Whenever there is a civil rights movement going on, there are always 3 parties involved. One the Oppressor, second the Oppressed and lastly the Activist or the Mentor. The Activists usually always emerges from the Oppressed. That is when the Oppressed intellectuals feel that it’s time to standup to defend the identity of their people and make them strong enough to make a name of their own. This is what happened during the early 20th century within the African American community. They were racially termed as Negros meaning blacks. And were separated from the mainstream white American society with the Powerful class denying their rights for equal opportunities in basically every field of life. This paved way for the Black Arts movement. When the discrimination of the blacks reached its peak with the assassination of Malcolm X- the great influential African American leader, LeRoi Jones thought that it was time that African Americans bring about their true talent collectively. It all started in Harlem.
Spanning the 1920s to the mid-1930s, the Harlem Renaissance was a literary, artistic, and intellectual movement that kindled a new black cultural identity. Critic and teacher Alain Locke summed up its essence in 1926 when he declared that through art, "Negro life is seizing its first chances for group expression and self determination.” (Foner, Garraty).
The Harlem Renaissance as it was called, influenced future generations of black writers. And Toni Cade Bambara was one of them. The historical information mentioned above was necessary because it is important to know what period of time a writer lived in, it helps us to understand what influenced the writer to write and thus make us understand the stories better as the writer writes what he or she sees and feels. Toni Cade Bambara grew up in Harlem, so the essence of the Harlem renaissance was in her blood. Following her predecessors, she wanted to give the African American community
Cited: Bambara,Toni Cade. “The Lesson.” Gorilla,My Love. New York. Random (1972.) Print. 4th October. 2012 Tate, Claudia, ed. Black Women Writers at Work. New York. Continuum (1983.) Web. 4th October. 2012 Garraty, Foner, Editors. The Reader 's Companion to American History: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company (1991.) Web. 4th October. 2012 Gale Research Group. "Toni Cade Bambara." Discovering Authors. 1999. Griffin, Farah Jasmine. "Para Las Chicas Cubanas." Callaloo: A Journal of African Diaspora Arts and Letters 26.1 (2003): 74-82. Web. 4th October. 2012