Preview
Preview

The African-American Nightmare Exposed in Black Literature Essay

:: 7 Works Cited
Length: 2233 words (6.4 double-spaced pages)
Rating: Blue      
Open Document




- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

African-American Nightmare Exposed in Olaudah Equiano, Narrative of Frederick Douglass, Song of Solomon, and Push

 
The American Dream was founded on the concept that "all men are created equal"(Jefferson 729) and that everyone has the capability and resources to "pull themselves up by their bootstraps." The Declaration of Independence was written so Americans could achieve this dream, but was not written with the African slave in mind. The African slave was never intended to be a part of this American Dream, therefore, not capable of obtaining it. These slaves were beaten up and/or lynched by their massas with these bootstraps instead of being "pulled up" by them.

 

Even after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, Blacks still did not have access to all of the privileges of the white world. The Jim Crow laws of 1877 constantly reminded Blacks of their second-class citizenship and also limited them to certain areas and to very few resources. Signs reading "Whites Only" or "Colored" hung over restroom doors, drinking fountains and other public places.

 

The dominant American Dream narrative involves voluntary participation, forgetting the past, and privileging the individual while the alternative Dream narrative of American minorities involves forced participation, connecting tot the past, and privileging the group-the traditional (extended) or alternative families. So, clearly, to the African-American, there were and still are many restrictions that go along with the American Dream.

 

The great civil rights leader, Dr. Martin Luther King in his famous speech, "I Have a Dream," delivered August 28, 1963 at the Lincoln Memorial during the March on Washington, D.C., supports these limi...


... middle of paper ...


...Life of Frederick Douglass. 1845. The Classic Slave Narratives. Ed. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. New York: Penguin Group, 1987.

Equiano, Olaudah. The Life of Olaudah Equiano. 1814. The Classic Slave Narratives. Ed. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. New York: Penguin Group, 1987.

Hughes, Langston. "Dream Deferred". Literature, Reading Fiction, Poetry, Drama & the Essay. 4th Edition, Published by McGraw Hill, 1998.

Jefferson, Thomas. The Declaration of Independence. 1776. The Norton Anthology of American Literature, 4th ed. v.1,ed. Nina Baym et al (NY: Norton, 1994), 729.

King, Jr., Martin Luther. "I Have a Dream." A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings of Martin Luther King Jr., Ed. J. M. Washington. Harper & Row, 1986. 217, 219.

Morrison, Toni. Song of Solomon. New York: The Penguin Group, 1977.

Sapphire. Push. New York: Vintage Contemporaries, 1996.

 


Click the button above to view the complete essay, speech, term paper, or research paper

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »







This essay is 100% guaranteed.


