African-American Literature

For each passage write the following: Use the corresponding letter to reference each passage. 1. Identify the author and title of the passage 2. Identify the historical era and/or literary period in the African American literary tradition in which the passage was written 3. Explain the content (what’s going on) and context (how does it fit into the larger work from which it is excerpted) 4. Comment on a theme or subject of the work as illustrated by this passage. (Do not paraphrase.) Make sure that your responses take all aspects of the passage, including literary forms or techniques, into account. A. “One ever feels his twoness, — an American, a Negro; two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings; two warring ideals in one dark body, whose dogged strength alone keeps it from being torn asunder.” W.E.B Dubois B. “Oh, little brown girl, born for sorrow’s mate, Keep all you have of queenliness, Forgetting that you once were a slave, And let your full lips laugh at Fate!” Gwendolyn Bennett. C. “But this is the mountain standing in the way of any true Negro art in America—this urge within the race toward whiteness, the desire to pour racial individuality into the mold of American standardization, and to be as little Negro and as much American as possible.” Langston Hughes D. “She stayed to the night service—’love feast’—which was very warm and full of spirit. In the emotional winds, her domestic trials were borne far and wide so that she sang as she drove homeward, ‘Jurden water, black an’ col’ Chill’s de body, not de soul An Ah want cross Jurden in uh calm time.’” Zora Neale Hurston K. “The lesson this teaches, and which every Afro-American should ponder well, is that a Winchester rifle should have a place of honor in every black home, and it should be used for that protection which the law refuses to give. When the white man, who is always the aggressor, knows he runs an as great risk of biting the dust every time his Afro-American victim does, he will have greater respect for Afro-American life.” – Ida B Wells G. “Upon her swarthy neck black shiny curls Luxuriant fell, and tossing coins in praise, The wine-flushed, bold-eyed boys, and even the girls, Devoured her shape with eager, passionate gaze; But looking at her falsely-smiling face, I knew her self was not in that strange place.” Claude McKay. 

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