The poets I choose are Claude McKay (1889-1948) who wrote the poem “If We Must Die” and Langston Hughes (1902-1967) who wrote the poem “Jazz Band in a Parisian Cabaret”. Each Poet had a really important role and importance in the Harlem Renaissance. Claude McKay is a poet who was born in Jamaica and left for the U.S in 1912. McKay generally published in white avant-garde magazines and occasionally in magazines like The Crisis. His Poem “If We Must Die” was inspired by the race riots that exploded in the summer and fall of 1919 in a number of cities in both the North and South. His poem triggers the violent episodes of white people attacking them, but getting stunned by how many black people fought them back and in the poem he express passionate militant anger to fight back. “The British Prime Minister Winston Churchill would use McKay’s same exact poem to rally British and American Troops to fighting in Europe”(pg 1174 Modernism and the Globalization of Cultures). Claude McKay helped to launch the burst of creative energy that was the Harlem Renaissance. Also Langston Hughes a leader of the Harlem Renaissance famously published, “Negro was in vogue” which mean, “Harlem was in vogue” as a sign of gaining popularity and becoming a mainstream for jazz and poetry. At twenty-two years of age in 1924 he had gone to Paris seeking a freedom he could not find at home. Langston Hughes was one of the many African American who had been drawn to Paris by reports of black soldiers who had served in the World War I; in so call Negro division like the 92nd and 93rd infantries. And soon he was writing poems inspired by Jazz rhythms he was hearing played by the African ...
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...heir thousand blows deal one deathblow!” show how they will fight back before death occurs as a sign of influence.
Also in Langston Hughes “Jazz Band in a Parisian Caberet” the main theme is he touts the universal appeal of jazz to convey ideas of national unity. Langston says, “Play that thing, Jazz Band! Play it for the lords and ladies, for the whores and gigolos…” he is talking about everyone as a whole in unity in he plays music for them and sings to them from jazz
4. Write your own poem that expresses these identified themes of the Harlem Renaissance.
Theme: Death and Unity
Death and Unity
Life in a cage; treated like prisoners
We eat where we sleep
We mingle with our own color
We Protect our own, unity divided among all colors
We fight for each other -we fight as one
When we fall- we fall for all
When we die- we die as one
Death like a prisoner
WE ARE ONE!
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