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Analysis Of Langston Hughes 'The Negro Artist And The Racial Mountain'

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Prompt 2
The New Negro movement represented a new age of advocacy among Black Americans unwilling to submit to the racism of a post-Reconstruction America. They had already had their pleas for reform denied with the Compromise (or Betrayal) of 1876, while the first World War revealed critical discrepancies between the idealist views of America and the realities of the nation for Black people. Even as Black Americans left the South, either to escape racist policies or simply to find a job, they fell victim to de facto segregation and redlining within their new urban communities. The response to these tensions was intellectual rebellion: the New Negro movement focused on challenging stereotypes which had been created to portray Black Americans as subhuman. Gone were the days of Uncle Tom or mammy portrayals of a complacent Black – now was the time to show that the Black American was strong-willed, intelligent, and discontented. Though the name implies it,
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In the book, Hughes describes an encounter he has with a poet who wishes to separate himself from Blackness – to not be considered a “Negro poet.” Hughes cites this desire to dissociate from Blackness as something which has been engrained into the poet by his family: his parents would link bad behavior to “niggers,” while encouraging him to act like a white man to find success. He implies that this active separation from Blackness was a commonplace thing among middle to upper-class Black families, and cited it as a “mountain standing in the way” of true artistic and intellectual freedom for Black people. To conquer this “mountain,” Hughes argues that Black artists must embrace race within their art, not only because it represents a new standard in artistic freedom for Black people, but also because it offers a real Black perspective on the “revolt against weariness in a white
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