"America" By John Mckay

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“AMERICA” by Claude McKay Amanda Zacek 2-21-2012 Claude McKay is trying to show America that he as well as all other African Americans are just as capable to do great things as white people ,if given the chance to prove themselves, In the poem “America” by Claude McKay, he tries to describe the difficultly for most African Americans to live in a country filled with racism. While Claude loves America he believes that time is being wasted because many black people can do great things for this country. That this culture does not allow African Americans to prosper, Claude wrote this poem during the Harlem Renaissance, it was how he experienced racism. Harlem was the largest black community in the 1930’s in America. His whole goal of writing the poem was to destroy race prejudice. The Harlem Renaissance was an African American art and social movement that began after World War I in Harlem, in New York City. The Harlem Renaissance may be best known for its African American writers that wrote about racism, oppression and black culture. The Harlem Renaissance was lead by many black activists such as Book T. Washington which help to lay the foundation of the renaissance and speak up against racism and many of the hardships that African Americans faced. Claude first writes “Although she feed me bread of bitterness, and sinks into my throat her tiger’s tooth, stealing my breath of life, I will confess I love this cultured hell that test my youth!” This means even though he is mistreated and considered a second class citizen because of his race, he can still love the place he was born, that he calls home. This was how a lot of African Americans in this time period felt. Life for blacks in the 1930's has been described as an "American hell" but it was not just the 1930's, basically from 1863 to 1970. the conditions in that time period were basically the
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