Analysis Of A More Perfect Union By Maya Angelou

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Beginning with slavery and the Civil War in the 19th century, racial divides have put major dents in the progression of the United States, and have affected the lives of millions of African Americans. Two imperative figures in the African American communities shared their views on racial divides and tensions over the span of six decades. In 2008, Barack Obama spoke about the controversial statements made by Reverend Wright in his speech, “A More Perfect Union.” Years prior, Maya Angelou expanded on her experience with racial segregation in her excerpt, “Graduation.” Both African American, the two have experienced racial tensions first hand. Through the use of allusions, figurative language, and anecdotes, Obama’s ideas on racial segregation …show more content…
These contrasting views on the unity of the country characterize their difference of interpretation of unity. Maya Angelou’s personifies the African American race by retorting, “We were on top again. As always, again. We survived… I was a proud member of the wonderful, beautiful Negro race” (31). Angelou unites herself with all African Americans by using first person. Their unity through the segregation gives them a whole community to rely on. Maya Angelou sees unity as unity within the African American community. She feels united with her race, but not with Americans as a whole. While Angelou focuses on the racial wounds of America, Obama believes that perseverance is key, and that unity should be on a nationwide scale. Obama alludes, “But I have asserted a firm conviction… that working together we can move beyond some of our old racial wounds, and that in fact we have no choice if we are to continue on the path of a more perfect union” (658). Obama believes that in order to advance, unity needs to be seen on a national scale. He alludes to “a more perfect union” to the preamble of the Constitution. The Constitution symbolizes values of America that carry on throughout the years. The words, “a more perfect union”, has varied meanings through the eyes of Angelou and Obama: this duo sees unity either as racial, or national. Obama’s idea of unity is not restricted to a certain race, while Angelou finds that the only sense of unity she feels is that with her fellow African

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