African American Vernacular

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September 28, 2013 According to the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, the definition of vernacular is “of, relating to, or being a nonstandard language or dialect of a place, region, or country.” In terms of African American history, the evolution of vernacular is very important and a very unique part of the culture. The African American vernacular has aided the development of a distinct culture in terms of what African Americans were subjected to from the installation of slavery. The African American vernacular was used as a way to expose the atrocities that African Americans were imperiled to through songs and language. “Go down Moses ,” a spiritual and “Strange Fruit,” performed by Billie Holiday are two songs that represent the…show more content…
It shed light on the lynching of African American men in the South. Lynching’s occurred in other regions of the United States, but mainly in the South. “Strange Fruit” is commonly known as a song of social change. As mentioned before, this poem helped to expose racism in the U.S. During this time, many people were fighting for the civil rights of African American that had been stymied by institutionalized racism. Jim Crow laws of the South are an example of institutionalized racism. Jim Crow laws limited the civil rights of African American and deemed them second class citizens. Even during the days of slavery, there were many efforts made that helped to expose the atrocities that occurred against African Americans. This included photographs and written works such as books and newspaper articles. During the early 20th century, racism against African Americans was exposed via songs that called for a change of societal practices and views. “Southern trees bear a strange fruit, blood on the leaves and blood at the root, black bodies swinging in the southern breeze…” are some of the lyrics of the song “Strange Fruit.” “Here is fruit for the crows to pluck, for the rain to gather, for the wind to suck, for the sun to rot, for the trees to drop, here is a strange and bitter crop” are more lyrics to the same song. Imagining a black body swinging from a tree, it can be viewed as a
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