The Harlem Renaissance was the period roughly between World War I and the Great Depression during which there was great cultural achievement among Black Americans. Harlem was the center for flourishing black artists and writers during this time, but the movement was evident in other cities as well; most notably in Philadelphia, Chicago, and Washington D.C.
The Harlem Renaissance was fueled by a number of factors. During the years preceding the first world war, economic conditions resulted in a large number of Black individuals and families migrating to the North and forming communities in major cities. Intellectuals such as W.E.B. DuBois and Alain Locke were espousing the achievements of Black artists, and African Americans were beginning establish a new identity and to question the discriminatory environment under which they were still forced to live. Black Americans hoped to educate the general populace and promote an atmosphere of tolerance through their writings, music, and art.
Prominent authors, artists, and musicians of the Harlem Renaissance include Langston Hughes, Nora Zeale Hurston, Aaron Douglas, Louis Armstrong, and Duke Ellington.