Migration, Fragmentation, and Identity: Zora Neale Hurston’s Color Struck and the Geography of the Harlem Renaissance

  • David Krasner


Geography and migration played a key role in the description and formation of the Harlem Renaissance—New Negro era. The Great Migration, which began just prior to World War I and continued well after, had a profound effect both on the cities of the North and the southern, rural communities left behind. Indeed, during the 1910s, nearly half a million African Americans left the rural South for the urban North.3 Within a decade, more than three-quarters of a million would follow, increasing the black northern population from 1910 to 1930 by 300 percent. Swept up by what Alain Locke called the “wash and rush of this human tide on the beach line of the northern city center,” black people were rejecting the South’s history of racial violence and lynching, embracing the mass psychology underlying movement, escaping from poor rural farming, and seeking a better future.5


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© David Krasner 2002

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  • David Krasner

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