Countee Cullen's Legacy

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Countee Cullen was one of the most famous figures of the Harlem Renaissance. He worked to be an author on romantic poetry. Cullen focused on topics like love and death. He also wrote many poems on racial issues. These poems raised him to his literary fame. Cullen’s goal in life was to be an iconic and literary figure for blacks during difficult times like the Harlem Renaissance. Countee Cullen was born March 30, 1903 in Louisville Kentucky (Early-About 1). His grandmother was his guardian until she died in 1918. At this time, he was adopted into the home of Reverend Frederick A. Cullen and Carolyn Belle Cullen (Overview 1; Shucard 1). Frederick had established and been the pastor of Salem Methodist Episcopal Church. He was a pioneer black activist minister. Countee and his foster father were very close. They…show more content…
Many critics would agree it is thoroughly ironical and had a “confessional framework” (Baker 7). According to Michael L. Lomax from Modern American Poetry, Cullen was not able to find his own identity in “Heritage”. Cullen tried to connect his emotional struggle with honesty (Lomax 12). The point of the poem was to show that Africa was half of Cullen. He used Africa as a false reason for escape. He wanted to flee from himself and the reality into an illusion (Wagner 6). Cullen realizes that he must end his African heritage but he does not want to surrender his black heart and mind to a white society. He was angry with the racial inequalities in America (Overview 1-3). Critics would agree that Cullen’s images of Africa are lies. He is lying when the poem suggests Africa means nothing to him. They could also agree that the poem did not solve anything. (Early-On 7). The poem is showing that the memory of the past cannot be touched. It has “earnest meditation and modesty”.”Heritage” was somewhat of a controversial work written to explore the poet’s difficult situation (Kimmelman
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