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Song for a Dark GirlEdit

In the poem "Song for a Dark Girl" Langston Hughes takes us back to a dark place in history, when it was common to see black men and women be hang by their necks from trees. The setting takes place way down south in Dixie during times of segregation. In it a young dark girl has had to deal with the loss of her lover who had been hanged by a lynch mob of white men. Hughes allows us to feel the emotions of the young girl who is sad and understandable angry. Hughes comes from the Harlem Renaissance era, a time when we see many black artists, civil rights leaders, and political figures emerge. African Americans have come a long way from times of being hanged by their necks to their death to becoming part of history by becoming the leader of the free nation.

The poem starts off with the young dark girl telling where the poem takes place and explains that her lover has been lynched and hanged from cross road trees. Several years ago it was common to find groups of white men and women gathering to kill black men and women simply because they were not white.  As the poem continues "dark girl" begins to express her emotions and angers. She turns her anger to God and feels that if he were just he would not let these things happen to anyone black men and women unparticular.  In lines 7 and 8 she says “I asked the white Lord Jesus what was the use of prayer".  One of the most profound sentences of the poem, mainly because she feels forsaken and in some way betrayed. She feels as if she prays have been unanswered because "God" is in many ways like the white men and women who have killed her lover. Many during this time begin to question God and their faith, but it was that same faith and hope that got so many through the struggles and oppression. 

Poet Langston Hughes is one of the most notable poets of the Harlem Renissance era, an era when many African American artist begin to become more recognized for their works. This period lasted from roughly 1919 until the 1920's or mid 30's. During this time frame we begin to see several political and civil rights figures take more of a stance for equal rights. In a time when several great black artists were not given recanalization for their work they took it upon themselves to create ways of having their work published. This era angered many white men and women because for them it was unprecedented for blacks read and write. Not only did blacks begin to learn to read and write they also started to create their own schools and universities, now known as HBCU's.

For a countless number of years black were oppressed and held back from excelling by white men, women, and laws that prevented them from doing so. When Langston wrote this poem the Jim Crow laws enforced segregation and separation between black and white persons. Many persons such as Dr. Martin Luther King, Megered Evers, and Rosa Parks to name few fought vigorously to obtain equal rights for black. With great persistent and determination laws that restricted blacks from having the same rights as their white brothers and sisters have been abolished. In 2008 President Barack Obama continued to break barriers by becoming the first African American to be elected president. It was for artists like Hughes that wrote about many of the injustices that blacks were dealt that this great feat could happen. Blacks have gone from being hanged from cross road trees as the Dark Girl describes, to becoming president of the United States of America.

In the category of good or bad, this category would fall in the bad section. Having to watch as her lover’s lifeless body dangle from a tree after being lynched would send bad feelings through the young girl’s body. This poem starts with the young dark girl having to deal with her lover being killed in a time that was hurtful to not only black people but to many whites also. We see how over time hate has turned into love as we continue to progress as a nation.

Works CitedEdit

Song for a black girl: http://www.songofamerica.net/cgi-bin/iowa/song/1039.html

Langston Hughes: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Langston_Hughes

Harlem Renaissance: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harlem_Renaissance

President Barack Obama: http://www.whitehouse.gov/administration/president-obama

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