Anti-Black Racism In Maya Angelou's Still I Rise

1405 Words 6 Pages
Artists, poets, and writers are not only able to paint a picture of humanity, but appeal to one’s emotional humanity through their work. Maya Angelou gives a literary and political voice to African Americans which enables people to work against anti-black racism. Her poetry evokes the fundamental socio-political message of the Black Lives Matter movement, the affirmation of black people’s contribution to society, humanity, and resilience to oppression. The juxtaposition of freedom and restriction in the Caged Bird, the freedom from social expectations in Harlem Hopscotch, and the resilience against discrimination in Still I Rise illuminates the need for a progressive society in which anti- Black racism is no longer dividing people.
The Caged
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From one hop to the next, the players are faced with new obstacles without the help of the others. At the end of the game “Both feet flat, the game is done. / They think I lost. I think I won" (Angelou 13-14). The player goes unnoticed and unrecognized. Similarly, black people have fought for their rights, but society does not grant the rights promised. The African American population experience the mistreatment and injustice as white supremacist societal structure forces them to jump through the proverbial squares. Angelou warns that if a player “cross[es] the line, they count you out” (Angelou 11). “Crossing the line” relates to protesters, rebels, pioneers, or eccentric people who do not belong. Black people are not meant to step out of line, they are to remain inside the boundaries of …show more content…
The struggle against anti-blackness is the repression on the backs of Black people - beginning with the theft of millions of people for free labor- and then adapted it to control, murder, profit off of other communities of color and immigrant communities (Garza 4). Andra Day’s Rise Up is an anthem for the Black Lives Matter movement, similar to how Still I Rise has become an anthem for the Black Liberation Movement. It was performed at not only the Grammys, but the Democratic National Convention, showing how the song speaks to a wide range of people, using music as a platform to talk about race. Her lyrics “You 're broken down and tired/ Of living life on a merry-go-round” suggests the circular entrapment of life (Day). Similar to the caged bird singing, Day sings to encourage those who are beaten down to rise up again: “when the silence isn 't quiet/ And it feels like it 's getting hard to breathe/ And I know you feel like dying/ But I promise we 'll take the world to its feet.” In the bridge of the song, “I’ll rise up” changes to “we will rise” and repeats until the end of the song. Tolerance and equality is not only for black lives but for all

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