Gwendolyn Brooks is the female poet who has been most responsive to changes in the black community, particularly in the community’s vision of itself. The first African American to be awarded a Pulitzer Prize; she was considered one of America’s most distinguished poets well before the age of fifty. Known for her technical artistry, she has succeeded in forms as disparate as Italian terza rima and the blues. She has been praised for her wisdom and insight into the African Experience in America. Her works reflect both the paradises and the hells of the black people of the world. Her writing is objective, but her characters speak for themselves. Although the
Imagine the strength required to defy social inequality and rise to become a purveyor of culture upon a new generation of poets. Gwendolyn Brooks was one with such strength. She had the strength to overcome the garrison of social injustice which held back so many other African-Americans. She had the strength to establish herself as a master poet by being the first of her kind to win a Pulitzer Prize and be appointed Poet Laureate of the United States. She, Gwendolyn Brooks, a champion of African-American literature since her youth and a civil rights activist in her old age, wrote many critically acclaimed works of both prose and poetry and excessively garnered prestige among the ranks of twentieth-century
African American women have long been stereotyped, discriminated against and generalized in this country. They have had to face both being black in America while also being a woman in America. African American women encountered and still do encounter double discrimination of both sex and race (Cuthbert, 117). Women like Elise Johnson McDougald, Marion Vera Cuthbert and Alice Dunbar-Nelson all tried to shed light on what it was like to be an African American woman living in the 20th century yet literature often portrayed them as emotional, hypersexual, unintelligent and of lesser worth. The literature highlighted that African American women have to serve both their employer and their husbands and families. They are not supposed to have an opinion or stand up for themselves, especially to a white man. ***Concluding sentence?
The Great Depression, Segregation, and the Harlem Renaissance were all undeniably important parts of our country’s history, and Zora Neale Hurston was one extraordinary woman who lived through all three. Today considered to be one of the most important African American authors ever, Hurston was a successful author at the peak of her career. Although she had to endure a great deal to get to where she was, Hurston never let her surroundings get her down, “I do not weep at the world I am too busy sharpening my oyster knife” (Zora). Hurston’s effects on the writing community and the world demonstrate the struggles she had to go through throughout her life.
During the slavery period a number of African slaves wrote stories, and poems about their daily hardships that they had to withhold by being a slave and everything else that happen throughout their life’s. Not many Black writers had the resources or support from their owners to publish what they wrote or anyone to care about what they wrote, lucky slaves did reach success when they published their work. Knowing where they came from or where they grew up from is important, the type of work that each individual accomplished when they published their work to the public. The massive impact that Phillis Wheatley, Frederick Douglas, Sojourner Truth, Harriet Jacobs, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and Abraham Lincoln had in the black community and how they helped change the way they were being treated completely.
Gwendolyn brooks was born in Topeka, Kansas. Her family moved to Chicago during the great migration when Brooks was six weeks old. Her first poem was published when she was 13 and at the age of 17, she already had a series of poems published in the poetry column “Lights and shadows” in the Chicago defender newspaper. . After working for The NAACP, she began to write poems that focus on urban poor blacks. Those poems were later published as a collection in 1945. The collection was titled A Street in Bronzeville. A street in bronzeville received critical acclaim but it was her next work, Annie Allen, that was got her the Pulitzer Prize. She lived in Chicago until her death on December 3, 2000 at age of 83.
Throughout a life that stretched from slavery into her civil rights movement, Anna Julia Cooper defended the rights of all people to dignity, education, and respect. As an educated, competent, independent woman, she faced the double challenge of being African American and female in a society that was deeply racist and sexist, but with confidence and elegance, she challenged society’s assumptions about her. Her life was dedicated to the education of all people, but especially to taking care of the minds of black girls. “Throughout her activist adherence to her ideals, she provided an example of individual excellence rendered incandescent by service to the human community” (Berson, 1994).
I learned how Ida B. Wells-Barnett started her life. Born as a slave, orphaned at 16, she became a teacher to support her surviving brothers and sisters. With the difficult circumstances brought upon her, it took an amazing amount of determination for her to fight for black civil rights and women’s rights in the 19th century. In a more civilized age, it’s harder to witness the courage she represented for the disadvantaged.
Sitting on the bus, an African American woman was viciously barked at by the white bus driver to give up her seat to a white man. The woman was Rosa Parks and this event sparked the beginning of the first large-scale demonstration against segregation in the U.S and labeled her as the “first lady of civil rights.” For years, Parks and people of color were seen as detestable in the eyes of white Americans. They were forced to work dehumanizing jobs and follow rigid social predestinations. Women, in particular, carried these fates with them long after this era as they were seen as inferior to men; women were given limited rights and were expected to comply to the stereotypical duties. It would thus be apparent that they would wish to be liberated from such dehumanizing work. Such an opportunity came during the Harlem Renaissance when these downtrodden females were ultimately given a voice. African American writers, such as Georgia Douglas Johnson, emerged and finally had the power to exploit their years of pain in an attempt at reform. Georgia Douglas Johnson wrote about oppression in her poems “Common Dust,” “Black Woman,” and “The Heart of a Woman” to expose society’s unjust treatment of African American women and inspire change.
The late 60’s and early 70’s were a time where African Americans held legal rights mostly equal to those of whites but faced major challenges in many aspects of life. Gloria Naylor’s short story “Kiswana Browne” seamlessly intertwines the author’s experiences, showcases the frustration of a mid to late 20’s African American woman and the conflict between her and her mother’s ideology. The differences in attitude between Kiswana and Mrs. Browne are widely due to the differences in the treatment of African Americans in Mrs. Browne’s young adulthood as opposed what her daughter is currently experiencing. Mrs. Browne’s struggles in the early part of her life were to secure the legal rights of
Gwendolyn Brooks is the first African American to win a Pulitzer Prize. She has also received a lot of awards and fellowships throughout her life. Born in 1917, she started her writing career in poetry at an early age, publishing her first poem in 1930. 1967 was a turning point in her career as it was in this year that she attended the Fisk University Second Black Writers' Conference. In this conference, she has decided to involve herself in the Black Arts Movement. While awareness of social issues and elements of protest is found generally in all her works, some of her critics found in her work an angrier tone after joining the movement.
In the nineteenth century, after the Civil War, congress passed the thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth amendments in hope of achieving equaling against the Jim Crow South. In Ortiz’s interview with Julia Taylor, one can see her experience as an African American child and as a teacher in the South. Although, racism and inequality still existed after the three amendments, through the interview, lives of African American were improve throughout the years.
The abolition of slavery in the mid nineteenth century changed the lives of African Americans and their role in society shifted from low class workers to individuals who gained opportunities to leave their marks. However, achieving that goal wasn’t easy. African Americans faced obstacles such as poverty, racism and lack of assimilation. From the works of poets like Dunbar and Johnson to writers like Langston Hughes, it is clear that the roles of African Americans have changed from the late nineteenth century to 1940.
The role of African American literature in recent years has been to illuminate for the modern world the sophistication and beauty inherent in their culture as well as the constant struggle they experience in the oppressive American system. When writers such as Langston Hughes, W.E.B. DuBois and Alice Walker present their material, they manage to convey to a future world the great depth of feeling and meaning their particular culture retained as compared with the culture of their white counterparts. Without this attempt at preservation, much of the richness of this community might have been lost or forgotten. At the same time, they illuminated some of the problems inherent within their society, including lack of education, lack of