“...by performing for mainly white audiences, Louis Armstrong had a subtle way of dealing with racial issues” (Gross 1). Louis Armstrong became a face for the whole jazz community fighting against segregation. One song he sang in Kansas City was titled, “What Did I Do To Be So Black and Blue?” And included lyrics saying, “My only sin, is my skin, what did I do, to be so black and blue?” (Gross 1). Performing these deep lyrics to a white audience forced them to hear what they are going through. Another important jazz figure during this time was Charlie Parker.
African Americans face a struggle with racism which has been present in our country before the Civil War began in 1861. America still faces racism today however, around the 1920’s the daily life of an African American slowly began to improve. Thus, this time period was known by many, as the “Negro Fad” (O’Neill). The quality of life and freedom of African Americans that lived in the United States was constantly evolving and never completely considered ‘equal’. From being enslaved, to fighting for their freedom, African Americans were greatly changing the status quo and beginning to make their mark in the United States.
Those differences explain the wide gap between the left brain-ness brother and the right brain-ness Sonny, and why they have such a hard time understanding each other. One can definitely see why an African American would choose to become a teacher. Racism and discrimination was rough for African American’s during the 1950’s while growing up in Harlem. Many wanted better for themselves and their families, so they took a different and brighter path in their life. For some like Sonny, jazz and music represented freedom and a sense of escape from the agony of black poverty.
The final poem of significance is Jazzonia, in which Hughes experiments with literary form to transform the act of listening to jazz into an ahistorical and biblical act. Neglecting form, it is easy to interpret the poem shallowly as a simple depiction of a night-out in a cabaret with jazz whipping people into a jovial frenzy of singing and dancing. But, the poem possesses more depth, when you immerse yourself in the literary form. The first aspect of form to interrogate is the couplet Hughes thrice repeats: “Oh, silver tree!/Oh, shining rivers of the soul!” Here, we see the first transformation. The “silver tree” alludes to an instrument used to perform jazz (probably a saxophone).
Negro spirituals were often called sorrow songs because of the fear of living as slaves. Later, a genre called ragtime was introduced in 1895, with Scott Joplin as the most known musician with this style of music. Next, blues was a way to transverse emotion of those longing for a better life. In the Harlem Renaissance era, jazz came into play. Performers often in clubs like Connies Club, and Smalls Paradise were the entertainment for the whites.
The Harlem Renaissance was of the embracing of literary, musical, theatrical, and visual arts it was set apart for whites. Many of Hughes writings were derived from the African American culture and the struggles of their society. The infusion of jazz into his writings created a positive stain in the community. One of Hughes biggest writings was of “The Weary Blue,” which was one of the original Jazz infused poetry. Many of Hughs writings envolved societal culture issues.
One writer of the Harlem Renaissance was Langston Hughes.Hughes cast off the influences of white poets and and used blues and jazz to write his poems. Claude Mckay urged African Americans to stand up for their rights in his work. Jean Toomer wrote plays,short stories, and poems to capture the spirit of his times. Zora Neale Hurston was noticed quickly with her moving novel, “THEIR EYES WERE WATCHING GOD”. In conclusion these were some of the people that changed African American traditions for the better.
The Emancipation Proclamation which was issued on January 1, 1863 announced that “all persons held as slaves within the rebellious states are, and henceforward shall be free”. However, African Americans in Southern States still face discrimination, because White men theorized their race to be superior. When one race is overpowers the other race, then people will lose individuality as a result of uncontrollable aspects such as skin color. Discrimination is evident in all sorts of forms: mentally and physically that will alter the victims’ development in the society. The 1950’s was greatly known as an “era of great conflict”, because of the civil rights movement for the African American race.
Langston Hughes is an African American Poet who is very closely connected to his culture and expresses his feelings very thoroughly through his poetry in a jazz style. Langston Hughes is a modern poet who ignore the classical style of writing poetry and instead, in favor of oral and improve traditions of the Black culture. In majority of Langston’s poetry, many of his audience seems to take away a very strong message that many can apply to themselves or to others or his poems gives you an educational background of what’s going on in the African American community right now. For example, Langston Hughes writes a poetry piece called Afro American Fragment, which gives you a great breakdown of what an everyday African American person goes through considering that their whole history is basically taken away from them. Langston seems to show his audience that in books we never hear much about what contributions a African American person has done except for being brought to America and being a slave.
Langston Hughes was known for being one of the most favored, if not the most favored, African-American poet and short story writers of the twentieth century. He was commemorated for being a people’s poet, “his life’s work was about bringing people together socially, politically, and artistically” (Shawn Alexander, 42). Hughes was influential for writing about the everyday struggles, racial injustices, and dreams of the African-American men and women during the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920’s. This period in history was a time of vast changes and explorations for African-Americans. He gave the people hope during a time when they needed it.
Clark Terry’s music deeply moved numerous jazz legends like Byron Stripling, who once said, “You don’t have to be a jazz fan. That’s really important with Clark Terry. You don’t have to be a jazz fan to like and to love his music because it invites you into it. You are invited in not only with virtuosic and bluesy sense, but also with humor. He
In 1931, he died at the asylum where he was capable of playing the cornet until his last breaths. His legacy inspires every upcoming jazz musician today. Jazz music was created by the people to express their opinions and spread togetherness despite the events that were occurring during this era. Musicians showcased their views on political, social, and religious outlooks. The most
For the first time Broadway presented a black actor in a serious role and African Americans were also seen in shows like Dixie to Broadway and Blackbirds (Foner 797). The theaters in Harlem flourished due to the freeing of black writers and actors. The Harlem Renaissance writing contained a strong element of protest like Cluade McKays poem "If We Must Die" (Foner 798). This poem was in response to the black riots in 1919 by "affirming that blacks would no longer allow themselves to be murdered defenselessly by whites" (Foner 798).