Harlem Poem Analysis

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At just 51 words in length, Langston Hughes ' poem "Harlem" can be easily overlooked. But there is an underlying aggression to the words of this poem, a frustrated level of turmoil hidden in the words that demands attention and refuses to be ignored. The graphic imagery of a decaying dream is the point of this poem and yet the title is Harlem. Langston was born in Joplin, Missouri, lived in Ohio, in Illinois and even in Mexico for a short time; he pursued higher education going to Lincoln University in Pennsylvania but he chose to write about Harlem, he was often found in Harlem clubs and his poetry heading the Harlem Renaissance, he wrote this grievance letter directed to a place close to his heart. But where did this frustration stem …show more content…
Some also migrated out of fear of anti-Black riots and the potential recurrence as those that happened in the Tenderloin in 1900 and in San Juan Hill in 1905, some tenements in another surrounding area (West 30s) within the city had been destroyed to prepare for construction of the original Penn Station, many others migrated fleeing from the Jim Crow era that had a vice grip on many Southern states and to escape the culture of lynching violence. So these reasons together were responsible for the demographic change of Harlem at the time leading up to the eventual Harlem Renaissance. By 1920, central Harlem was 30% Black and 70% Black by 1930 (according to a 1930 census), for these residents who had essentially become refugees within their own country, it was devastating to flee from one part of the country, start an innovative and artistic movement only to be thwarted by severe economic collapse and continued injustice. What must it feel like to be seen as a second-class citizen in your own country in the 1930s and be able to see the woman of liberty standing upright from your own dilapidated bedroom window? By the 1950s, housing wars again found Harlem patrons, some of which the very same victims that had initially fled to Harlem because of housing conditions. This was the perfect and mandatory circumstances for dreams to fester and deteriorate, for the demise of mental stability and fortitude and for the limit to which the human psyche can

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