked as if they were given to earth from heaven, perfection. A craft which was passed down from his father and a few generations before him. They aimed to make shoes, and build customers ‘have a shoe bin-ness going, the whites in the north would pay gurd money for a gurd shoe compared to us folks in south’. So it was settled.

Eight years in, her husband had his regular clients at the shoe makers he worked at. It took time before a black man like him earned anyone’s trust, but fortunately Clive, the shop owner, believed in the idea and hired him, telling the town he was indeed the best shoemaker he had ever hired. Adeline and her husband managed to find a nice home, in a quiet little neighbourhood. The women in the neighbourhood didn’t seem to take too much notice of Adeline, despite her smiles, and her conservative style, which she would often spend her whole pay check on; using the money she made as a house maid. Only Jeanie, a petite sized woman would occasionally take notice of her, but she never received the coffee invites which she had hoped for. An intolerable isolation began to form itself during the seasons she was off work, especially when her husband’s job became demanding.

Her quiet neighbourhood began to fill with noises, new sounds, up tempo trumpets, drums and guitars blasted through radios; smells she once encountered whilst growing up  in the South, lingered around the streets, these smells she had grew out of, the stews and dumplings which she left behind. It was only when she realised there were more people like her-southern and darker- she began to panic.

She did receive the smiles she once long for, returning them with the tip of her nose, those mouths  were home to skin slightly darker than her own. She watched the people she left behind in South fill her neighbourhood, like snow, although you see it fall a shock still comes when it blankets the city.

[Images from Google Images]

Story Mode by Piarvé Wetshi is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

About Piarve (84 Articles)
The business brains of Fashion Plugin, with a background in events and marketing and a love for forward thinking fashion, street art and red velvet cake.

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