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    Harlem Renaissance Poetry Essay

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    Many poetic words uplifted young blacks and inspired them to become greater than the oppressors expected. Longs Hughes “A Raisin in the Sun” (1951) asks questions regarding dreams and the effects of a dream that goes ignored or becomes postponed. Andy Razors “What Did I Do to Be So Black and Blue” (1926) is an overview of radical discrimination. Maya Angelinos “Still I Rise” (1978) responds to decades and centuries of oppression and mistreatment. Longs Hughes famous poem The Weary Blues won first prize in the Opportunity Magazine Literary Competition.

    Andy Razors early poems that were published in 1917-1918 appeared in The Hubert Harrison – Edited Voice, the first newspaper of the New Negro Movement. In 1994, Maya Angelo was awarded a Grammar Award in the Best Spoken Word category on behalf of On the Pulse of Morning. “A Raisin I the Sun”, “What Did I Dot Be So Black and Blue”, and “Still I Rise” illustrate the visibility and intensity of the New Negro Renaissance era where a major shift in the degree excelled to which black people could and did claim the authority to speak about and represent themselves and their experiences.

    Confined within “A Raisin in the Sun”, Longs Hughes asks particularly one significant question regarding dreams and the effects of a dream that goes ignored or becomes postponed. Remaining as one of Hughes most notable works of poetry, “A Raisin in the Sun” addresses one of his uttermost frequent themes – the limitations of the American Dream for African Americans. Line 1 of “A Raisin in the Sun” reads: “What happens to a dream deferred? ” This question dictates the entirety of the poem’s message concerning the many obstacles blacks faced around this era when it came to branching out and desiring to become money greater.

    As the speaker continues with the use of vivid analogies evoking the image of a postponed dream, the speaker does not refer to a direct dream. Rather, the speaker implies that African Americans cannot dream or aspire great achievements due to the environment of oppression that surrounds them. Hughes was one of the many African Americans intimately aware of the challenges blacks faced in America. Thus, as a result of Hughes powerful message in “A Raisin in the Sun” as well as the Harlem Renaissance, many blacks challenged their caste system and began setting standards to attain their dreams.

    Jenny Taylor of The New York Times, in his article “He Heard America Jiving”, tells how Hughes spoke out clearly and courageously for racial Justice, from the beginning of his career to the end of it. Andy Razors “What Did I Do to Be So Black and Blue” is an overview of radical discrimination and the forsaken questioning of African Americans curious to know the wrong they have committed in order to be treated so harshly because of their melanin. Lines 31-32 in “(What Did I Do to Be So) Black and Blue” read: “Just ’cause you’re black/ Folks think you lack/ They laugh at you and scorn you too.

    These three lines of the poem are substantial at magnifying the stereotype of African Americans not being intellectually up to par amongst the fair skinned population. If not all, a great majority of blacks used the stereotype as motivation to prove that they are able to excel alongside whites and even surpass expected educational standards of their ethnicity. The New Negro Renaissance assisted in blacks thriving to become socially and intellectually equal to Caucasians.

    Black wanted more than they had ever acquired and they had more to say about how they would reach those peaks. Welcome to Harlem, in the article titled “Andy Raze”, the editors go into detail stating through Razors sharp observation of social and racial issues, his lyrics gave an inside look at life in New York City in the first half of the Twentieth Century. Enclosed within Maya Angelinos “Still I Rise” is a triumphant voice speaking for all discriminated African Americans, encouraging those of that ethnicity to obtain hope and pride amongst themselves.

    Lines 1-4 of “Still I Rise” read: Mimi may write me down in history/ With your bitter words, twisted lies/ You may trod me in the very dirt/ But still, like dust, I’ll rise. The first word of this of much relevance. Clearly targeted at white oppressors of Negroes, the speaker is responding to decades and centuries of oppression and mistreatment dealt with by African Americans. Also, Lines 39-43 of “Still I Rise” read: “Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave/ I am the dream and the hope of the slave/ I rise/ I rise/ I rise. These specific lines show the relative importance of being grateful and appreciative of what the previous generations have endured as well as the many milestones ancestors have paved. Believing that one person stepping up to have their voice heard and making a stride n change not only helps one, but rather all suffering from discrimination and oppression. Angelinos poem informed African Americans that no matter the circumstances of constantly being torn down, having their character treated less than their actual self-worth, you are able to still stand up and overcome defeat.

    The effects of Maya Angelinos poem likewise the New Negro Renaissance granted African Americas to ability to up rise and find great pride within their black skin, all while having the desire to be as successful as possible. Baying Aweigh, authoring the article titled “Maya Angelo Gave Literacy, Political Voices to African-American Women” says Angelinos contributions to literature and social movements will remain as an inspiration to today’s youth as well as future generations.

    The New Negro Renaissance became way more than a literacy movement. It began to involve self- awareness and determination, abandonment of racist stereotypes, and racial pride. Poets like Longs Hughes, Andy Raze, and Maya Angelo were able to uplift aspiring African Americans through their powerful poetic words. Through the powerful lyrics of poets and musicians, the intellectual writings of scholars, and the usual images of artists and photographers blacks were able to believe that they too could achieve greatness.

    African Americans quickly grasped the idea of expressing their many talents that would aid them all onto pathways of success and pride. Though the Renaissance had small impact on diminishing the rough barriers of Jim Crow that separated the races, it did contribute to a mist of relaxation of racial attitudes among young whites. The New Negro Renaissance is considered by many as the “golden age” of black art in reason of high cultural levels that were achieved. Reinforcing racial pride among blacks was perhaps the greatest impact.

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