Harlem : renaissance

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Harlem in the early 20th century

The construction glut and a delay in the building of the subway led to a fall in real estate prices which attracted Eastern European Jews toHarlem in large numbers, reaching a peak of 150,000 in 1917. However, Jewish Harlem was a very short period, as only 5,000 Jews remained in 1930. The Spanish Harlem then turnedinto Italian Harlem, which is gone too nowadays. At that time, Finns and Irish were also numerous in Harlem. Between 1910 and 1930, many Black people arrived in Harlem, duringthe First Great Migration, seeking better jobs and education for their children, and escaping a culture of violence. There were also numerous immigrants from the West Indies. Asblacks moved in, white residents left. Some of those who remained made pacts not to sell or to rent to black people. There were many unequal racist treatments. For example, in1920, one-room apartments in central Harlem rented for $40 to whites and $100–$125 to blacks. Because of the high cost of space, population density was stunning : over 215,000per square mile in the 1920s.
From the 1920s until the crisis in the 1930s, Harlem knew a shining period: the Harlem Renaissance. At this time, everybody, including blackpeople, had a job. Everybody could handle a house, grow up kids, have a social life, go out, etc. The Renaissance was also an explosion of culture in Harlem. Press, literature,theater, music and other kind of arts developed considerably. A new picture of the Black man came out of this period.
Unfortunately, the “New Negro” and Harlem weren’t prepared toface the Great Depression, and the Harlem Renaissance ended abruptly because of naive assumptions about the centrality of culture, unrelated to economic and social realities.
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