Transitioning Of A Silhouette During the years of the 1920 's through the early 1930 's, African Americans established themselves artistically, culturally and socially. This intellectual period was known as the Harlem Renaissance. The period of the Harlem Renaissance brought together black authors, musicians, and poets. One of the most notable poets of this era was Langston Hughes. Langston Hughes is considered one of leaders of this period. He 's famously known for his controversial bodies of work. One of the most controversial poems created by Hughes is his poem called "Silhouette". Silhouette was written in 1936, where racial segregation and prejudice was emphasized. What makes this piece of work so controversial is how the tone within the poem takes a drastic turn when the speaker and gender are changed. This paper will analyze the ambiguous meanings of the poem once the speakers identity is transitioned. This poem focuses on the lynching of a African American male. The speaker of the poem appears to console a woman who appears to be distressed due to the events taking place. In the first four lines of stanza 1, the speaker says: Southern gentle lady,
Do not swoon.
They 've just hung a black man
In the dark of the moon. (1-4)
During the time this poem was written, racism and prejudice towards African Americans was prevalent and habituated to whites. From the first stanza alone, the tone is already set as uncharitable and