The Harlem Renaissance is a period between World War I and the Great Depression when black artists and performers flourished in the United States. Different historians have used different dates to indicate the beginning of the Harlem Renaissance, but most put it around 1917. Harlem was the epicenter of this, but other cities around the country, such as Chicago and Washington DC, had their own Renaissance at this time. There are many different believed causes for the Renaissance. One, the end of World War I left many blacks upset that they had fought, but still had second citizen status. Also, there were many more African Americans living in cities than before. With better paychecks and better jobs in the cities, almost 2 million African Americans migrated north. Magazines started, carrying the work of African Americans. Magazines like Color or Opportunity shared the work of people like Langston Hughes, Countee Cullen, Claude McKay, Nella Larsen, and Zora Neale Hurston. Major publishing houses followed the trend and began widely publishing works by black authors. The intellectual society accepted these people who were trying to tell about their culture. Unfortunately, by about 1930 the Renaissance came to an end as a depression took hold of the country, and there wasn't enough money to back the projects.
If you're looking for something to read that was written during this time, I've always liked Their Eyes Were Watching God, by Zora Neale Hurston.