Slavery is inseparable with American history, especially in the African American community. It defines how America rose from the ashes and rejected the treatment of men as lesser beings in time when the union threatened to split into North and south in secession during the civil war. The triumph of Abraham Lincoln administration marked the end of slavery and the advent of Reconstruction which has seen America soar to greater height on the unity of its multiethnic and racial composition living true to the words f the forefathers who made it apparent that all men are born equal.
Literature on slavery to epitaph the era is extensive and inept with accounts ranging in perspective and sincerity as well as depth. Some of the books written on the era include; Toni Morrison’s novel Beloved, Octavia Butler’s Kindred, Leon Litwack’s Been in the Storm So Long etc. Accounts during the slavery area bear a similar characteristic of the suffering suffered by the black community in the arms of slaves in an effort to accept the ills our communities did to the black people then and thus enable the black community reconcile with the society and feel as part of the bigger picture in determining the future of America.
Octavia Butler’s Kindred which scour the topic of slavery fro a scientific point of view when Dana telepaths into the past to save her white ancestor carry the themes of reconciliation. Similarly Been in the Storm So Long examines the atrocities against black people and defines the time when Africans forged forward in the post-civil war era. He examines their enthusiasm and aspirations in Becoming a people examining how eventually both white and black communities came to reconciliation and built America.
Both stories examine the occurrences of the slavery era with Kindred showing us the unfairness of the laws during this time as Alice Greenwood fathers flogging and other instances. In Leon’s stories, he carries an interview of the old people who tell of their accounts and their lives during the years of slavery. They both look at the atrocities of the slavery age with all the suffering and bitterness laws that kept the black community subservient. The books examine this act of inhumanity to remind the present and future America the historical injustices that must never be relived ever again and instead democratic institutions should be upheld which will annihilate any form of discrimination and injustice in a community.
Then they both examine the will to outlive the dark ages, In the Kindred Butler creates her own underground railroad and the struggle that started even longer than the civil war to free African American slaves. Leon, on the other hand, shows the triumph of the black community who after unending struggle finally achieved the elusive dream and were free. He looks at the challenges that faced them as free men and their struggles to fit into the world and build something for themselves out of the opportunity offered by the land of opportunity.
The books differentiate in the fact that Leon writes interviews with real people who give a first-hand impression of their slavery ordeals. Butler uses Sci-Fi to give a notion of slavery and not the experiences of the slaves per se. Leon’s work also passes off as historical record of a people living out of bondage into freedom while Butler’s work is an examination of this history that redefines the characters involved.
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Both books are amazing records of American history with valuable lessons that will be relevant for a long time to come. There are invaluable records of an era in American history that helped shape the resent and the pas of this nation.
During this picture taken at the after the civil war in America of a black soldier whose division greatly contributed to end the second world war, is embodies the ideals of the black community in the post-civil war optimism. The freedmen sought to participate in their country and get a chance to participate in the determination of its future rather than the second fiddle they used to play during the days of slavery. The photo shows the pride Africans enthusiasm just as when they wrote letters to Abraham Lincoln to allow them to enlist and help fight in the civil war.
They were enthusiastic of freedom and getting treated as equals to whites and sought all the avenues in which they could dispose their abilities in building America. This is because the about four, million black men who were freed after the end of the civil war found themselves at crossroads. They had forgotten about their African heritage severed by the long eons under slavery and going back to a colonized Africa was not much of a choice. They had for long changed their perspectives and felt much a part of Americans as the Europeans who had made America their home and were willing to embrace the Metropolitan.
Thus they sought to prove their allegiance to their new found country that now recognized them as equal entities. They sought o prove their worth as the regiment of the photo embodies as well as fight out the opportunities of American workforce on an equal footing with the white. It was also apparent that the black community was not qualified enough and the only jobs they could access were physical jobs like the military extending their endurance from the plantations to the battleground.
The Africans aspire to be recognized by America for their contribution and annihilate the racial bigotry that did not go away with the war and could only be achieved through proof of worth which they availed in abundance.
During the 1970s and late sixties there was a vibrant explosion of black literature and poetry during the era of Black Arts movement which saw great books such as Black Magic and The Nations Time. It was a manifestation that arose out of the ashes of black power which had been on the offing form the fiery mouth of the revolutionary Malcolm X. after his assassination in 1965 there arose a need in African American writers to redefine artistically the position and ideals of the black people. The Black arts movement was revered to the Black power and most of its literature defined the characters and aspirations of black people in their white-dominated society. It generally symbolized a great shift of perception and redefinition of Black community and how they viewed their lives.
The articles at this time contained literature covering black innovations in art like the rhythm and Blues as well as Jazz and the gospels of the 1970s. It reflected the pride blacks started eliciting from their every day lives which included the street slang instead of outright grammatical English.
During the seventies due to their affiliation with Malcolm’s Black Power the literature was always very militant and anti-government which aggressively took on the administration and police. Amiri Baraka (Jones), one of the most published writer of this period is quoted saying, “Arm yourself or harm yourself”. The literature encouraged confrontation with the white authority and saw as the only legitimate way of protesting against injustice was through their art which they laced with lethal militant confrontation with the white authority and especially with the police.
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The literature also sought to redefine African American I the view of their roots as they sought to establish their history in defining themselves as Americans. This was evident in an advocate, Karenga and his philosophy of Kawaida which emphasized on the Nguzo Saba (the seven Principles) emphasizing on African names and philosophies.
This period of African American literature and writing also saw a renaissance of literature in which black women found their voices and were able to project their creativity through the written word like Toni Morrison and Alice Walker. The Black Arts movement has led to inspiration of later literature and left a mark on the importance of literature in attainment of the dream of equality among the racial diversity in America. It helped define the African American community and reconciled them with their past through philosophical and artistic interludes of self discovery and reassertion.
Octavia Butler’s kindred are a science fiction book that examines the days of slavery through our eyes. It is the story of Dana the protagonist and her ventures back into history to save. She teleports back to the days of slavery and saves Rufus, her ancestor. The white boy he sees across the river would eventually marry Alice Greenwood and sire the lineage of Dana. In the intriguing escapades of Sana she goes through the problems and suffering of the slaves back in the days. Butler artistically solicits thought from the book with the dire circumstances under which the Black community grew under and thus reveals the greater push that bore the civil war and the eventual redefinition of American history where all men became equal after the civil rights movement
The story has a strong contribution to the thesis’s that the problem of reassertion and the idea of the perspective of the black community has much to do with the time of slavery. Most black people had the ideas of enslavers embedded in their skulls knowing no other truth than their subjugation and the revolution was basically the innate desire to be free and not the philosophical discovery that they are born equal. This push for splitting the yoke freedmen who realized that they lacked the neither resources nor foundation to live in a community they had fought and forced to free them. They had to redefine themselves and reconcile with their community as well as rediscover their underlying humanity which is shown in Butlers story since although Rufus is white he is his ancestor thus the theory of racism cannot hold water when black and white are in fact kindred.
The story shows the friction and reconciliation the extermination of violence and the reinvention of past myths that surrounded race and how we view it presently as well as its bearing on the American History. It is a clear attesting to the fact that Americans whether Black or white are tied together by the slave history that has made them kindred, reconciled and fostering to one end of national prosperity and achieving the American dream.