The African-American Nightmare Exposed in Black Literature Essay

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African-American Nightmare Exposed in Olaudah Equiano, Narrative of Frederick Douglass, Song of Solomon, and Push

The American Dream was founded on the concept that "all men are created equal"(Jefferson 729) and that everyone has the capability and resources to "pull themselves up by their bootstraps." The Declaration of Independence was written so Americans could achieve this dream, but was not written with the African slave in mind. The African slave was never intended to be a part of this American Dream, therefore, not capable of obtaining it. These slaves were beaten up and/or lynched by their massas with these bootstraps instead of being "pulled up" by them.

Even after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation in
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This note was the promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness (Washington 217).

King's dream does not happen in his time, nor does he expect it to happen. It is the dream deferred:

I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American Dream, that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed-we hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal...(219).

Themes of the Dream and "dreaming" are often seen in the works of African-American literature. This "Dream Theme" starts with the slave narratives of Frederick Douglass and Olaudah Equiano written in the 1800s, and then moves on into more contemporary literature such as in Toni Morrison's novel, Song of Solomon and Sapphire's Push.

In his narrative, Douglass, often spent