Sunday, December 2, 2007

"Negro" by Langston Hughes

I am a Negro:
Black as the night is black,
Black like the depths of my Africa.

I’ve been a slave:
Caesar told me to keep his door-steps clean.
I brushed the boots of Washington.

I’ve been a worker:
Under my hand the pyramids arose.
I made mortar for the Woolworth Building.

I’ve been a singer:
All the way from Africa to Georgia
I carried my sorrow songs.
I made ragtime.

I’ve been a victim:
The Belgians cut off my hands in the Congo.
They lynch me still in Mississippi.

I am a Negro:
Black as the night is black,
Black like the depths of my Africa.

This poem was written by a very famous poet named Langston Hughes. He was a Harlem Renaissance poet which means he lived during the Harlem Renaissance in the 1920's. This was a time when racial pride was represented in the idea that through things like art, music, and literature, blacks could challenge racism. This is highly reflected in all of his poems, especially this one, entitled "Negro". This peom reflects the history of African Americans and the trials and tribulations they endured in the past and continue to endure in the present. Hughes describes himself and his race as having been a slave, worker, singer and victim who suffered descrimination in several different ways from several different people in several different places. By doing this Hughes shows himself, one black man, as the entire black race throughout history. Hughes uses many allusions in this poem, alluding to Julius Caeser, George Washington, and the Woolworth Building to show the large role black people played throughout history.
This poem resonated with me because the events he describes are the real events my ancestors suffered, and enlightens me to how far African-Americans as a people have come. When I read this poem, i feel in touch with my roots all the way back to Africa. In the lines when he says "I am a Negro" (1, 17), I feel as though he is describing me, because although fortunately the word "negro" is no longer used, during his time I would have been considered negro as well. The reader can feel the extreme pain and suffering in his words as he describes the different roles of a "negro". I love this poem because it reminds me where I came from, and the things my ancestors had to face so that I could have the freedoms I have today.

6 comments:

Mackenzie R. said...

Amanda~
This poem made me cry!! It shows how far African-Americans' have come throughout history. The way the poet describes himself being descriminated in so many places and by so many people, shows how horribly he and others have been treated. I agree with your analysis and thoughts. This poem is very moving and I love it!

Naomi said...

I am not a Negro but I am Indian who is off different colour in my country Malaysia so I kind off felt all the words wrote by Mr. Langston Hughes.

Raihana said...

Agree a hundred times....

BriLaw said...

My favorite poem

Dada said...

This poem reveals for the whole world how the African American suffer throughout their history ( a slave, a worker, a victim.. )
In one word , well-expressed poem ^^

Teacher Serginho said...

This is an outstanding poem indeed. Not only African-Americans have suffered throughout history, but as an African-Brazilian I can say that lots of unspeakable things happend to black slaves in my country. This poem is for all those people with African roots who know prejudice is still part of our days. This a great poem that will endure for years to come.