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Harlem Renaissance Poets - Essay Example

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Harlem Renaissance Poets

Musicians, poets and actors started celebrating their black identity and demanding for equality in the society. Some of the notable Harlem Renaissance poets that excelled in creating new cultural awareness and identity include James Weldon Johnson and Langston Hughes (Reid, 2001). James Weldon Johnson (1871-1938) He was born in Florida in 1871, and studied English literature at Atlanta University. His intention of studies was to further the rights and interests of black people in the society. He wrote several poems that were refereed as the ‘Negro National Anthem’. He criticized the African American who had ignored their black roots to assimilate in White community. His poems mainly explore the need to form black racial identity and culture. In addition, he succeeded in securing leadership in the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and inspired the equal rights struggles of the Southern African Americans after he took a trip to Georgia (Reid, 2001). He finally died in 1938. ‘Lift every voice and sing’ James Weldon uses this poem to strengthen the Black people in demanding for the end of racial segregation through demonstrating how past struggles against slavery and Jim Crow laws have been successful. His poem demonstrates double consciousness since he begins by asserting that ‘lift every voice’ (Weldon, 2013, L.1). He argues the African Americans to remain faithful and continue with their struggles until victory (Weldon, 2013, L.10). He demonstrates that the past slavery struggles have not been easy by asserting that ‘stony the road we trod, bitter the chastening rod’ (Weldon, 2013, L.11-12). His poem reminds the African American through ‘weary feet’ and ‘silent tears’ God has provided them with the ‘light’ and hopes African Americans will stay on the path (Weldon, 2013, L. 22-23). He cautions the Black people not to let their ‘hearts drunk with wine of the world’ and urges them to remain ‘true to native land’ (Weldon, 2013, L.33). Langston Hughes (1902-1967) Langston Hughes was born in Missouri and joined Columbia University for his higher education (Reid, 2001). The poet is one of the prolific poets during Harlem Renaissance due to his personal experience with inequality in the society. He travelled to both Europe and Africa and personally experienced the segregation in White dominated society. He often mingled his poetry work with black jazz music in order to promote the black cultural identity and self-awareness of the culture. ‘I, Too, Sing America’ Hughes demonstrates the racial segregation in this poem. The poem contains various aspects of double consciousness since it articulates the struggles that Black people face in the society. Hughes incorporates W.EB DuBoi’s beliefs of a fair society in the poem by asserting that ‘he also sings America’. The ‘I’ identifies the Black minority. He uses strong symbolism by asserting that ‘ I am the darker brother’ which translates that both White people and African Americans have the same source of humanity (Hughes, 2013,L. 1). Use of ‘They’ implies the ignorant White race. Hughes still asserts that ‘I laugh, eat well and grow strong’ meaning that Black people have their own cultural identity despite the segregation in ...Show more

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Harlem Renaissance poets Name: University: Abstract Harlem Renaissance refers to the period starting in 1920s when African Americans created a new cultural awareness and sense of black identity. Harlem Renaissance artists, poets, and musicians helped in highlighting the social and political segregation that African Americans were facing in the society…
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