The role of women in society had taken a massive leap forward In 1920 when all women were
given the right to vote. The roles of American Women in the 1920s varied considerably between
the 'New Woman', the Traditionalists and the older generation. The 'New Woman', including the
young Flappers, embraced new fashions, personal freedom and new ideas that challenged the
traditional role of women. The Traditionalists feared that the ' New Morality' of the era was
threatening family values and the conventional role of women in the home. The lives of Black
American Women in the 1920s were also subject to change due to the influence of the Harlem
Renaissance and the change from rural to urban life in the cities.
The Harlem Renaissance was a rebirth of African American culture and art in the wake of
slavery, which had ended just 50 years prior. Occurring from 1918 through the 1930s and first
coined the New Negro Movement, the Harlem Renaissance focused on self-definition of black
people and the black experience. Black women were an integral part of the Harlem Renaissance,
from dancer Josephine Baker to writer Zora Neale Hurston. But much like today, the identity of
the “new black woman” was a hotly debated topic.