Booker T. Washington's Impact On Black Literature

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Black literature is taught as sociology, as tolerance, not as
Serious, rigorous art form _Toni Morrison
African -American history predated the emergence of the United States as an independent country, and African – American literature was similarly in deep roots. Jupiter Hammon who was considered as the first published Black writer in America, he published his first poem named, “An Evening Thought: Salvation by Christ with Penitential Cries”in 1761. Through his poem, he implemented the idea of a gradual emancipation as a way to end slavery. His idea was later reprinted in some works such as Le Mulatre a short story published in 1837 by Victor Sejour
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E. B. Du Bois and Booker T. Washington debated whether to confront or appease racist attitudes in the United States. As segregation regimes took hold in the South in the 1890s with the tacit approval of the rest of the country, many African Americans found a champion in Booker T. Washington and adopted his self-help autobiography, Up from Slavery (1901), as their guide book to improve fortunes. Washington portrayed his own life in such a way as to suggest that even the most disadvantaged of black people could attain dignity and prosperity in the South by providing themselves valuable, productive members of society deserving of fair and equal treatment before the law. A classic American success story, Up from Slavery solidified Washington’s reputation as the most eminent African American of the new century. Yet Washington’s primacy was soon challenged. In his landmark collection of essays, The Souls of Black Folk (1903), William Edward Burghardt Du Bois, a professor of sociology at Atlanta University, disputed the main principle of Washington’s political program, the idea that voting and civil rights were less important to black progress than acquiring property and achieving economic self-sufficiency and then Du Bois’s striving to dramatize in his narrator a synthesis of racial and national consciousness dedicated to “the ideal of human brotherhood” made The Souls of Black Folk one of the most…show more content…
More than that, African – American literature presented the African - American experience from an African - American point of view. In the early republic, African – American literature represented a way for free blacks to negotiate their new identity in an individualized republic. They often tried to exercise their political and social autonomy in the face of resistance from the White public .Thus, an early theme of African - American literature was, like other American writings, what it meant to be a citizen in post –Revolutionary
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