Poetry Anthology - Racism in African-American Poetry

Topics: Black people, Poetry, African American Pages: 15 (3056 words) Published: December 2, 2013
P O E T R Y

A N T H O L O G Y

“Racism and Suffering in African American
Poetry”

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T A B L E O F C O N T E N T S
Cover Page ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 1 Table of Contents ………………………………………………………………………………………..……………… 2 Prologue …..……………………………………………………………………………………………………………..……… 3 Poem List ….…………………………………………………………………………………………..………………….…… 4 Commentaries ……………………………………………………………………………….……………………………… 5 “Africa” by Maya Angelou ……………………………….………………………………………………………..………… 6 Commentary …………………………………………………………………….………………………………………………… 7 “Song for a Dark Girl” by Langston Hughes ….……………………………………………………………………… 8 Commentary ………………………………………………….……………………………………………………..…………… 9 “On Being Brought from Africa to America” by Phillis Wheatley ……………………………………… 10 Commentary ……………...……………………………………….…………………………………………………………… 11 “Yet Do I Marvel” by Countee Cullen ……………………………….………………………………………………… 12 Commentary …………………………………………………….……………………………………………………….……… 13 “Taint” by Grace Nichols……………………………………………………………………………………..……………… 14 “First Fire” by Camille T. Dungy…………………………………………………………………………………………… 15 “God Give to Men” by Arna Bontemps…………………………………………………………………………….…… 16 “Ghetto Gospel” by Tupac Shakur, Elton John, and Bernie Taupin…………………………………..…… 17-19

Epilogue ……..………………………………………………………………………………………………..……………… 20 Bibliography ……..………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 21

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P R O L O G U E
In the last few decades, the African-American community has been subject to matters of racism in all forms of social, political, and social discrimination. Throughout history, racism has been the driving force behind slave trade, racial discrimination, and apartheid. Such matters were highlighted in modern day poetry by renowned poets of African descent such as Maya Angelou, Grace Nichols, and Tupac Shakur. They sought after poetry as a mean of achieving social justice and evenhandedness. Such is why the poems I opted to choose take on themes such as struggle, despair, discrimination, and hope.

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P O E M

L I S T

“Africa” by Maya Angelou
“Song for a Dark Girl” by Langston Hughes
“On Being Brought from Africa to America” by Phillis Wheatley “Yet Do I Marvel” by Countee Cullen
“Taint” by Grace Nichols
“First Fire” by Camille T. Dungy
“God Give to Men” by Arna Bontemps
SONG: “Ghetto Gospel” by Tupac Shakur, Elton John, and Bernie Taupin

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“C O M M E N T A R I E S”
“Africa” by Maya Angelou
“Song for a Dark Girl” by Langston Hughes
“On Being Brought from Africa to America” by Phillis Wheatley “Yet Do I Marvel” by Countee Cullen

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“Africa”

by Maya Angelou
Thus she had lain
sugercane sweet
deserts her hair
golden her feet
mountains her breasts
two Niles her tears.
Thus she has lain
Black through the years.

Over the white seas
rime white and cold
brigands ungentled
icicle bold
took her young daughters
sold her strong sons
churched her with Jesus
bled her with guns.
Thus she has lain.

Now she is rising
remember her pain
remember the losses
her screams loud and vain
remember her riches
her history slain
now she is striding
although she has lain.

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Commentary
Africa, a poem by the renowned Maya Angelo, depicts the struggles of the African American people by comparing the continent of Africa to the plight of a woman being assaulted and abused. This poem is Angelou’s way is to raise awareness of the hardships of Africans past and attempting to unite all blacks under the banner of an ancestral Africa. The use of transformation aids in creating a more vivid image.

In the first few lines of the first stanza, Africa is portrayed as an attractive and complicated woman. The poet makes a careful description of the woman’s beauties and charms. There is a significant twist of events in the second stanza. Africa is invaded by outlaws who kidnap men and women, involving them in Slave trade. The stanza is also overwhelmed by killing and forced religious...
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