Saeed Jones’s debut poetry collection, Prelude to Bruise (2016), is an essential contemporary piece of work comprised of narrative free verse’s that tackle an African-American historical past that is present in our existing society. During the 1960’s African American Studies began to be implemented in American universities due to the Civil Rights Movement and the rise of Black Nationalism (penguin dictionary). While the title of the collection implies the commencement of bruising and its inescapability, the growth of the poems throughout indicate steady progress in our society. Much of the collections focus is on historical contexts of Jones past and beyond, integrating brutality, race, violence and power. An African-American Studies reading of the collection reveals that the brutal past of African-Americans still weighs on modern society.
While researching and searching for articles on JSTOR, I came across “Civilizations Underneath: African Heritage as Cultural Discourse in Toni Morrison’s Song of Solomon” written by Gay Wilentz. In his article Wilentz proves that Toni Morrison has transformed the “Eurocentric cultural discourse through the acceptance of African heritage, told be generations of women storytellers” (62). Before I focused on both male and female characters and their identities, yet I have now realized that I want to strictly focus on the male identity when I write my paper. In Song of Solomon,Toni Morrison focused on the African-American male identity as it is sometimes overlooked in history as the African-American females are viewed as carrying more of the burden
Frederick Douglass addressed the graduates at Western Reserve College on July 12, 1824. Douglass speech used a formal tone with advance word choices to target his educated audience. In his speech “The Claims of the Negro Ethnology Considered”, he makes two main claims challenging the claims of white men. One, black people are humans and should be treated as humans. Douglass explains that black people possess all the qualities that qualify someone as human.
Nella Larsen, one of the major woman voices of the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s, when many African American writers were attempting to establish African–American identity during the post-World War I period. Figures as diverse as W.E.B. Du Bois, Alain Locke, A. Philip Randolph and Jessie Fauset, Zora Neale Hurston along with Nella Larsen sought to define a new African American identity that had appeared on the scene. These men and women of intellect asserted that African Americans belonged to a unique race of human beings whose ancestry imparted a distinctive and invaluable racial identify and culture. This paper aims at showcasing the exploration of African American ‘biracial’ / ‘mulatto’ women in White Anglo Saxon White Protestant America and their quest for an identity with reference to Nella Larsen’s Quicksand.
In so doing, Clayton and his contributors have brought the matter up to date and shown how the American dilemma continues into the twenty-first century." —Stanford M. Lyman, Florida Atlantic University Fifty years after the publication of An American Dilemma, Gunnar Myrdal 's epochal study of racism and black disadvantage, An American Dilemma Revisited again confronts the pivotal issue of race in American society and explores how the status of African Americans has changed over the past half century. African Americans have made critical strides since Myrdal 's time. Yet despite significant advances, strong economic and social barriers persist, and in many ways the plight of African Americans remains as acute now as it was then.
James Baldwin’s essay on “Black English” comes from the perspective of a distinguished black man, articulating the idea of “What is English”. Baldwin writes in an eloquent tone that creates an atmosphere supporting his argument on why black english is a language because of his racial background. In Order to further his claim he utilizes antecedent to explain how “black english” evolved over time. He also employs antithesis to compare different languages,African Americans and white people. Baldwin describes language as a mean for survival,”What joins all languages, and all men, is the necessity to confront life, in order, not inconceivably, to outwit death” This quote empathizes the importance of understanding that how a language is communicated
W.E.B. Du Bois’s The Souls of Black Folk (1903) is a non-fiction pastiche of autobiography, sociology, and philosophy about race in the Twentieth century. Du Bois focus is on the problem of color in America; while introducing the concept of the double veil consciousness. Double veil consciousness as Du Bois defines is the “sense of always looking at one’s self through the eye’s of others,” (page 694). James Weldon Johnson’s novel The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man (1912) tells the story of young, gifted protagonist who figures out he has “negro blood” in him.
The Harlem Renaissance is a term that encompasses an intellectual and literary movement of the 1920s and 1930s. A renowned scholar, Alain Locke, argued that “Negro life is seizing its first chances for group expression and self determination” (1926). Moreover, The Harlem Renaissance refers to the re-birth of African Americans who needed “an affirmation of their dignity and humanity in the face of poverty and racism” (Gates, 1997: 929). In their research, Shukla and Banerji state the the Harlem Renaissance “can be considered as the spring of Afro-American voice” that previously remained unheard and unnoticed (2012). For the first time black musicians and artists came to the fore of attention and started to be praised for their work.
After slavery the promised land had not been brought like it was promised. Instead, white supremacy was quickly, legally, and violently restored to the New South, where ninety percent of African Americans lived. African American culture was reborn in the Harlem Renaissance. The Harlem Renaissance included Jean Toomer, Langston Hughes, Rudolph Fisher, Wallace Thurman, Jessie Redmon Fauset, Nella Larsen, Arna Bontemps, Countee Cullen, and Zora Neale Hurston. The The Harlem Renaissance started the The Great Migration.
The Harlem Renaissance was a phase of a larger New Negro Movement that had arisen in the early 20th century and in some ways ushered in the civil rights movement of the late 1940s and the early 1950s. The social foundations of this movement included the Great Migration of the African Americans, from rural to urban spaces, and the dramatically advancement of literacy. The creation of national organizations dedicated to helping African American civil rights, and “uplifting” the race by developing race pride. The Renaissance was a literary, artistic, and meaningful movement that sparked a new black cultural identity that lasted until the 1920s to the mid 1930s. Essence summed up by critic and teacher Alain Locke in 1926 when he declared that through art “Negro life is seizing its first chances for group expression and self determination”.