African American literature can be summarized as the writings of authors from African descent. In the United States, African descendents have had very different experiences from each others depending on where they lived. In the southern states of the United States, Blacks have been really oppressed until the Civil War, with the big part being illiterate well into the end of 1800. In the northern states ,Blacks had a considerable greater freedom, and with the end of the Civil War, a new and educated African American social class emerged. African American literature was influenced by these factors, and it varied greatly but it always held undeniable similarities, circling the Black experience in America.
The very first African American writings tried to put into perspective the role of Black Americans in American. What it meant to be an American was often explored in literature and served as a central theme in many works of literature. African American literature tried, and still does, to illustrate the implications of the African-American presence in the United States. The writings of many early authors have confronted the Declaration of Independence's "allegation" that in America all citizens had a right to freedom and equality. Prior to the Civil War the country's opinion that all men were created equal had it limitations; it was unofficially agreed on that it really only all "white" men were created equal.
The very beginnings of a Black literature in American was confused, there was resistance from the white community in allowing Blacks to be educated, but as late as the 1700's some authors African descent managed write and to publish their writings. Is it believe that Jupiter Hammon is the first African American to have ever published a work of literature in the United States (Wikipedia); his poem "An Evening Thought: Salvation by Christ with Penitential Cries" was published in 1761. Phillis... [continues]
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