“America the melting pot.” An expression used by many and often said in a prideful manner. We Americans like to think of ourselves as all accepting and welcoming to everyone, and while that may be true in general, discrimination still exist throughout the country. Fortunately, racism has significantly lowered thanks to the Civil rights movement. Each American can now express who they are without a major fear of contempt or prejudice. Prior to the Civil rights movement, racism ran rampant, particularly in the south. The Harlem renaissance, which took place throughout the 1920’s, helped spur the Civil Rights movement. It was around this time African Americans really started to push themselves forward in society. One successful poet of that
“Breakfast in Virginia” is a short story written in 1963 by Langston Hughes, an American poet, and author, a time where racism still existed. The story is about two black soldiers who had been traveling on a long and hard journey. They were starving, so they went to the train’s dining car. An elderly white man, whose son was also a soldier, invited the two boys to join him. A steward walked over and said that the two soldiers were not allowed to sit there. The white man, who was ashamed, not of the steward, but of the system the steward was required to follow, invited the boys to have breakfast with him in his room, where he talked about how much he admired the bravery of soldiers. He treated the two as his equals, not anything less. Hughes
Imagery within Dunbar’s work conveyed the harsh reality of African American life in America’s heritage. Dating back to when blacks forcefully came over to the United States for the purpose of manual labor, Dunbar explained the conditions in “Ode to Ethiopia.” Their duties entailed that “they tread the fields” (19) from sunrise to sunset until the worked reached an end. To pass away the time, they would sing “up to the skies in the beauty ring/and bolder grow each hour” (23-24). They would find themselves attempting to find some hope while plantation owners hollered at them if unproductive. “Very seldom has any author brought so vividly before us the black farm laborer of the plantation as he comes from the day’s toil” (Burch). Forced to brutal
Race is not merely a group of people with same identity, origin and physical characters but it is an issue that involves emotions, opinions and rights. In America, people were and are recognized mainly on the basis of their skin color. This could be best witnessed in Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail”. He introduces his arguments against injustice. He provides the reason for being in Birmingham by saying that, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere” (__). His thesis awakes the desire to have equal rights for the blacks. Dr. King uses various rhetorical devises such as allusion, ethos, and pathos that appeals emotionally, socially, morally and makes the text relatable and important because his text responds
This poem is a tribute to the well-known abolitionist Frederick Douglass, and gives a cause and effect analysis of the allowance of freedom to African Americans. For this reason, this poem can be interpreted very specifically to the African American struggle for civil rights and search for the true understanding of attaining freedom. The sense of exclusivity in this poem can come from lines such as, “…this man, this Douglass, this former slave, this Negro….” (1067) The words presented in this line such as “Negro” immediately strike the reader as specific to the African American race, and, therefore, transforming the entire poem into a poem directed toward a specific audience. The struggle for freedom post-emancipation was uniquely highlighted in this poem. African Americans still felt extremely subservient in relation to the white population, and Hayden clearly noted that feeling in this strong piece. The piece can solely be seen as a tribute that offers relatability for those African Americans of the time period. It can also be interpreted as a relatable piece for African Americans of any time as related to the historical essence of their lives. This piece may seem exclusive, but it can also offer much
As time has passed humanity still tends to separate each other based on our racial being rather than seeing each other as one human race. Langston Hughes’s, “A New Song,” published in 1938 introduces the idea of a new vision of social relations in American society. Hughes’s original version of this poem written in 1933, does not encompass his growing anger on this subject that is dwelled upon in his published version. However, with Hughes’s powerful tone and word choice throughout his 1938 rendition, his reader is able to understand his urge to transform America into an interracial culture. (Central Idea) His poem voices the importance of transforming society into a multiethnic unity and working-class established through cultural ties between whites and blacks. (Thesis) Hughes voices this crucial need to change through his emphasis on African American’s past struggles as opposed to the new dream, his militant tone, and through expressing the role that the establishment of cultural ties plays in society.
But how is a dream like a raisin or a sore? Can the complex emotional impact of racial oppression really be expressed as unpleasant depictions of food and the body? The visual imagery of a sun-dried raisin could be interpreted as a dream once ripe and full, now left to stagnate like a grape in the sun. The sore, perhaps inconsequential, can be envisioned as an infected wound that could spread and thus the dream is one so necessary that it may be impossible to continue without its actualization. Onwuchekwa insists, “the Afro-American is not unlike the raisin, for he is in a sense a desiccated trunk of his original African self, used and abandoned in the American Wilderness with the stipulation that he rot and disappear” (78). The olfactory and gustatory imagery of the meat and sweet also stir up unpleasant memories of putrid smells and rancid tastes and together express the emotional degradation that arises when one is denied their basic rights. However, the deeper meaning behind these various types of imagery lies in the cultural context of Hughes’s
Imagine racism taking over the world, with overwhelming thoughts about how you might be the next victim. Quarrels about whether the best skin is black or white, but always resulting that white is right. Hope would evaporate from an evanescent cloud and Faith became instinct as it was replaced by agony. Everywhere you turned around for help, all you saw were the bodies of those neglected and lynched. Abel Meeropol published the poem Strange Fruit in 1937, after seeing a drastic picture of lynching that traumatized him ever since then. As a result, the poem became a memory to all those who died and is momentous to our history.
