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african-american poetry


            African American poetics as well as all kinds of art and literature blossomed in a ghetto of New York called Harlem, where black artists began to write and make art of the subject of African Americas" share of the apple called "America". The Harlem Renaissance, as the name given to this whole bunch of artistic and literary revivals, is believed to have begun in 1923 with Jean Toomer's novel Cane. Besides Toomer, some of the important writers of the time can be listed as Zora Neale Hurston, Langston Hughes, Countee Cullen, and Claude McKay. .
             Claude MacKay's "America" is a poem about the African Americans" life and the bitterness of that life resulting from the prejudice and hatred of whites" against them. However, we can still get the sense of hope and expectations by the help of time from his lines saying: .
             "Darkly I gaze into the days ahead, .
             And see her might and granite wonders there, .
             Beneath the touch of Time's unerring hand, .
             Like priceless treasures sinking in the sand." .
             This has almost always been the general truth of African Americans" life in America; it is bitter in the sense that they have been discriminated and even victimized by slavery and lynching, yet no matter what they have mostly managed to survive and liked America, for it was the land they were born on. Thus, they generally had expectations from the future by saying "things will change". His other poem "If We Must Die" is a rather rebellious one that makes a call to fight against the racial prejudice and segregation and the brutal fact of lynching, which this line implies: "What though before us lies the open grave?". He makes a call for his kinsmen and stresses that they must fight back writing: "we must meet the common foe!". These violent calls and war-like declarations are all the results of the segregation against and the slavery of the blacks; some may claim such poems or writings as racist; but I totally disagree but believe that they are the results of racism, spontaneous and natural reactions, and struggle for liberty.


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