Title Length Color Rating  
Creative Movement, Harlem Renaissance, Helped Black People Express Themselves - ... (Sterling). A sharecropper is a tenant farmer who tends to crops and receives a small portion of it once it is harvested. This kept African Americans in a cycle of poverty because they were not payed enough money to sustain themselves and their families, which forced them into debt. (Sterling). White plantation owners did this so black citizens would not become powerful. The struggling economy led to the Great Migration because it gave many African Americans another reason to travel to the North....   [tags: african americans, kkk, migration] 1162 words
(3.3 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
The Minister's Black Veil and Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl Essay - Comparing Two Works of Literature “The Minister’s Black Veil” and “Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl” are two stories that have had the most impact on me from our assigned readings. Interestingly, both of these stories were written around the mid 1850’s. The former reading focuses on our sin and the latter on the issue of slavery. Both sin and slavery seem to be two concerns that had once corrupted this country. Some people could argue that it is continuing to do so. In my opinion, prejudice, discrimination, and sin are still occurring in the United States....   [tags: comparing two works of literature] 1199 words
(3.4 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
The African-American Male Essay - Thesis Statement: To examine societies contribution to the destruction of the urban African-American male, one must further explain the educational system, racism toward the African-American male, and male role models in society; in doing so it will interpret the meaning to Jawanza Kunjufu first volume: Countering the Conspiracy to Destroy Black Boys (2004). I. Educational System a. Lack of Information/ Dropouts b. Fourth Grade Syndrome c. Black Male Teachers II. Racism for males a. In the Environment b. Economically c. Rights as a Citizen III....   [tags: Race]
:: 10 Works Cited
2571 words
(7.3 pages)
Term Papers [preview]
Social Stratification in the African American Community Essay example - Social Stratification in the African American community has changed over the years. Social stratification is defined as a rigid subdivision of a society into a hierarchy of layers, differentiated on the basis of power, prestige, and wealth according to Webster’s dictionary. David Newman in Sociology Exploring the Architecture of Everyday Life describes stratification as a ranking system for groups of people that perpetuates unequal rewards and life chances in society. From slavery to the present, the African American community has been seen to have lower status compared to white people....   [tags: Race] 1003 words
(2.9 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Sterling Allen Brown: Academic and Writer Essay example - A realist not only by artistic and significant persuasion, but by temperament, Sterling A. Brown has shown concern throughout his career with poetry as an art of communication. Brown's essential writings deal primarily with the literary portrayal of Afro-Americans. Brown renders in a trend that emerged from many types of folks discourse, a black dialect matrix that features the blues and ballads, the spirituals and work songs. Brown’s final referents are African-American music and mythology. Brown was born in May 1901 and graduated with honors from Dunbar High in 1918....   [tags: African American, literature]
:: 4 Works Cited
953 words
(2.7 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
Black Leaders Of 20th Century Essay - BLACK LEADERS OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY In the time after the fall of radical black reconstruction of the nineteenth century, African Americans were being oppressed by rural farming, civil rights, economical advancement and sharecropping. Booker T. Washington charged the fight for economical and political accommodation with his dream of equal civil rights. Timothy Thomas Fortune was an influential black journalist that fought for the rights of African Americans through literal resistance....   [tags: essays research papers] 1270 words
(3.6 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Richard Wright's - Black Boy Essay - Richard Wright's - Black Boy A Teacher's Guide for Secondary and Post Secondary Educators Introduction Richard Wright: An Overview Questions and Activities Before Viewing Questions and Activities After Viewing History: Questions and Activities Education: Questions and Activities Literature: Questions and Activities Psychology: Questions and Activities Sociology Political Science/Cultural Studies: Questions and Activities Bibliographies INTRODUCTION Although RICHARD WRIGHT: BLACK BOY focuses mainly on the life and history of an internationally acclaimed American author, the visual and audio components of the documentary richly contextualize the literature that Wright produ...   [tags: essays research papers fc] 5480 words
(15.7 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Higher Education vs. Industrial Education in African-American Society Essay - Debate: Booker T. Washington Verses Dubois The subject of higher education versus industrial education in the Black society has existed since the two options were open to African-Americans after liberation. Both modes of education act a vital part in African-American corporate identity since they both act as one of many cultural representations. Corresponding to the late Dr. John Ogbu, a former anthropology professor at the University of California (Berkley), corporate identity refers to “people’s sense of who they are, their ‘we feeling’ or ‘belonging’” (Ogbu 3)....   [tags: politics, history, economy]
:: 3 Works Cited
925 words
(2.6 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
lighthod Dark Heart of England Exposed in Conrad's Heart of Darkness Essay - The Dark Heart of England Exposed in Heart of Darkness       Joseph Conrad's novel, "Heart of Darkness", depicts events in his personal life and how he came to believe that the European invasion of the African Congo needed to end. Joseph Conrad had a boyhood fascination of maps and the blank spaces on the African continent. Therefore, when the opportunity was given to him to become the captain of a small steamship on the Congo River, he jumped at the chance. In addition to Conrad's sense of adventure, he also had a curiosity of King Leopold's actions in the Belgium Congo and had a strong desire to witness firsthand the action taking place....   [tags: Heart Darkness essays]
:: 1 Works Cited
794 words
(2.3 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
Essay about The Harlem Renaissance - The Harlem Renaissance was a major step for the advancement of African Americans in the American Society during the 1920s. The Harlem Renaissance brought about a flourishing of the African American community, it helped bring black culture into a predominantly white society, and it generally satisfied problems previously faced by the African American community. Preceding the Renaissance, African Americans were not really nothing but slaves who received freedom. The Harlem Renaissance helped African Americans establish their identities as culturally enriched people who were well deserving of a place in American society....   [tags: African-Americans, Culture, Jazz]
:: 4 Works Cited
691 words
(2 pages)
Better Essays [preview]