African American Culture: A Literary Analysis

Powerful Essays
Many slaves wrote about their personal thoughts during the years they were subjected to slavery, and by reading these works we can read about the achievements if individual African American writers whose oral tradition in song and story has given us form and substance to literature by black people since they first began writing in English. (Gates Jr. & Smith, 2014). A piece written by Hartford on August 4, 1778 was addressed to Miss Phillis Wheatley, Ethiopian Poetess in Boston who came from Africa at eight years old of age, and soon became acquainted with the gospel of Jesus Christ. “Fair wisdom’s ways are paths of peace, and they that walk therein, shall reap the joys that never cease, and Christ shall be their King” (p.91). The works these…show more content…
An important debate spans around the question of whether African culture played a significant role on shaping African American culture. This discussion can be called, the Herskovits-Frazier debate. At one end are those who, like Herskovits, argue that African culture has a penetrating influence on African American culture. On the other end are those like, like Frazier, believe that slavery effectively erased the African cultural heritage. Gates & Burton, 2011 said, “Since the first quarter of the twentieth century scholars have examined African American history in the context of an African past. Their studies support the premise that the institution of slavery did not destroy the cultural legacy of slaves nor erase memories of an African…show more content…
They survived an oppressive existence, and reshaped their own African American customs through it all. Some of the arguments that have been made reflect on the thought that women were the head of the African American households; they were both the psychological and financial means for the family. Even while in slavery these thoughts and actions were upheld in the eyes of women. Osaki, L. (2014)mentions that, motherhood is important among African American communities because of the position that African American mothers have assumed in the survival of black people, their history, and culture. The mother figure played and still plays a significant role in the continuity of black lineage in the United
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