Dutchman was written during the black arts period where a lot of authors were speaking on black rights and the civil right movement and this play was no different. We can sense the author, Amiri Baraka, throughout the character Clay when he delivers his monologue telling the reader that if we kill the white people then we would end racism, “If Bessie Smith had killed some white people she wouldn’t have needed that music. She could have talked very straight and plain about the world. No metaphors. No grunts. No wiggles in the dark of her soul” (Baraka). He touches on how African Americans are allowed to dance “black” dances and sing “black” songs. Baraka uses this to show how African Americans build up this anger towards white people and this distracts them from the intellectual legacy of white men. Baraka used Clay as an example of a people who are self-possessed and frustrated because they are unable to escape the stereotypes and a racist society.
Joe Turner’s Come and Gone, although premiered later than Dutchman, focused on an earlier part of Afric...
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...k Americans were still being treated as if they were objects and not like they were actual human beings. As stated before in Dutchman, Lula assumes that because Clay is black that he lives in New Jersey with his parents and describes Jeremy perfectly due to racial identities she believes black people have.
Both plays were very powerful in showing African American history. Joe Turner’s Come and Gone helped to show the aftermath of the Civil War and how the African Americans were treated. Whereas Dutchman helped show how years later things hadn’t really changed much and black people were still being treated as objects and things that could be manipulated but not people. Each play helped to fight adversity and showcase the African American situations that were faced at each time in history. Although written during and for different times, they weren’t that different.
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