The Courage that Lies Beneath
Martin Luther King once said, “We have flown the air like birds and swum the sea like fishes, but have yet to learn the simple act of walking the earth like brothers” (Carson 23). This quote seems to be one in what Hughes and Sanchez want to address in their poems.
Throughout history, African Americans struggle with racial segregation, slavery and continual quest for freedom. This constant discrimination seldom makes the “Negros” proud of their heritage. However, two powerful writes of Afro-American literature have come to realize that black heritage is vital and important, thus need to be respected and cherished. Langston Hughes “The Negro Speaks of Rivers” and Sonia Sanchez’s “An Anthem” are good examples of poems that paved way for black s to proudly celebrate and appreciate their heritage. Both poems were written by African American writers standing as Afro- American’s representatives to gain peace and freedom. These poems urge blacks to value their heritage, be proud and hope that their dreams may come true. It also gives us insight into the lives of African Americans in the 90’s when segregation, constant ignorant and denial right of the “Negros” were enforced. Interestingly, Hughes is the corner stone (influence) in Sanchez’s writing about blacks (Kelly) because he was the first black voice to be hard in America, writing about Black experience and History. Despite certain structural and semantic differences, the poems, “The Negro Speaks of Rivers” by Langston Hughes and “An Anthem” by Sonia Sanchez are in one in uplifting the spirits of the black people who have been victims of discrimination for the past decades.
As one goes over the poems, certain details would suggest that these are two unlike poems but vital elements like its image, tone, symbolisms and its theme seem to be unified.
Aside from being known as writers that advocate the rights of the African-American people or the blacks in general, it is quite evident that their poems are dedicated to the black people who have lost their senses in the midst of the clamor for equal treatment in a world, which was dominated by the white people. Certain details in the poems refer to the black people in a highly significant manner that empowers the way one must look at these people. The poems of Hughes and Sanchez did not use the word black in referring to the people but they used points of references that trace the root of the people. Hughes refers to these people as the people who “built my hut near the Congo” (line 5) while Sanchez refers to them as people who “are like Shango” (line 28) who is an African god that was venerated by the people of Nigeria.
Hughes traces back to the history of African Americans and acknowleges the different black society that existed since history even though they often go unnoticed. “I’ve known rivers ancient as the world and older that the flow of human blood in human veins” (line2). He uses rivers to speak of black history and memories of captured slave. Likewise Sanchez who used rivers to demonstrate the African culture and pride for existence. “We are secret rivers/ with shaking hips of crests” (line 12-13). Both poets recognize the rivers as path of African society and civilization.
Just like the quote by Martin Luther King, these poems call for the African American people who have been victims of repression. If Martin Luther wants everyone to be one as brothers, the poems speak in such a way that it calls for the black people to be one in its endeavors to be at peace or to be on the same plane as that of the other people in the world. Since the black people have been victims of repression, the poems call for these people to know their essence and their greatness so that they may be able to push themselves to rise to the ranks that they deserve just like any other people in the world.
According to Edward Sullivan, “The Negro Speaks of Rivers” seems to be highly historical in such a way that it insinuates the roots of the black people as something deep and established through time. The metaphorical use of the river amplifies the greatness of the black people that was marked at the beginning of time and should continue on as how the rivers flow.
Sonia Sanchez’s “An Anthem” provided a different approach as it is more direct in its tone and its theme. Her words speak directly of how great black people are by presenting ironies that emphasize the essence of every African American or any black person. She asks African Americans to celebrate their heritage, have courage and fight for peace as they are people who deserve dignity in the society. Sanchez is an icon where the racial self may be heard, affirmed, and strengthened justified by her sense of justice and her legacy of love, Sanchez stands as an inspiration, an example of what it means to survive a troubled world. Sanchez has great value for her heritage and Culture while Hughes has a strong sense of racial pride and heritage.
