Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey, otherwise known as Frederick Douglass was an abolitionist, writer, orator, statesman, and social reformer for African Americans all over. As a slave, he learned how to read and write through fellow people that were in his neighborhood and his plantation owner’s wife. Some say that him learning these two essentials was the start of his political movement to the road of freedom. It was almost as the more he read, the more his ambition and determination leveled up to end slavery. He began to use his new develop skills and put to work some of the greatest writings that has ever hit history.
Born February 23rd 1868 DuBois spent his life caught between two extremely unsettling times in the history of African-American culture. Living in the time after slavery but before the boom of the civil rights movement in the 1960’s Debois situated himself in such way that he was able to bring awareness about the unique experience felt by many African Americans during this time period. As an African American writer Sociologist, Civil Right Activist and a Pan -Africanist Dubois communicates the reality of his and his people’s struggle in the his paper Double-Consciousness and the Veil. He argues that “ there is a sense of always looking at oneself through the eyes of others”(Dubois,1903,pp.164). Defining what he would essentially coin as the powerlessness felt by many African Americans when they must decide subjectively and objectively weather to be African or American in a given situation.
The Great Debaters is a movie based in a real history written from the memories of the well-remembered Professor Mel Tolson, who was considered one of the best Afro - American poets in the decade of the 30’s. Mr. Tolson was a professor in Wiley college located in the city of Marshalls, Texas. Wiley College was created by the black community and for the black community. The need of the black community for a place where its’ children could obtain a quality higher education motivated the creation of Wiley College. American education was racially segregated.
It became the place of residents for Black poets, musicians, artists. During Harlem renaissance the country for the first time heard about the cultural tradition of the Black population of the USA, which was new to it. Black Renaissance found a support in the works of Black philosophers and political scientists of the beginning of the XX century. Harlem Renaissance was a consequence of the changes in the life of Afro-American society, which happened since the cancellation of slavery and up to mass migration of Blacks to the North, their participations in World War I, industrialization and in general all the changes, which happened in the USA at the beginning of the XX century (Du Bois). The factors promoting recession of activity of the Harlem Renaissance were the Great depression and the difficult economic situation in the
“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved” (Helen Keller). As in Keller’s life, black children in the early 1900s often developed distinct traits as a result of their trial: racial discrimination. Richard Wright, numbered among these children, describes his character building experiences in the autobiographical novel Black Boy. Set in the Jim Crow South, Black Boy covers Richard’s life and the burdens, success and heartache that comes with it.
William Henry Singleton, a native of North Carolina and former slave, shares his life of both a slave and a soldier in his narrative “Recollections of My Slavery Days”. Singleton was born on August 10, 1835 in Newbern, North Carolina (1). He recalls how is birth was not that great for he was “a black man” (1). According to him, because he was black, it was “believed that he had no soul” (1).
Through the literary works they made people aware of the injustice and inhumanity that slavery was based on and because if its written form they had impact on many generations coming years and decades later. Phillis Wheatley through poems appeals to the intellectual side of the people while Frederick Douglas using slave narrative in his autobiography introduces readers to cruelty and blooded side of black’s oppression. Even though they used different literary convention, they both became an inspiration for long-term changes that transformed the United Stated and it is still visible in current times. By affecting minds and souls of society, they inscribed themselves in American literary tradition
John Guare is legendary for his exploration on the theory of six degrees of separation: the entire world population is tied in a chain of connection, which everyone is somewhat a friend of a friend. Additionally, Guare provided audiences with another distinctive approach to the study of African Americans during the late twentieth-century, via his 1990 play: “Six Degrees of Separation”. The play revolves around a young black protagonist, Paul, who untruthfully imagined himself as part of the upper socio-economic class. His actions and thoughts are undeniably influenced by the effects of racial discrimination against blacks during his time period that have been rooted for centuries.
Excellently directed and exceptionally performed by Denzel Washington, “The Great Debaters” shines an authentic light on the social and political trials of African Americans in the Jim Crow South of the 1930s. However, with trial comes triumph as Wiley College gains momentum with its nationally successful debate team. Arguably the most memorable point made by Professor Tolson (Denzel Washington), is his stance on how to crush racism and discrimination. He urges his students that it is necessary for them to build up a strong mind - the opposite of what manipulative slave owners had ensured on their plantations just years before. He stresses the importance of education and indirectly also promotes non-violence in many of his encounters with
Frederick Douglass, social reformer, writer, and abolitionist, was born into slavery in Talbot County, Maryland. His exact birthday remains unknown, but believed to be born around 1818. His mother died when he was around the age of 10, after only seeing her a few times. At this young age, he was chosen to work in the home of a plantation owner, who is believed to be his father. At around the age of 12, he was sent to Baltimore to work for Hugh Auld.
Malcolm X, born Malcolm Little (1925-1965) was a well known human rights activist. Malcolm’s autobiography outlines events in his life that contributed to his spiritual conversion and philosophical views on black pride and black nationalism. The autobiography begins with Malcolm’s childhood and continues on into his adulthood, highlighting specific events that ultimately started him on the long road to becoming a well known and respected human rights activist. During his childhood, Malcolm was subjected to many acts of racism, and although not all acts were of a negative manor, Malcolm had to learn to navigate the conflicts that were created by living in a society racist against blacks.
Washington too believed in America, but in a slightly different way. The story of his life, growing up as a slave and becoming one of the most powerful African American public figures by the end of the 1800’s, shows the idea of the American Dream. He stressed hard work and perseverance to African Americans in order to rise up as he did. As expressed through his speech later entitled the “Atlanta Compromise”, Washington believed that black people should not speak out against racial oppression in turn for education in vocational trades. In his speech, Washington said that “No race can prosper till it learns that there is as much dignity in tilling a field as in writing a poem.”
Racism has always been a popular topic throughout the course of American history. It may be arguable that African Americans have gained the equality they have fought for, and in more extreme cases, died for. Richard Wright was born after the Civil War, but before the Civil Rights Movement. If he were writing an autobiography today, in 2016, about a black boy growing up in the United States, he would write about the mass incarceration of black men, the discrepancy faced by African Americans with a college degree compared to the whites without, and the difference in wage distribution between white Americans and African Americans.
The Struggle of African Americans In the novels A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest J Gaines and Narrative Life of Frederick Douglass by Frederick Douglass the impact of education is critical for African americans. The struggles of african-americans to receive education, the successes and failures of the african americans, and the perception of what african americans in the eyes of the white people.