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Harlem Renaissance Arts of Writing

HarlemRenaissance Arts of Writing

HarlemRenaissance Arts of Writing

HarlemRenaissance was a movement in the 1920`s, and 1930`s that involvedexploration of African-American art of writing (Meier&amp Huggins, 2012).The majority of these writers in their arts described it to be one ofthe minority race in America. It is during this period that poetslike Claude McKay and Langston Hughes became prolific writers. ClaudeMcKay came up with poems like &quotIf we must die&quot WhileLangston Hughes wrote, ‘Let America be America again.&quot

ClaudeMcKay was an immigrant in America, and he expressed the prevailingconditions in America at that particular time through writing. Hiscore objective was to bring back the lost hope and give voice to theblack Americans. Due to this, he became an influential figure in theUnited States of America paving the way for more writers likeLangston Hughes who rose and condemned racism openly. Langston Hugheswas on the frontline in the battle against racism in the UnitedStates of America. He also wrote with the aim of changing the nextgeneration by publishing articles which taught young children aboutequality (Gudmestad, R., 2012)

Thetwo authors felt that the identity of the black Americans wasdivided, and unifying them would be difficult because they wereslaves to the white. In Claude McKay`s poem, “double consciousness”it is apparent throughout. He states in his poem that it should notbe like hogs (Hughes,2011).By this, he meant that the ongoing war between the whites and theblacks, who had been oppressed, would come to an end if the blacksfought for their rights. Langston Hughes in his poem “Let Americabe America again” he says that there should be no kings, tyrants orpeople being mistreated by someone above them. His words are amotivating factor to the oppressed to rise.


ClaudeMcKay and Langston Hughes bring out similar themes in their poems.Themes were spearheaded by the prevailing conditions in America atthat particular time. The themes of warfare and Racism are the mainsubjects of discussion not only in their poems but also in themajority of all the other writers` arts of writing. In the poem “Ifwe Must Die,&quot the title gives an impression that a battlebetween the white and the black was in progress and people would losetheir lives. Similarly, in the poem “Let America be America” theauthor suggests that America is not the same again because the whitesare oppressing the blacks. Though these are the two main themes, thepoems bring up so many other themes like exploitation, humansuffering, and slavery. Claude McKay and Langston Hughes are justsome of the prolific writers who wrote during the Renaissance period.Others included Tyndale William, Chapman, and George(Washington-Favors., 2014).

Owncomposition poem bringing out the theme of inequality and oppression

Ionce visited the town

AndI was enjoying the site of the large storied buildings

Aftera long day walk

Thepoor and fragile decked the house

Carryingthe baby on her back

Besideher stood a white man


Myeyes saw this unfamiliar incident

Andmy heart sank with pity


Thefollowing day I watched from my balcony

Thewhite man stood with a whip

Tearsrolled down the woman’s cheeks

Butthere was nobody to rescue her

Herdark hue isolated her

Frombeing a human being

Lifewas unfair

Becauseof her complexion

Adialogue between Stacy and Emily about their role in the society

(Stacyand Emily are quietly kneeling at the backyard both lost in thought.The two women have undergone so much in their lives. Stacy is marriedfor ten years now while Emily is newly wedded. She decided to visitStacy for advice. Stacy is, however, illiterate because her parentscould not make to raise the required fee to take her to an elementaryschool. Emily`s case is, however, different because she is from awell up family which has not only educated their daughter but theyhave also equipped her with more skills)

Emily:Have you done the housework?

Stacy:Yes, it is compulsory for every woman in this century to prioritizedoing that first before engaging herself in any other task

Emily:It is tiresome. I hate it.

Stacy:You have to accept the norms of the society you are in for you tolive peacefully. Please understand that you have no authority over aman.

Emily:I want to join the University for Further Studies.

Stacy:As a woman that’s unacceptable your mandate is just entertainingyour husband doing laundry and housework.

Emily:Do you personally like the life that you are living?

Stacy:Am left with no other option but acceptance. The society is so unfairtowards us women and nobody is ready to change the current situation.The best thing is just following and respecting the culture not goingagainst it.

Emily:That`s true, but I will bring something new in the society. I believethat change is possible if we join hands as women.

(Thetwo women remain silent as Daniel, Stacy’s husband passes by.)


Gudmestad,R. (2012). If We Must Die: Shipboard Insurrections in the Era of theAtlantic Slave Trade (review). TheAmericas,64(3),467-468. http://dx.doi.org/10.1353/tam.2008.0009

Hughes,L. (2011). Let America be America again. PrésenceAfricaine,59(3),3. http://dx.doi.org/10.3917/presa.059.0003

Meier,A. &amp Huggins, N. (2012). Harlem Renaissance. TheAmerican Historical Review,77(4),1179. http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/1859634

Washington-Favors,S. &amp Wintz, C. (2014). The Harlem Renaissance, 1920-1940. Vol.3-Black Writers Interpret the Harlem Renaissance. AfricanAmerican Review,33(4),697. http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/2901360