Harlem Criticism

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Langston Hughes is considered one of the most influential and prolific African-American poets of the twentieth century. He published poetry from the Harlem Renaissance, a period during the 1920s when African-American artists and their works flourished in Harlem, to the Civil Rights and Black Arts movements. Following the Civil Rights movement, the Black Arts movement of the 1970s combined militant black nationalism with outspoken art and literature. Onwuchekwa Jemie, in his book Langston Hughes: An Introduction to the Poetry, interprets the poem as a militant outcry against racial injustice. Jemie argues that the images in the poem build in intensity until "the violent crescendo at the end." Jemie writes, "rotten meat is a lynched black man rotting on the tree. A sweet gone bad is all of the broken promises of Emancipation and Reconstruction, ... integration... and Equal Opportunity. It might even be possible to identify each of the...

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This section contains 357 words
(approx. 1 page at 400 words per page)
Buy the Harlem Study Guide
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Poetry for Students
Harlem from Poetry for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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