African American Cultural Identity Analysis

544 Words3 Pages
Cultural Identity for African Americans
(Comparison and contrast between Hughes, Clifton and McElroy and their ideas of cultural identity.)

People have different ideas as to what it means to be of another race. Many individuals believe that race should have no affect on their lives today. People who have the same qualifications shouldn't be persecuted because of their skin color. Cultural identity is how people live in response to their surroundings and beliefs. For example, people that grow up in the heart of Tokyo are bound to be different and think differently than those who grow up in a idyllic setting such as Worland. Langston Hughes, Colleen McElroy, and Lucille Clifton all have different standings on the cultural standings of their times.

Langston Hughes has the idea that people need to forgive the past and move on while remembering their past as stated in his poems, I, Too, Dream Variations, Refugee in America, and The negro Speaks of Rivers. Hughes was an African American poet who was very influential during the Harlem Renaissance. The Harlem Renaissance is noted today for it's belief in the celebration of African American heritage. Hughes fit in perfectly here. “I am the darker brother. They send me to eat in the kitchen when company comes, but I laugh, and eat well, and grow strong,”
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Lucille Clifton became interested in writing at a young age and had her first book of poems published in 1969. Her pieces focused mainly on African American Heritage and culture. In her text, Study the Masters, Lucille said, “If you had heard her chanting as she ironed you would understand form and line and discipline and order and America,” (pg. 915, line 12). A major theme of this poem is that although historical precedence is necessary, society still needs to learn to make their own
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