African American Humanities

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African American Humanities

Introduction

American literature drew much of its influence from their culture and history. For instance, the African American literature that is, short stories, poems and novels talk much about the Africans Americans’ culture, social inequality, slavery, racism, their sufferings and frustrations. These themes were incorporated through oral forms like rap, blues, gospel music, spirituals, or sermons. There were efforts by the Western world to rid off African Americans of the brutal sufferings they faced through slavery, racism, and pogroms. The African Americans were subjected to alienation, disesteem, and rejection to ensure that they never reached to the knowledge of their identity. It is through this paradoxical status of the African Americans that the African American writers, for instance James Baldwin, Ralph Ellison, Langston Hughes, Richard Wright, and among others, were in a position to forge their identity based on the travails and the torments they experienced.  W Du Bois once stated that African American literature was part of their campaign for political emancipation (Thornton, 734). Jazz music, for instance, emanated from the tunes composed during this time as they celebrated their hard labor. It was the only time they could celebrate and enjoy since they lived in difficult times of slavery. After the abolition of slavery, jazz music developed from these early tunes and constituted the message of difficult times they experienced during slavery. Another problem that dominated the African Americans was the racial prejudice. It is the attempt of advocating for equal rights and abolition of racial discrimination that African-American writers developed their themes around. The African American literary works like the songs and poems have powerful imagery, sublime themes and special vocabulary that is attributed to the significant contribution to the world culture. The double-consciousness of the African Americans prompted the African American writers to discover their true self through various ways. For instance, James Baldwin escaped to Europe just to discover his self that could not be realized in America due to the existing social conditions that subordinated self-determination of the African-Americans. The Negroes encountered difficulties in identifying their ethnicity and cultural orientation because they belong to two races. The rejection of the “racial uplift” during the Harlem Renaissance by the African American writers like Zora Neale Hurston, Jean Toomer, and Claude McKay led to the celebration of the African Americans’ color and vividness through cultural essays, poetry, and drama in the African-American fiction (Thornton, 736). What are some of the ways that African American historical experience is reflected in the works of poems, short stories, and novels? The historical experience of African-American is reflected in the African American performance in poems, short stories, and novels. The performances helped the African Americans to have a clear understanding of both their past and present through reconstructing and perpetuating their experiences of a mythic past. The performances were carried out in ritualistic and historic continuum. According to Gale (11), rituals, pure celebration, educating the audience on the meaning of the stories formed part of the performance of the story telling,

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