Harlem Renaissance

(By Bryson Collins)

"As I Grew Older" by Langston Hughes

It was a long time ago.

I have almost forgotten my dream. (Influential to MLK)

But it was there then,

In front of me,

Bright like a sun— (simile)

My dream.

And then the wall rose, (the wall is racial barrier)

Rose slowly,

Slowly,

Between me and my dream.

Rose until it touched the sky— (literal and metaphorical dream)

The wall.

Shadow. (shadow b/c he is black)

I am black. (realizing he has racial limitations imposed on him)

I lie down in the shadow.

No longer the light of my dream before me,

Above me.

Only the thick wall.

Only the shadow.

My hands! (he embraces his skin color, and won't let himself be held back)

My dark hands!

Break through the wall!

Find my dream!

Help me to shatter this darkness, (the wall is symbolic of limits)

To smash this night,

To break this shadow

Into a thousand lights of sun,

Into a thousand whirling dreams

Of sun!

Hughes talks about breaking through the barriers of being an African American. He wants to be able to fulfill his dreams, regardless of his skin color. As the poem goes on, he becomes less apathetic and more determined.

Langston Hughes reads 'The Weary Blues'

Harlem Renaissance Notes

-1920's-mid 1930's

-literary, artisitic, and intellectual movement

- leaders included Jean Toomer, Langston Hughes, Rudolf Fisher, and Wallace Thurman

-black critics feared this movement would fuel people wanting equality

-artists, musicians, and authors tried to capture the every day lives of African Americans in their present times

-movement began as aesthetic, not political

-many whites appreciated and funded the literature

-notable works include "Not Without Laughter", "One Way to Heaven", "God Sends Sunday"

-waned in the 1930s, but Harlem Renaissance were further appreciated during civil rights movements

Citations

"African American Art: Harlem Renaissance." African American Art: Harlem Renaissance. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Nov. 2014.

"Art Blog By Bob." : Separate but Equal. N.p., 24 Mar. 2009. Web. 14 Nov. 2014.

"Harlem Renaissance." History.com. A&E Television Networks, n.d. Web. 11 Nov. 2014

"Jacob Lawrence." Jacob Lawrence. NBMAA, n.d. Web. 13 Nov. 2014.

POEM: AS I GREW OLDER BY LANGSTON HUGHES. "POEM: AS I GREW OLDER BY LANGSTON HUGHES." Poemhunter.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Nov. 2014.

Reflection

When a dream is deferred, one must continue to pursue it. Most things don't work on the first try. The most successful people always pursue their dreams. The Harlem Renaissance was a great movement for African Americans, and was revived when the works were used during the civil rights movement.