The Song of the Smoke Themes

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This poem's historical significance is that it presents a bold, defiant image of the black man at a time when black men, especially in the South, were routinely persecuted and even murdered for such harmless activities as talking to a white woman or walking into a bar or restaurant reserved for whites. There has always been a social division between blacks and whites in America, and when that division has meant competition, the whites have always had the upper hand. "The Song of the Smoke," published more than forty years after the end of slavery, shows readers how little had changed in society since blacks had been freed. At the same time, it showed progress in the very fact that a black writer could speak so freely and intelligently about the oppression of his race, inviting the hatred of insecure whites who felt that any gain for blacks...

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This section contains 1,063 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Song of the Smoke Study Guide
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Poetry for Students
The Song of the Smoke from Poetry for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.