New Negro is a 19th-century movement synonymous with the Harlem Renaissance. It means the new African American would be different from the old one in all their endeavors. Alain Locke in his book The New Negro explains how new African Americans differ from the past especially after World War One. During this period there was an upsurge in African awareness on various topical issues and venturing into different forms of artistry such as poetry and music. Leaders like Marcus Garvey encouraged his followers to fully embrace the New Negro movement to promote black people’s pride (Document 21).
To further understand the meaning of New Negro A. Philip Randolph and Chandler Owen wrote an article “The New Negro –What is He?” (Document 21.5). In this article A. Philip explains what the New Negro will be doing differently. He stresses the need for African workers to demand pay equivalent to the work they do, to say no to more extended working hours and ask for higher compensation for their services. A. Philip urges New Negro to exercise political awareness and making their votes count when choosing leaders. He advocates for social justice and equality. The new Negro must say no to discriminatory laws such as those opposing intermarriages.
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Claude McKay in his poem “If We Must Die” tells Africans to give their lives a purpose so that their deaths worth respect and a better tomorrow. He persuades them to be brave in their small numbers and always to fight back oppression (Document 21.6). These events were the cornerstone of black African freedom in America. The people of Harlem have embraced this history and are very proud of it, and it does not mean dislike to those who don’t live there.
- Hewitt, N. A., & Lawson, S. F. (2017) Exploring American histories: A survey with sources. Boston: Bedford/St. Martins, Macmillan Learning.