Sanchez’s poem emphasis peace and courage in other to obtain peace. “We are people made of fire/we walk with ceremonial breaths/we have condemned talking mouth” (line 4-6). Sanchez proclaims the blacks as winners even though they are being labeled as “losers’”, and they also condemned inequality and slavery and it is time for blacks to be free. Hughes emphasis similar freedom when Abraham Lincoln abolished slavery by signing the Emancipation act of 1960 since slavery was still legal and enforced in the south. To Sanchez and Hughes, this was a moment of freedom for the black people. Hughes said, “I heard the singing on Mississippi when Abe Lincoln went down to/New Orleans….” (Line 7). After this, came the civil right movement, since black had no civil right rather they were slaves left to suffer.
Both poems utilized various symbolisms that serve to uplift the African Americans so that they would be reminded that they were not born in the world as mere slaves. Hughes made certain references to the contribution that these people made for the great pyramids of Egypt as well as by being a major witness to the unfolding of the history of the United States of America. “I looked upon the Nile and raised the raised the great pyramids above it” (line 6). Sanchez also noted that discrimination and segregation of the blacks existed, yet it was ignored and nothing was done to stop it. “For the world is split wide open/ and you hide your hands behind your backs/ for the world is broken into little pieces/ and you beg with thin cups for life” (line 16-19). Here we can see that the people are begging for peace, stability, freedom and hope for life so they can leave to see another day.
Although Sanchez shared the same thoughts as to that of Hughes, Sanchez became more direct in saying that the black people are not just ordinary people as for Sanchez they are “more than hunger and music… color and drums… anger and dance…” (Line 20-23).
With all these lines, both poems speak of the empowerment of the black people as brothers who should fight for equality. Different rivers that should empty in the same bank and a prayers for strength to ensure through hard time, and eventually embrace freedom. After all both poems emphasize peace, freedom, history and hope for African Americans.
Carson, Clayborne. The Autobiography of Martin Luther King Jr. Warner Books: NY, 1998.
