Harlem, an African-American neighborhood in NewYork City, attained national and worldwide fame in the 1920s and 1930s with the occurrence of the Harlem Renaissance. It was a cultural movement that wasn't really a renassance or revival, as the name implies. Instead, it brought African-American culture into the spotlight, causing many to consider it the birth of African-American art. In fact, this was the first time in which mainstream publishers and and critics gave African-american serious notice, while African-American literature and arts attracted the attention off the nation.
Though it was mostly aliterary movement. It also had a direct influence on developments in other areas of African-American arts and politics. A veriety of factors provided the base for this movement. By the turn of the century, a black middle class had developed with the assistant of more opportunities for education and jobs.
Thousands of African-American moved from the south to the cities of the north in pursuit of employment. This Great Migration, as it was called, was due to the jpbs supplied by World War 1. As the more blacks made Harlem their home, it turned in to the cultural and political center of African-Americans.
A new political agenda calling for equal rights begar here. This newfound racial pride led to a steady development in literature, arts, and music. The fiction of James Weldon Johnson and the poetry of Claude McKey received recognition by the end of World War 1, and these works inspired a volume of the literature that would soon follow, such as McKey's volume of poetry. Herlem Shadows, and Jean Toomer's Cane.
The Harlem Renaissance came at a time When African-American started to see themselves in a new light. This revelation generated emphasis on realism and ethnic consciousness with nationalistic tendencies. After infusing their arts with these new and profound values, especially in the literary areas, African-American were also perceived in a different way by the mainstream American public. The Harlem Renaissance was not defined by one single literary style or political ideology. What united participants was their sense of being part of a common goal and their determination to express the African-American experience artistically. There were common themes showcasing the roots of the African-American experience: a sense of racial pride and the desire for equality. The strongest aspect of the movement was the diversity of it's expression. No fewer than sixteen black writers published more than 50 volumes of peotry and fiction between the mid-1920s and the mid-1930s.
강의를 들으며 유튜브 하단 댓글란에 옮겼던 글을 가져왔습니다. 문학이 갖는 힘이 바로 이런 경우죠. 미국 흑인들의 아픈 역사를 들여다볼 수 있는 강의 내용에 마음이 숙연해졌습니다. 우리나라도 예외는 아니죠. 현대사의 비극이라면 국민들의 자유와 표현을 억압하고 탄압하고 고문하고 심지어 아무 죄 없는 사람을 정치적 또는 이념적인 이유같지 않은 이유로 몰아세워 처형하기까지 했죠. 그 비극의 씨앗(?)이 아직도 청산되지 않고 있습니다.
그 와중에도 민주화를 외치는 다수의 학생들과 정치인, 학계, 예술가, 사회운동가 등 무수히 많은 사람들의 희생에 힘입어 우리는 풍요로운 자유를 누리고 있습니다. 특히 예술분야 중 시인이나 소설가의 작품이 국민들에게 보이지 않는 반정부 투쟁에 항쟁심을 불러일으켰죠. 이것이 바로 문학이 갖는 총보다 더 위대한 힘입니다. 제 3, 5공화국에서 문인들에게 얼마나 많은 탄압을 시도했는지 국민들은 잘 알고 있습니다.
※ 원문을 옮기는 과정에서 오-탈자가 있을 줄로 압니다. 새겨서 읽어주시기 바랍니다.^^