Poets Claude Mckay and Langston Hughes are both well known for their literary contributions to the Harlem Renaissance. Roughly spanning from the 1910s to the 1930s, about two decades, the Harlem Renaissance is pinned as the intellectual, social, and artistic explosion of African American culture. At the same time, African Americans were treated as second-class citizens and dealt with a common consensus of disdain from the white folk. Authors and poets during this time were determined to write on the sufferings and strengths within the black culture. Through literary works such as "America" by Claude McKay and "Freedom" by Langston Hughes, the struggles encompassing the black experience are realistically portrayed through reoccurring themes
One of the most important elements in understanding the poem is knowing the identity of the author and the setting of the poem. Claude McKay is a black immigrant from Jamaica, and the poem was written in 1922. Because of the time period and the fact of the oppression faced by African Americans, it is more apparent to the reader why the writer takes a more cynical perspective of America. This leads to the speaker either being McKay himself or some other person of similar circumstances experiencing life in America. Like traditional sonnets, this poem focuses on something that McKay cares about deeply; however, there tone of this poem
W.E.B DuBois, Civil Rights activist, journalist, and educator, in his book “Black Reconstruction”, he researched the role African Americans played during America’s Reconstruction period. DuBois targets an audience of any open-minded reader that is willing to read about history from the lens of an African American. In the chapter titled “The Propaganda of History”, as the title suggests, DuBois argues that history is intentionally mispresented in order to influence the beliefs of the generations to come. “The Propaganda of History” analysis why the post-Civil War history remains manipulated and how that affects the African American community. One of his main claims is that the history of African Americans is subjective and belittling, that it
Many Authors in American Literature used their short stories or poems to give the real details about race. Authors such as Thomas Jefferson, Phillis Wheatly and Henry Longfellow are just a few who wrote about these details in their works. Thomas Jefferson and Henry Longfellow being white mean used their color as platform to try and abolish slavery. Phillis Wheatly gives her reader an insight on what is was like to be a slave. In this essay I will be discussing the writes struggles with the issue of
Without knowledge of these two black literary traditions, understanding the motives of Brother Jack, and more importantly Dr Bledsoe, are nearly impossible. Masking and signifying were methods of survival for blacks (and whites) trying to make it in the world. They were also ways to take advantage of others who were less informed of the world. Ralph Ellison writes the narrator as a person naive of the world at first, who gradually learns, through masking and signifying, that the world is a colder place than originally thought. The lessons the narrator learns from Dr Bledsoe and Brother Jack go a long way in establishing the identity of the man who chooses to live underground for the remainder of his life.
When one examines Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison, immediately one notices the duality of being black in society. Ellison uses the narrator to highlight his invisibility in society, although African-Americans have brought forth so many advances. This statement best represents the novel as the narrator examines his location (geography), his social identity, historical legacies of America, and the ontological starting point for African-Americans. The “odyssey” that the narrators partakes in reflects the same journey that many African-Americans have been drug through for generations.
“I am the poor white, fooled and pushed apart, I am the Negro bearing slavery’s scars. I am the red man driven from the land, I am the immigrant clutching the hope I seek.” In the poem “Let America Be America Again” by Langston Hughes, the reader here’s from two different speakers, and how they both seperately want America to change. One of the speakers wants America to go back to what it was before, while the other responds in small comments, building up to say the quote you read at the beginning. In the poem “Let America Be America Again” the author has two separate speakers with contradicting thoughts, the author relates to problems that were happening in the real world, and how the author’s rhyme scheme is a vital component to how this poem reads.
Through an extensive reference to recent social history and cultural studies pieces of literature, Eric Lott seeks to examine the role played by the blackface minstrel show during the prevalent political struggles that essentially saw the start of the civil war. In this account, Lott paints an image of the blackface minstrel as a show that primarily appropriated black dialect music and dance. In a similar regard, the show is perceived as one that, at some point applauded the black culture but unfortunately, and in an ironic manner, the show contributed to what was famously known as “blackening of America.” Additionally, through the content of his literary work, and reference to the blackface minstrel, Lott gives a novel interpretation of the very first and popularly renowned form of the 19th-century entertainment (Lott).
Although depicted in various forms and caricatures, the complex identity of being a Black American can be derived from a concept introduced in W.E.B. DuBois’ book Ways of Black Folk— double-consciousness (DuBois, 6). In this, DuBois investigates how the intersectional identity of Black folks contributes to their lived experiences; he ultimately asserts that Americans will struggle in determining the role of Black people and overcoming the metaphorical color-line, the clear distinction in the treatment of Blacks and whites (DuBois, 6). This problem is manifested in historical examples found in Samuel D. Pollard’s documentary Slavery by Another Name (Pollard, 2012). In addition to validating DuBois’ concerns about the integration of Black people
Some critics felt that the issue of blacks in America addresses an obsessive national concern, especially concerning the ambiguity of relations between whites, on one hand, and blacks or Indians, on the other. Therefore it was considered that the main theme of American Gothic is slavery. Tennessee Williams, born in 1911 and grew up in the American South, came to see it as being hopelessly corrupted by racism. His plays offer a devastating portrait of the prejudices of his native region. Even if racism is not often met in his works, at least compared with other major Southern writers, we can observe Williams's strong social conscience.
Not only did politics play a crucial role in the citizenship of women, but it also played a major role in the eventual emancipation of African-American slaves. In the article “A Man but Not a Brother: Abraham Lincoln and Racial Equality”, author George Fredrickson examined the various statements and influences of United States President Abraham Lincoln, to understand his political beliefs on the issues of race and slavery. When viewed all together, these elements suggest that Lincoln was not a typical Negrophobe or a firm fighter for racial equality. To put him in either category would misrepresent his views on race. One of Lincoln’s biggest influences in regards to race and slavery was Henry Clay.
Something this poem did, is that it made the fascists realize that they are no different than the people of a different skin tone, Langston Hughes wrote that the so called “All Americans” technically weren’t all America, because of their ancestors. That was something that many people did not think about during the period of hatred that America went
The Idea of The American Dream can be interpreted as a mixed blessing for many as they will change who they are or what they believe in just to achieve it. We see this idea in the play A Raisin in The Sun by Lorraine Hansberry and Robert Nemiroff. This story shows the struggles of an African American family with dreams and hopes and not enough possibilities to achieve them. Another example of this idea is portrayed in the poem “Let America Be America Again” by Langston Hughes. This poem shows a different side of The American Dream, the side that people often ignore because the outcome is not what they hope for.
E. B Du Bois, and Woodson, Cruse wrote from a subjective view point, using personal experience and observation as a primary source to speak on the Black experience in Harlem as it relates to the broader diaspora within the United States. Cruse definitely took on some of the perspectives of Marxism and Communism when it came to the African American community being able to function more effectively when within a communal American system. With a very quarrelsome and cranky tone Cruse is critical of the integrationist among black intellectuals, name-calling out Black leaders like Paul Robeson, Lorraine Hansberry, Claude McKay and Black organizations like the National Negro Congress. While criticizing integrationist, he prolifically tones in on cultural political action and the dire need for black intellectuals, activist, and cultural representatives to take advocacy seriously as they are the platform for metamorphosing the American system and
Is the American Dream really available for everyone? In the poem “Let America be American Again”, Langston Hughes tries to get the point across that the American Dream isn’t open for everyone. He describes the hopeful immigrants who seek America for a new start but arrive to find only that America “The Land of the Free” is full of mighty people who dominate the weak. Hughes depicts the downtrodden Negroes who bear who bear many scars, physically and mentally, of the seeming to have no end slavery. Even in present day America, black people still do not have all the equality rights they deserve and long for.