Richard Wright: 12 Million Black Voices
The article is about a reality check, shock and a crisis that African Americans who had migrated to the North from the South in search for a better life during the Jim Crow era had to contend with. During the Jim Crow era, African Americans migrated from the South to the North with a hope of escaping racism and improving their living their conditions. However, instead of finding better living conditions, African Americans found unemployment, police brutality, underpaid work, persistent discrimination and continued segregation. Between 1916 and 1928, about 1.2 million African-Americans migrated from the South to the North. African Americans migrated to the North by use of trains and automobiles. People left during the day, during the night, in summer and winter. On arrival in the North, African Americans were shocked with a high number of Poles, Germans, Swedes, Italians and other foreigners that they met. On arrival in the North, African Americans were met with culture shock. They were surprised by mannerisms exhibited by whites and their expensive dressings. In the North, African Americans were very fearful and apprehensive of boarding trains and automobiles because of the fear that they will be shouted at, that they are in the wrong place. African Americans fear and apprehension was pegged on the many years that they had suffered in the South courtesy of racial discrimination. In the North, African Americans had to contend with a housing problem. It dawned on them that they were not only ones who had migrated to the North, in search of better opportunities (whites had also migrated to the North). As a result, the African Americans had to live in transition areas, also known as tenements. The tenements were old, rarely repaired and rarely replaced.
Langston Hughes: Montage of a Dream Deferred
Montage of a Dream Deferred is a poem by Langston Hughes that reveals the reality that African Americans who had served in World War II had to contend with when they came back home. On coming home, African American soldiers were shocked to realize that racism was still in existence and as a matter of fact had been heightened by Jim Crow segregation laws. The African American soldiers found high levels of unemployment and poverty was prevalent among African Americans. The soldiers had thought that on coming back, they would find a country thriving on democracy. The soldiers had thought that on coming back home; they would find a United States that would free of racial discrimination. The soldiers had thought that conditions back home would have been ideal to ensure that their children get an opportunity to improve their socio-economic status. A dream had to be deferred because things turned out contrary to what was expected. Courtesy of the unfavorable conditions that African Americans had to contend with, they started to clamor for racial and social justice.
Malcolm X: Message to the Grass Roots
Message to the Grass Roots is a speech by Malcolm X that was delivered on February 21, 1965, and addresses the need for blacks and other oppressed groups to take arms for self-defense. The speech was delivered on February 21, 1965, in Detroit, Michigan. It was a time when racial discrimination in America was at a heightened level that many African Americans felt that their presence was not wanted. The speech is of historical significance because Malcolm urges Americans to embrace diversity and forget their differences. According to Malcolm, embracing diversity and forgetting their differences is one of the best ways in which the problem of racial discrimination could be resolved. African Americans were being treated like second-class citizens, nothing more than e-slaves. Malcolm X asserts in his speech that the white man is an enemy to black people. Malcolm states that there is a difference between Black revolution and Negro revolution. He asserts that there is no revolution without bloodshed. He further justifies the need for violence in a revolutionary cause. According to Malcolm X, African Americans have to do whatever it takes to defend rights of their people in the United States.
Bob Dylan: Master of War
Bob Dylans Master of War is a song that protests about Americas involvement in wars during the 20th century. The song was released at a time when the United States was at war with Vietnam. Dylan criticizes masters of war for building big guns, for building death planes and bombs. Dylan reveals that masters of war hide behind wall and desks. War brings nothing other than destruction. War makes human life to appear trivial. The song reveals that masters of war lie and deceive to further their agenda. It is also revealed that young people die at the frontline of war whereas old people continue to be masters of war. War brings about fear and babies lives are threatened. The song criticizes masters of war as not being worthy to be called human beings.
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