Dreams As A Mode Of Freedom

1611 Words Jan 31st, 2016 7 Pages
The theme of dreams as a mode of freedom, an escape, is commonly seen in the literature of African American writers that can be traced as far back as the Negro Spirituals during the time of slavery. While the motif of dreams is used far and wide in African American literature, it is in no way a static matter, but rather a dynamic entity that writers internalize and redefine to express the sentiments of their time. The meaning of the dream progressed accordingly to racial tensions in the country and the freedom African Americans were allotted to express themselves politically and creatively. Starting with Negro Spirituals, hopes and dreams were often connected to a desire of death to escape slavery. Following emancipation though, the dream motif began to articulate a more hopeful future.
While some of the poems by the Harlem Renaissance writer Langston Hughes harbor a melancholy attitude echoing that of the Negro Spirituals, Hughes’s work can mainly be seen as the turning point for how the motif of dreams would be portrayed in the works of prominent black authors and figureheads. Langston Hughes was the beginning of the positive portrayal of the dream. At the time, Hughes flourished within his community and it wouldn’t be until many years later that the full breadth of his work would be celebrated. He inspired the likes of Lorraine Hansberry and Martin Luther King Jr. to bring his message to the nation. The dreams expressed by Hansberry and King Jr. reflects those of Hughes’…
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