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The Renaissance and the New Negro

The Renaissance and the New Negro

(p.179) Chapter Six The Renaissance and the New Negro
Alain L. Locke
University of Chicago Press

This chapter explores the Renaissance and, as far as Alain L. Locke was concerned, the New Negro Movement. Many others often called it the Harlem Renaissance, although some felt this neglected Chicago, Detroit, and other cities that saw cultural ferment in the 1920s. However, even Locke himself referred to it as the Renaissance on occasion. The terminological debate reflected some of the mixed opinions and conflicting commentaries that the movement elicited. Such a broad spectrum of opinion cast doubt on whether it even constituted a movement. Using his wry sense of self-presentation, Locke later called himself the “midwife” of the new attitudes and expressions that hearkened not only to the “new” culture but to a wider, more engaged sense of group identity. His philosophical bent and temperament led him, early and late, to ponder the issues of group identity and cultural legitimation in polemical and analytic terms.

Keywords:   Renaissance, Alain L. Locke, New Negro Movement, Harlem Renaissance, Chicago, Detroit, group identity, cultural legitimation

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