Analysis Of Litany At The Tomb Of Frederick Douglass

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“Litany at the Tomb of Frederick Douglass” brings a lot of focus to the complexity of progress. Espada contemplates the need for recognition of accomplishment and also the importance of continuing to advance towards the next goal. The connections drawn between Frederick Douglass and Barack Obama enhance the narrative of achievement. The narrative is even more supported by the use of parallelism creating cadence and strength of voice in the text. Espada uses this poetical groundwork to (1) remind the community of all the things they’ve accomplished that are represented in the milestone of a Black President, and (2) call for people to not get complacent and remind that there is more social progress to be made. Espada makes very deliberate word choices in able to encompass the intense nature of racism America. He describes the aftermath of the 2008 presidential election as “a world spinning away from the gravity of centuries” (Espada). Gravity affects every aspect of life in our universe. While gravity does dictate the actions of humans and celestial bodies alike, it is not impossible to overcome. Racism has a similarly encompassing reach on a smaller scale throughout America. Yet, as humanity has defeated gravity through the technological advancements of the airplane and space travel; we as a society can leave racism in the past. The election of Obama was a sign that America was further distancing itself from the racist tendencies that have dictated the lives of
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