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The Harlem Renaissance and Civil Rights. Today’s Goal:. To show how literature develops out of social injustices and inequalities.

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today s goal
Today’s Goal:

To show how literature develops out of social injustices and inequalities.

How does the literature we have studied in the past reflect social and political struggles? (Think Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Sojourner Truth, Abigail Adams, and Patrick Henry).

Literature was (and still is) often a reflection of societal struggles.

civil rights re cap
Civil Rights re-cap
  • Civil Rights Movement


  • Civil Rights Act, 1964
  • Social Injustice
  • An ongoing fight for racial equality
  • Involved protests in the 1950s and 1960s that led to the Civil Rights Act
  • Outlawed segregation in the south and discrimination based on race, background, and gender
  • Unfairness in a society
harlem renaissance
Harlem Renaissance
  • Harlem Renaissance
  • A cultural movement that began in the 1920s
  • Also called the “New Negro Movement”
  • African-Americans found Harlem, NY to be a safe place for exploring their new identities as free men and women
  • The result was this: a belief that art and literature could lift African Americans out of their struggles
langston hughes
Langston Hughes
  • Langston Hughes
  • African-American poet, novelist, and playwright
  • A leader of the Harlem Renaissance
  • Began writing in the 1920s
  • Best known for his poetry which reflected the lives of working-class blacks in America
  • His main goal was to uplift African-Americans as part of the general American experience
do now
  • In your own words, explain how the literature we have studied this year reflects social and/or political injustices and inequalities.
    • Cite specific examples of short stories, poetry, novels, speeches, letters…
    • Your response should be one paragraph: 8-10 sentences
themes in i too sing america
Themes in“I, Too, Sing America”
  • Race
  • Setting: A white household with black slaves or servants
  • First focuses on America’s history of racial inequalities
  • Shifts to a brighter future, one where all Americans are equal and unashamed
themes in i too sing america1
Themes in “I, Too, Sing America”
  • Ambition
  • Ambition = a strong desire to do or achieve something
  • The speaker is ambitious for survival, his sense of self, and his sense of racial inequality
  • He is optimistic, assuring us that he will one day “be at the table”
themes in i too sing america2
Themes in “I, Too, Sing America”
  • Freedom
  • The main goal of the speaker
  • He refuses to lose to the pressures of slavery and inequality
  • The poem progresses to reflect a future America promising freedom
writing prompt one paragraph 8 10 sentences
Writing Prompt- one paragraph, 8-10 sentences
  • After reading “I, Too, Sing America,” by Langston Hughes, analyze how the author develops one of the three themes (in your notes) throughout the poem. Cite textual evidence to support your analysis of both the meaning of the poem, as well as what can be inferred from our close reading of the text.
  • Support your points with evidence from the text, such as relevant facts, definitions, details, and quotations. You may use your notes from both yesterday and today.
do now1
  • What do you know about Maya Angelou?
  • What do you remember about the poem “Still I Rise”? What were some of the themes?

*If anyone is prepared to perform “A Dream Deferred” by Langston Hughes, please raise your hand

maya angelou
Maya Angelou
  • Maya Angelou
  • Born Marguerite Johnson in 1928
  • African-American author and poet
  • Activist during the Civil Rights Movement
  • Faced many hardships including sexual abuse/rape, single motherhood, prostitution, and an interracial marriage
  • Changed her name to Maya Angelou in the mid-1950s
  • Moved to New York in 1959 to concentrate on her writing career
  • Autobiography
  • Prologue
  • Written account/history of the life of a person written by that person
  • Opening to a story that establishes the setting and gives background details
  • Often an earlier story that ties into the main story
i know why the caged bird sings
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
  • I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
  • Themes:
  • Autobiography published in 1969 about the early years of Maya Angelou’s life
  • Illustrates how strength of character and a love of literature and books can help overcome racism and trauma
  • Racism
  • Self-Esteem
  • Shame
do now2
  • Summarize what we read yesterday in the prologue to “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” (5-7 sentences)
  • If you were not here, please see me for the story and read it during the Do Now
test review what you n eed to know
TEST REVIEW: What You Need to Know

Multiple Choice

Multiple Choice

Maya Angelou:

“Still I Rise”:

The tone

The theme or purpose

Prologue to I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings:

What is the impact of paragraph 5?

How does the setting help develop the theme?

What is meant by “an unnecessary insult”?

  • Civil Rights Movement:
  • Harlem Renaissance:
    • What was the result?
    • What is social injustice?
  • Langston Hughes:
    • Who was he?
  • “I, Too”:
    • Identity of the speaker and the “others” in the poem
    • Main idea of the poem
    • The speaker’s attitude
    • The tone of the poem