Essay on Poetry's Influences on the Harlem Renaissance

2040 Words Jun 24th, 2013 9 Pages
Shayuann Shepard
Mrs. Gullett
English 11
15 May 2013
Poetry’s influence on racial equality
Racial equality has been the topic of many works for centuries. Many of those works weren’t written by those actually affected by inequality. During the 1920’s African Americans began to express their opinions on the issue more frequently through the arts. Poetry was among the most prominent forms of art used for spreading equality and justice. Poets like Langston Hughes, Countee Cullen, and Claude McKay wrote many poems that spoke on equality in society.
African Americans felt betrayed after the civil war. They had given their lives and after the war nothing had changed (Cartwright, “The Harlem Renaissance”). They were still not treated equal
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This gave him a more unconventional education. Instead of learning regular writing and math like other children his age he was taught about black ideals. Most of his education was provided by completely white influences. This gave him a well rounded look at racism. (Poetry Foundation, “Countee Cullen”). This was often shown in his writing. Cullen’s writing technique would never directly attack Caucasians like other poets during the Harlem renaissance. He was a new voice for the African Americans, one that was actually listened too
Cullen graduated from New York University in 1925 as Phi Beta Kappa. At that time he was already writing some of the acclaimed poems published in books by Harper and Brothers: Color (1925), Copper Sun (1927). He won first prize in the Witter Bynner Contest in 1925. Graduating with a Harvard University M.A. degree in 1926, the poet traveled to France as a Guggenheim Fellow(A grant). Upon his return in 1928, he married Yolanda Du Bois, daughter of W.E.B. Du Bois. She divorced him two years later, saying that he told her he was sexually attracted to men. From 1934 on, Cullen taught English and French at the Frederick Douglas Junior High School, though he declined a Creative Literature invitation from Fisk University in Nashville. In 1940 he married an old friend, Ida Mae Roberson. (The Harvard Square Library, “Countee Cullen” He died in 1946 of gastrointestinal disorder

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