African Americans have been present in Paris for centuries, with a significant number of them living in the city during the early 20th century. Many were artists, writers, and musicians who were drawn to the city's cultural scene.

The period between the two World Wars is often referred to as the "Harlem Renaissance in Paris" because of the number of Black artists, writers, and musicians who lived and worked there at the time. They were part of a larger community of expatriates, which included many other Americans and Europeans. This period saw the emergence of jazz and the birth of the literary genre of the "Negro novel". Some famous Black Americans in Paris during this time include James Baldwin, Josephine Baker, and Duke Ellington.

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