Making History Marilyn Nelson Poem Analysis

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For my poem analysis assignment, I chose Making History, by Marilyn Nelson, published in 2014. The speaker of this poem is a young child, perhaps in grade school. Upon reading some of Marilyn Nelson’s other works and a bit about her past, we can come to the conclusion that this child is African American, as it focuses upon the African American history, their significant Firsts and the authors childhood. As a child, Nelson was often the only African American child in her classes and she would know the struggles of being an African American girl at the time of the Civil Rights Movement, which supports the idea that this is a young African American girl which is speaking in this poem. The tone of the poem is at first confusion and disagreement,…show more content…
To make something that people remember, to leave a legacy, you must be brave and be willing to be disagreed with. To make history, you do not need to make a scene or have a grand gesture. It is simply the small things which make a difference in history, such as a job-the first African American singer at the Met, the first African American telephone operator- these are just jobs. But the significance they hold is the doors they opened for those after them. I found great interest in this concept, so I chose this poem. I have always been interested in history and different time periods and this ties into my belief that everyone, regardless of their race, gender, sexuality or nationality. When reading this poem, it made me think about the hardships that an entire race was forced to endure and this poem put some of that in perspective. In this poem, the most significant line is, “Making History takes more than standing in line” (7), because it represents the shift in tone, from an almost confused tone into a more confident tone. It also carries more of the poems meaning, as it means that you have to do something to be remembered, you cannot just do the baseline and hope for the best. The people in history books all went out a changed what they did not like in the world, and that is why they have a place in history. Marilyn Nelson wrote this poem and I researched he and
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