African American comprimise in the New World Essay

1036 WordsApr 21, 20085 Pages
The African American culture has seen many transformations starting within Africa and evolving through their history into America. The history of the African spirit within America is a unique tale combining faith and struggle to create a group of people that is trying to find themselves in a society that was not made for them. One key element that remains constant in the studies of African religions is the use of music and dance. Within W.E.B. Du Bois’ The Souls of Black Folk, this element is easily seen in how he structures his book to include a piece of musical score at the beginning of his chapters and at the end of the book as a whole. The use of music in this way by Du Bois reflects the idea of music as a language for the African American community. This form of communication is only one element within the history of this group of people that shows how their history as required them to compromise between their African roots and the American culture that was forced upon them. The African American compromises their African self with their American self through the use of both language and music. The one defining event that shaped the African American life was that of slavery. In the Introduction to The Interesting Narrative of The Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa, The African, Written by Himself Werner Sollors writes, “The total number of Africans who were forced into New World slavery from the sixteenth to the nineteenth century has been estimated at between eleven and twelve million.”(Equiano, ix). Since this time, many African Americans have been trying to regain their voice in the American world. Du Bois explores the idea of regaining this voice in The Souls of Black People by reflecting the early work of the Freedman’s Bureau between 1861-1872 (Du Bois 16). By the end of the Chapter Du Bois sadly states, “despite compromise, war, and struggle,

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