April 23, 2014
African American Poets The colonial era is a time period that covers the establishment of English colonization in America (The New World) from 1607-1776. European settlers came from a vast variety of social and religious groups. The Native Indians were the first settlers in North America. During the European establishments made in North America, the Europeans sought to change the Native Americans way of life, to change their way of life, and religion. During the mid-1600s, slaves were imported from most parts of Africa. About 600,000 slaves were imported into the U.S. from 1770 -1860 slaves grew rapidly. Lucy terry was an infant when she was abducted from Africa and sold into slavery. In 1756 a free African American Named Abijah Prince, purchased her freedom and married her. Terry’s poem called “Bars Fight” is a ballad about an attack on two white families by Native Americans. “Eteazer Hawks was killed outright/ before he did the Indians see/ was shot and killed immediately.” During this time the Native Americans were rebellious against the whites. Constant friction between the whites and the Indians were reoccurring.
Slavery took place from 1619 to 1865. Slaves in America did not have the right to freedom. They were sold into white families for life. About 600,000 slaves were imported into the thirteen colonies and the U.S. persons of African descent were considered foreigners and considered outside of the English Common Law. The slave trade became a huge economic activity that took place until the 1860’s. George Moses Horton was born in Northampton County, North Carolina. He was born into slavery. He later moved to Chatham County, where he taught himself how to read and write. As a teen he would develop poems in his mind. The poem Man A torch in my opinion discusses the hardships slaves went through.
Man, a Torch
Blown up with painful care and hard to light,
A glimmering torch blown in a moment out,
Suspended by a web, an angler's bait,
Floating at stake along the stream of chance,
Snatch'd from its hook by the fish of poverty,
A silent cavern is his last abode;
The king's repository veil'd with gloom,
The umbrage of a thousand oziers bowed,
The couch of hallowed bones, the grave's asylum,
The brave's retreat and end of ev'ry care.
George Moses Horton
Reconstruction is the time that goes back to the civil war. The civil war, involves the north fighting against the south for slaves to be free. The south consists of the Confederates who want slavery to continue. Reconstruction consists of rebuilding the north. Slaves became free, and new amendments are set in place. Although slaves are free, there is segregation, which constricted African American from certain criteria’s. Paul Laurence Dunbar was born in Dayton, Ohio. His mother is a former slave and his father served in the 55th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment and the 5th Massachusetts Colored Cavalry Regiment during the Civil War. A choice, written by Paul Laurence Dunbar is about Dunbar's wishes of reading poetry that makes him feel better or become a better person and not reading sermons specifically about heeding the wrongs of life. A "dew drop in a honey cup" means something sweet and “spirit-wine of a singing line” meaning something good for the body.
They please me not-- these solemn songs
That hint of sermons covered up.
'T is true the world should heed its wrongs,
But in a poem let me sup,
Not simples brewed to cure or ease
Humanity's confessed disease,
But the spirit-wine of a singing line,
Or a dew-drop in a honey cup!
Paul Laurence Dunbar
Civil Rights Era The civil rights movement revolves around social movements, whose objectives are to end discrimination and racial segregation against African Americans. Some acts of resistance are, nonviolent protests and civil disobedience. These acts often brought government authorities