Their Eyes Were Watching God

New Voices in the Harlem Renaissance College

Despite disparities in the poetic styles of Sterling Brown and Arna Bontemps, each author was equally effective in conveying the “new voice” of the black American during the Harlem Renaissance. The idea of a more suitable expression for African Americans repudiates the Renaissance’s fundamental ideology. Unconscious variety in interpretations of new black society represents the most defining aspect of the movement: the culmination of diverse black backgrounds in a single entity. While Brown wrote the poem “Southern Road” in the black vernacular, Bontemps’ poem “Golgotha Is a Mountain” uses a more standard literary style. Together, they epitomize the Harlem Renaissance as a natural progression for the coalescence of black culture.

A spark of spontaneous, intrinsic culture, the Harlem Renaissance provided a break from traditional stereotypes, ushering in a new identity for the black Americans. Following the abolition of slavery in the United States, former slaves poured out of the South and migrated to industrialized northern cities, brewing a volatile concoction of culture. This condensed mixture comprised of African Americans from distinct backgrounds and various geographies united under the pursuit of life and liberty,...

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