The poems “ I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” and “Still I Rise” by Maya Angelou are both poems that speak on the issues of the mistreatment of African Americans, and how these challenges were created simply by the color of one’s skin and overcome. While the poems “Mother To Son” and “ Dreams” by Langston Hughes refer to the hopes of African Americans for a better standard of living, and the consequences of departing from these dreams of bettering themselves. This comparison of these four poems is important because all four aim to better society for African Americans, and inform the population struggles that they maybe be able to relate, and provide them with the inspiration to keep pushing forward. These poems explain why the desire for equality was so important to African americans at this time, and what they had to go through to get it. I believe that these poems are all used as methods of expression, information, as well as rebellion against the racial in injustice that was suffered for so long.
In “On the Pulse of Morning”, Angelou uses visual imagery and symbolism to argue that people must learn from the past to eliminate racial injustice in society today. The vivid descriptions found in the poem evoke feelings of injustice through the emotionally painful pictures that they paint. Americans as a whole are described in the poem to have “crouched too long in / The bruising darkness, [...] / Face down in ignorance” (“On the Pulse of Morning” 15-18). The speaker of the poem insinuates that “humans have been hiding, [...] afraid of what they might learn” from history (“On the Pulse of Morning”, 1998, 3: 276). The bestial visual of a person “crouching” takes away the humanity of the subjects, and the description of “bruising darkness” calls to mind the dark times of slavery over a hundred years prior. The image evokes a feeling that Americans have made terrible mistakes in the past that have not yet been corrected. They have committed terrible, animalistic acts in the blackened cover of history. These people refuse to look up and accept what has been done. The shadows of slavery and the pain caused by it are still ubiquitous in modern society, and if humans do not stop hiding from the truth, they cannot right the wrongs that have been committed. In order for the ignorance to end, people must accept the continuing prevalence of injustice. Not only does Angelou use detailed descriptions, but her use of symbolism allows the reader to see the injustice in society through
James Langston Hughes was born February 1, 1902, in Joplin, Missouri. His parents divorced when he was very small, and his father (who found American racism made his desires to be a lawyer impossible) left the family and emigrated to Mexico. Hughes' mother moved with her child to Lawrence, Kansas, so she and he could live with his grandmother, Mary Langston.
Langston Hughes was born on February 1, 1902, in Joplin, Missouri. He was named after his father, James Hughes, but was known as Langston. He was the only child from his parents James and Carrie Hughes. His parents were not married for long because of an unhappy marriage. When they separated, Langston was left with his mother, who left him behind to move from city to city to find work. Langston ended up living with his 70 year-old grandmother in Lawrence, Kansas. He lived with her until he was 13, and then he moved back with his mother in Lincoln, Kansas after his grandmother died in 1915.
James Mercer Langston Hughes was born in Joplin, Missouri, on February 1, 1902, to James Nathaniel Hughes, a lawyer and businessman, and Carrie Mercer (Langston) Hughes, a teacher. The couple separated shortly thereafter. James Hughes was, by his son’s account, a cold man who hated blacks (and hated himself for being one), feeling that most of them deserved their ill fortune because of what he considered their ignorance and laziness. Langston’s youthful visits to him there, although sometimes for extended periods, were strained and painful. He attended Columbia University in 1921-22, and when he died he, left everything to three elderly women who had cared for him in his last illness,
According to Becky Bradley in American Cultural History, Langston Hughes was born February 1, 1902 in Joplin, Missouri. Growing up, he dealt with some hard times. His parents divorced when he was little and he grew up with neither of his parents. Hughes was raised by his grandmother since his father moved to Mexico after their divorce and his mother moved to Illinois. It was when Hughes was thirteen that he moved out to Lincoln, Illinois to be reunited with his mother. This is where Hughes began writing poetry. However, the family moved again and finally settled in Cleveland, Ohio (Bradley, pars. 1-3).
Cleanliness was a main symptom of Hughes's OCD. Every time Hughes would wash his hands in public, he had to use his own black soap that was kept with him at all times. He would wash his hands for a lengthy period, sometimes to the extent of bleeding from applied pressure. After washing hands, touching the door was not an option, either the door would be opened with a towel or somebody else had to open the door. Another cleanliness related symptom was food and how it was cooked. When Hughes attended a family dinner at his girlfriend's house, the steak was served rare. Hughes would poke the steak with his fork, yet refused to eat it. When Hughes was invited to eat dinner at the Senators house, brook trout was the main dish, a bite was taken,