Sullivan, Edward. “Celebrating Langston Hughes.” 6 Dec. 2007 <http://www.ala.org/ala/booklinksbucket/langstonhughes.pdf>.
美国黑人遗产 危机四伏的勇气 马丁·路德·金曾经说过，“我们已经出动了，像鸟儿在空中，像鱼游过海，但还没有学会走路像兄弟一样的地球” （卡森23日）简单的行为。这句话似乎是在休斯和桑切斯要解决他们的诗之一。 纵观历史，非裔美国人与种族隔离，奴役和不断追求自由的斗争。这个常数歧视很少的“内格罗”他们的遗产感到自豪。然而，两个强大的美国黑人文学中写道，已经认识到，黑色的遗产是关键和重要的，因此需要得到尊重和珍惜。兰斯顿·休斯的“黑人谈河流”和索尼娅·桑切斯的“国歌”的诗就是很好的例子，铺平了道路黑色S自豪地庆祝，并欣赏他们的遗产。两诗写站在美国黑人的代表争取和平与自由的非洲裔作家。这些诗敦促黑人珍惜他们的遗产，值得骄傲和希望，他们的梦想成真。它也让我们见识到非裔美国人的生活在90年代被强制隔离，恒定的无知和拒绝权的“内格罗” 。有趣的是，休斯（影响力）在桑切斯的写作黑人（凯利）的基石，因为他是第一个黑人的声音是很难的，在美国，写黑的经验和历史。尽管有一定的结构和语义差异，诗， “黑人谈河流”兰斯顿·休斯的“国歌”由索尼娅·桑切斯是一个振奋精神，谁在过去的几十年里一直受到歧视的黑人。 正如一位在诗，某些细节会表明，这是两个不同的诗歌，但自己的形象，色调，象征意义和主题的重要元素，如似乎要统一。 除了被称为主张权利的非洲裔人或一般的黑人作家，这是很明显的，他们的诗都致力于黑衣人已经失去了理智，在一片喧嚣声中，平等待遇一个世界，这是由白色的人为主。在诗歌中的某些细节是指在一个非常显着的方式，授权的方式，一定要看看这些人的黑衣人。休斯和桑切斯的诗没有用这个词指人的黑色，但他们使用的参考点跟踪根的人。休斯是指这些人的人谁“建立我的小屋附近的刚果” （ 5号线） ，而桑切斯是指谁“像Shango ” （第28行）的人谁是非洲人民所崇敬的神尼日利亚。 休斯追溯非裔美国人的历史和不同的黑色，因为历史存在，即使他们往往被忽视的社会acknowleges 。 “我知道作为世界古河流及以上，人体血液的流动在人脉” （ 2号线） 。他利用河流捕获的奴隶黑人历史和回忆说。同样，桑切斯利用河流，以展示非洲文化和骄傲的存在。 “我们是秘密的河流/抖胯波峰” （第12-13行） 。这两个诗人认识河流作为非洲的社会和文明的路径。 就像马丁·路德·金的报价，这些诗呼吁为非洲裔人谁一直压抑的受害者。如果马丁·路德·希望每个人都如兄弟之一，在这样一种方式，它调用黑衣人是在努力，在和平或其他人在同一平面上的诗讲世界各地。由于黑人们一直压抑的受害者，诗叫这些人知道他们的本质和他们的伟大，让他们能够把自己推到上升的行列，他们应得就像任何其他人在世界上。 据爱德华·沙利文， “黑人谈河流” ，在这样一种方式，它影射的根源，黑种人深层的东西，并通过建立时间似乎是高度的历史。利用河流的比喻放大的黑色被标记的人，在刚开始的时候，应该继续作为河流流量的伟大。 索尼娅·桑切斯的“国歌”提供了一种不同的方法，因为它是更直接的在它的基调和主题。她的话直接说多么伟大黑衣人凭讽刺强调每一个非裔美国人或任何黑衣人的本质的。她询问非裔美国人庆祝他们的传承，因为他们是人谁值得在社会尊严，勇气和争取和平。桑切斯是一个图标可能会听到种族的自我肯定，并加强正当她意义上的正义和爱她的遗产，桑切斯代表作为一个启发，一个例子，生存陷入困境的世界意味着什么。桑切斯，她的底蕴和文化有很大的价值，而休斯有着强烈的种族自豪感和传承。 桑切斯的诗强调和平和勇气获得和平。 “我们是人民的火/ ，我们走路礼仪呼吸/大家纷纷谴责说话的嘴” （ 4-6号线） 。桑切斯宣布黑人赢家，即使它们被标记为“失败者” ，他们也谴责不平等和奴役，这是黑人自由的时间。休斯强调类似的自由，当亚伯拉罕·林肯签署了“解放奴役行为， 1960年以来，废除了奴隶制仍然是合法的，并在南部执行。桑切斯和休斯，这是一个自由的时刻，黑衣人。休斯说， “我听说当林肯去密西西比歌唱/新奥尔良......” （ 7号线） 。在此之后，来到民权运动，因为黑色无民事权利，而他们是奴隶，左挨。 这两个诗歌利用各种象征意义，有助于提升非洲的美国人，使他们提醒的是，他们并没有出生在世界当作奴隶。休斯取得了一定的贡献，这些人的埃及大金字塔，以及一名主要证人被展开的历史美利坚合众国。 “我看了后，尼罗河，并提出它上面提出伟大的金字塔” （6号线） 。桑切斯还指出，黑人的歧视和隔离存在被忽略，但它并没有什么做的目的是阻止它。 “对于世界被分成了广泛的打开/隐藏你的双手放在你的背影/世界被分成一小块一小块/你求我的生命薄杯” （ 16-19） 。在这里，我们可以看到，人们乞求和平，稳定，自由和生命的希望，这样他们就可以离开看到新的一天。 ，虽然桑切斯共享同样的想法休斯，桑切斯变得更直接的说，黑衣人不是普通的人桑切斯，他们“更比饥饿和音乐...颜色和鼓...愤怒和舞蹈...... ” （线路20-23 ） 。 有了所有这些线，无论是诗说话的黑衣人如兄弟，谁应该争取平等权力。不同的河流，在同一家银行和一个祈祷的力量，以确保通过艰苦的时间，并最终拥抱自由应该清空。毕竟两个诗强调和平，自由，历史和非裔美国人的希望。 引用 克莱伯恩卡森。马丁·路德·金华纳图书的自传： NY ， 1998 。 沙利文，爱德华。 “庆祝兰斯顿·休斯。 ” 2007年12月6日<http://www.ala.org/ala/booklinksbucket/langstonhughes.pdf> 。