English Literature – American African Heritage

American African Heritage

The Courage that Lies Beneath

Martin Luther King one time said, “We have flown the air like birds and swum the sea like fishes, but have yet to larn the simple act of walking the Earth like brothers” ( Carson 23 ) . This quotation mark seems to be one in what Hughes and Sanchez want to turn to in their verse forms.

Throughout history, African Americans struggle with racial segregation, bondage and continual pursuit for freedom. This changeless favoritism seldom makes the “Negros” proud of their heritage. However, two powerful writes of African-american literature have come to recognize that black heritage is critical and of import, therefore necessitate to be respected and cherished. Langston Hughes “The Negro Speaks of Rivers” and Sonia Sanchez’s “An Anthem” are good illustrations of verse forms that paved manner for black s to proudly observe and appreciate their heritage. Both verse forms were written by African American authors standing as Afro- American’s representatives to derive peace and freedom. These verse forms urge inkinesss to value their heritage, be proud and hope that their dreams may come true. It besides gives us insight into the lives of African Americans in the 90’s when segregation, changeless ignorant and denial right of the “Negros” were enforced. Interestingly, Hughes is the corner rock ( influence ) in Sanchez’s composing about inkinesss ( Kelly ) because he was the first black voice to be difficult in America, composing about Black experience and History. Despite certain structural and semantic differences, the verse forms, “The Negro Speaks of Rivers” by Langston Hughes and “An Anthem” by Sonia Sanchez are in one in elating the liquors of the black people who have been victims of favoritism for the past decennaries.

As one goes over the verse forms, certain inside informations would propose that these are two unlike verse forms but critical elements like its image, tone, symbolisms and its subject seem to be unified.

Aside from being known as authors that advocate the rights of the Afro-american people or the inkinesss in general, it is rather apparent that their verse forms are dedicated to the black people who have lost their senses in the thick of the blare for equal intervention in a universe, which was dominated by the white people. Certain inside informations in the verse forms refer to the black people in a extremely important mode that empowers the manner one must look at these people. The verse form of Hughes and Sanchez did non utilize the word black in mentioning to the people but they used points of mentions that trace the root of the people. Hughes refers to these people as the people who “built my hut near the Congo” ( line 5 ) while Sanchez refers to them as people who “are like Shango” ( line 28 ) who is an African God that was venerated by the people of Nigeria.

Hughes traces back to the history of African Americans and acknowleges the different black society that existed since history even though they frequently go unnoticed. “I’ve known rivers ancient as the universe and older that the flow of human blood in human veins” ( line2 ) . He uses rivers to talk of black history and memories of captured slave. Likewise Sanchez who used rivers to show the African civilization and pride for being. “We are secret rivers/ with agitating hips of crests” ( line 12-13 ) . Both poets recognize the rivers as way of African society and civilisation.

Merely like the quotation mark by Martin Luther King, these verse forms call for the African American people who have been victims of repression. If Martin Luther wants everyone to be one as brothers, the verse forms speak in such a manner that it calls for the black people to be one in its enterprises to be at peace or to be on the same plane as that of the other people in the universe. Since the black people have been victims of repression, the verse forms call for these people to cognize their kernel and their illustriousness so that they may be able to force themselves to lift to the ranks that they deserve merely like any other people in the universe.

Harmonizing to Edward Sullivan, “The Negro Speaks of Rivers” seems to be extremely historical in such a manner that it insinuates the roots of the black people as something deep and established through clip. The metaphorical usage of the river amplifies the illustriousness of the black people that was marked at the beginning of clip and should go on on as how the rivers flow.

Sonia Sanchez’s “An Anthem” provided a different attack as it is more direct in its tone and its subject. Her words speak straight of how great black people are by showing sarcasms that emphasize the kernel of every African American or any black individual. She asks African Americans to observe their heritage, have bravery and battle for peace as they are people who deserve self-respect in the society. Sanchez is an icon where the racial ego may be heard, affirmed, and strengthened justified by her sense of justness and her bequest of love, Sanchez stands as an inspiration, an illustration of what it means to last a troubled universe. Sanchez has great value for her heritage and Culture while Hughes has a strong sense of racial pride and heritage.

Sanchez’s poem accent peace and bravery in other to obtain peace. “We are people made of fire/we walk with ceremonial breaths/we have condemned speaking mouth” ( line 4-6 ) . Sanchez proclaims the inkinesss as victors even though they are being labeled as “losers’” , and they besides condemned inequality and bondage and it is clip for inkinesss to be free. Hughes accent similar freedom when Abraham Lincoln abolished bondage by subscribing the Emancipation act of 1960 since bondage was still legal and enforced in the South. To Sanchez and Hughes, this was a minute of freedom for the black people. Hughes said, “I heard the vocalizing on Mississippi when Abe Lincoln went down to/New Orleans….” ( Line 7 ) . After this, came the civil right motion, since black had no civil right instead they were slaves left to endure.

Both verse forms utilized assorted symbolisms that serve to elate the African Americans so that they would be reminded that they were non born in the universe as mere slaves. Hughes made certain mentions to the part that these people made for the great pyramids of Egypt every bit good as by being a major informant to the flowering of the history of the United States of America. “I looked upon the Nile and raised the raised the great pyramids above it” ( line 6 ) . Sanchez besides noted that favoritism and segregation of the inkinesss existed, yet it was ignored and nil was done to halt it. “For the universe is disconnected broad open/ and you hide your custodies behind your backs/ for the universe is broken into small pieces/ and you beg with thin cups for life” ( line 16-19 ) . Here we can see that the people are imploring for peace, stableness, freedom and hope for life so they can go forth to see another twenty-four hours.

Although Sanchez shared the same ideas as to that of Hughes, Sanchez became more direct in stating that the black people are non merely ordinary people as for Sanchez they are “more than hunger and music… colour and drums… choler and dance…” ( Line 20-23 ) .

With all these lines, both verse forms speak of the authorization of the black people as brothers who should contend for equality. Different rivers that should empty in the same bank and a supplications for strength to guarantee through difficult clip, and finally embrace freedom. After all both verse forms emphasize peace, freedom, history and hope for African Americans.

Plants Cited

Carson, Clayborne. The Autobiography of Martin Luther King Jr. Warner Books: New york, 1998.

Sullivan, Edward. “Celebrating Langston Hughes.” 6 Dec. 2007 & A ; lt ; hypertext transfer protocol: //www.ala.org/ala/booklinksbucket/langstonhughes.pdf & A ; gt ; .