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Desiree Pondt - Complexity of Color in Amerikkka lyrics

Harlem was the promise land for blacks, especially blacks from the South. They wanted an easier life than they were used to, but failed to realize that if you are black anywhere you were still unequal. Viewing this timeline will give readers an overview, of the difficulties faced by blacks during the Harlem Renaissance Era. We take a look from the 1900's up until the 1940's. Throughout history blacks have always struggled when it came to race and discrimination , we so commonly know of some factors (Lynching, segregation,etc. But what happens when we dissect some of these adversities? Taking reading excerpts from famous authors, poets, and public figures really captures the imagery of this time.

1913- Federal Segregation- (Tomato vs. Toe-Matto)
I, Too

I, too, sing America.

I am the darker brother.
They send me to eat in the kitchen
When company comes,
But I laugh,
And eat well,
And grow strong.

I'll be at the table
When company comes.
Nobody'll dare
Say to me,
“Eat in the kitchen,”

They'll see how beautiful I am
And be ashamed—

I, too, am America.

1916- (Hanging on for Change)

Song for a Dark Girl
Langston Hughes

Way Down South in Dixie
(Break the heart of me)
They hung my black young lover
To a cross roads tree.

Way Down South in Dixie
(Bruised body high in air)
I asked the white Lord Jesus
What was the use of prayer.

Way Down South in Dixie
(Break the heart of me)
Love is a naked shadow
On a gnarled and naked tree.

1919- Explosion of the Harlem Renaissance- (A World for Colored ONLY)

"Negro Servant- Langston Hughes"

All day subdued, polite,
Kind, thoughtful to the faces that are white.
O, tribal dance!
O, drums!
O, veldt at night!
Forgotten watch-fires on a hill somewhere!
O, songs that do not care!
At six o'clock, or seven, or eight,
You're through.
You've worked all day.
Dark Harlem waits for you.
The bus, the sub—
Pay-nights a taxi
Through the park.
O, drums of life in Harlem after dark!
O, dreams!
O, songs!
O, saxophones at night!
O, sweet relief from faces that are white!

1919 We're Outnumbered but Not Weak

To the White Fiends
Claude McKay (1890–1948)

THINK you I am not fiend and savage too?
Think you I could not arm me with a gun
And shoot down ten of you for every one
Of my black brothers murdered, burnt by you?
Be not deceived, for every deed you do 5
I could match—out-match: am I not Africa's son,
Black of that black land where black deeds are done?

But the Almighty from the darkness drew
My soul and said: Even thou shaft be a light
Awhile to burn on the benighted earth, 10
Thy dusky face I set among the white
For thee to prove thyself of highest worth;
Before the world is swallowed up in night,
To show thy little lamp: go forth, go forth!

1921 Oppressor is my Step Father

America by Claude McKay

Although she feeds me bread of bitterness,
And sinks into my throat her tiger's tooth,
Stealing my breath of life, I will confess
I love this cultured hell that tests my youth.
Her vigor flows like tides into my blood,
Giving me strength erect against her hate,
Her bigness sweeps my being like a flood.
Yet, as a rebel fronts a king in state,
I stand within her walls with not a shred
Of terror, malice, not a word of jeer.
Darkly I gaze into the days ahead,
And see her might and granite wonders there,
Beneath the touch of Time's unerring hand,
Like priceless treasures sinking in the sand.
[Lyrics from: https:/]

1924 One Drop Rule” Racial Integrity Act- ( Dilute the Dirty)

"The collected works of Langston Hughes"

“You see, unfortunately, I am not black. There are lots of different kinds of blood in our family. But here in the United States, the word 'Negro' is used to mean anyone who has any Negro blood at all in his veins. In Africa, the word is more pure. It means all Negro, therefore black.”

1924 Mixed but Not Pure-
MULATTO by Langston Hughes

I am your son, white man!

Georgia dusk
And the turpentine woods.
One of the pillars of the temple fell.

You are my son!
Like Hell!

The moon over the turpentine woods.
The Southern night
Full of stars,
Great big yellow stars.

What's a body but a toy?
Juicy bodies
Of n******g wenches
Blue black
Against black fences.
O, you little bastard boy,
What's a body but a toy?

The scent of pine wood stings the soft night air.

What's the body of your mother?

Silver moonlight everywhere.

What's the body of your mother?

Sharp pine scent in the evening air.

A n******g night,
A n******g joy,
A little yellow
Bastard boy. Naw, you ain't my brother.
n******gs ain't my brother.
Not ever.
n******gs ain't my brother.

The Southern night is full of stars,
Great big yellow stars.

O, sweet as earth,
Dusk dark bodies
Give sweet birth

To little yellow bastard boys.

Git on back there in the night,
You ain't white

The bright stars scatter everywhere.
Pine wood scent in the evening air.

A n******g night,
A n******g joy. I am your son, white man!
A little yellow
Bastard boy.

1934 Re Installation of Hell-

"Ballad of the Landlord- Langston Hughes"

Landlord, landlord,
My roof has sprung a leak.
Don't you 'member I told you about it
Way last week?

Landlord, landlord,
These steps is broken down.
When you come up yourself
It's a wonder you don't fall down.

Ten Bucks you say I owe you?
Ten Bucks you say is due?
Well, that's Ten Bucks more'n I'l pay you
Till you fix this house up new.

What? You gonna get eviction orders?
You gonna cut off my heat?
You gonna take my furniture and
Throw it in the street?

Um-huh! You talking high and mighty.
Talk on-till you get through.
You ain't gonna be able to say a word
If I land my fist on you.

Police! Police!
Come and get this man!
He's trying to ruin the government
And overturn the land!

Copper's whistle!
Patrol bell!
Precinct Station.
Iron cell.
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