||Never before in American history had there been a more concentrated and energetic outpouring of literary, visual and musical artistic production than that of the period known as the Harlem Renaissance. This period, from 1919 through 1934, was an optimistic, dynamic time for many African Americans as they shed their lives of fear and oppression in the South and migrated by the millions to the larger economic centers of the North. This was also the era of the philosophy of the "New Negro" established by Alain Locke. Locke and his contemporaries James Weldon Johnson and Charles S. Johnson believed that the "New Negro" was the individual of African decent who, through the display of intellectual and artistic prowess would become a powerful new force in America. Locke felt that if these artists were to explore and celebrate their African heritage and combine elements of their African past with elements from their contemporary urban environment they would create a unique, positive portrayal of all African Americans. These leaders believed that the artistic accomplishments of the "New Negro" would bridge the gap between the races and create a long desired racial equality. Nowhere was this synthesis of African, European, and American elements accomplished to a greater effect then in the jazz music that was sweeping the nation at this time. Jazz and the energetic lifestyle that accompanies it worked faster and more completely than any other artistic discipline in bridging the gap between the races.