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Harlem Renaissance Poetry. Droning a drowsy syncopated tune, Rocking back and forth to a mellow croon, I heard a Negro play. Down on Lenox Avenue the other night By the pale dull pallor of an old gas light He did a lazy sway… He did a lazy sway… To the tune o’ those Weary Blues.

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Harlem Renaissance Poetry


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Presentation Transcript
the weary blues langston hughes
Droning a drowsy syncopated tune,

Rocking back and forth to a mellow croon,

I heard a Negro play.

Down on Lenox Avenue the other night

By the pale dull pallor of an old gas light

He did a lazy sway…

He did a lazy sway…

To the tune o’ those Weary Blues.

The Weary BluesLangston Hughes
slide3

With his ebony hands on each ivory key

He made that poor piano moan with melody.

O Blues!

Swaying to and fro on his rickety stool

He played that sad raggy tune like a musical fool.

Sweet Blues!

slide4

In a deep song voice with a melancholy tone

I heard that Negro sing, that old piano moan--

“Ain’t got nobody in all this world,

Ain’t got nobody but ma salf.

I’s gwine to quit ma frownin’

And put ma troubles on the shelf.”

slide5

Thump, thump, thump, went his foot on the floor.

He played a few chords then he sang some more

“I got the Weary Blues

And I can’t be satisfied.

Got the Weary Blues

And can’t be satisfied--

I ain’t happy no mo’

And I wish that I had died.”

slide6

And far into the night he crooned that tune.

The stars went out and so did the moon.

The singer stopped playing and went to bed

While the Weary Blues echoed through his head.

He slept like a rock or a man that’s dead.

analysis
Alliteration

Assonance

Droning a drowsy

poor piano

moan with melody

He played that sad raggy tune

In a deep song voice with the melancholy tone

Analysis
imagery
Imagery
  • By the pale dull pallor of an old gas light
  • Swaying to and fro on his rickety stool
  • Coming from a black man’s soul
blues form harlem renaissance
Ain’t got nobody in all this world,

Ain’t got nobody but ma salf.

I’s gwine to quit ma frownin’

And put my troubles on the shelf.

I got the Weary Blues

And I can’t be satisfied.

Got the Weary Blues

And can’t be satisfied--

I ain’t happy no mo’

And I wish that I had died.

Blues Form- Harlem Renaissance
theme
Theme
  • Although in despair and weary of the treatment by Whites, the African-American survives through personal expression in art forms such as the Blues.
theme1
Theme
  • The African-American community must find strength within itself as a race to overcome the oppression of Whites.
    • Ain’t got nobody in all this world but ma salf
    • I got the Weary Blues

And I can’t be satisfied---

group analysis of harlem renaissance poetry
Group Analysis of Harlem Renaissance Poetry
  • Paraphrase
  • Identify at least two poetic devices (simile, metaphor, alliteration, rhyme, rhythm, or imagery)
  • Explain the theme (message)
  • Explain how the poem reflects the Harlem Renaissance
slide13

The Negro Speaks of Rivers

Langston Hughes

I've known rivers:

I've known rivers ancient as the world and older than the flow of human blood in human veins.

My soul has grown deep like the rivers.

I bathed in the Euphrates when dawns were young.

I built my hut near the Congo and it lulled me to sleep.

I looked upon the Nile and raised the pyramids above it.

I heard the singing of the Mississippi when Abe Lincoln went down to New Orleans, and I've seen its muddy

bosom turn all golden in the sunset.

I've known rivers:

Ancient, dusky rivers.

My soul has grown deep like the rivers.

slide14

Incident

Countee Cullen

Once riding in old Baltimore,Heart-filled, head-filled with glee,I saw a BaltimoreanKeep looking straight at me.

Now I was eight and very small,And he was no whit bigger,And so I smiled, but he poked outHis tongue, and called me, "Nigger."

I saw the whole of BaltimoreFrom May until December;Of all the things that happened thereThat's all that I remember.

slide15

Birmingham, Alabama, and the Civil Rights Movement in 1963The 16th Street Baptist Church Bombing

  • The Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham was used as a meeting-place for civil rights leaders such as Martin Luther King. Tensions became high when the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) and the Congress on Racial Equality (CORE) became involved in a campaign to register African American to vote in Birmingham.
  • On Sunday, 15th September, 1963, a white man was seen getting out of a white and turquoise Chevrolet car and placing a box under the steps of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church. Soon afterwards, at 10.22 a.m., the bomb exploded killing Denise McNair (11), Addie Mae Collins (14), Carole Robertson (14) and Cynthia Wesley (14). The four girls had been attending Sunday school classes at the church. Twenty-three other people were also hurt by the blast.
ballad of birmingham by dudley randall
Ballad of Birminghamby Dudley Randall

"Mother dear, may I go downtown        Instead of out to play, And march the streets of Birmingham In a Freedom March today?" "No, baby, no, you may not go, For the dogs are fierce and wild, And clubs and hoses, guns and jails Aren't good for a little child." "But, mother, I won't be alone. Other children will go with me, And march the streets of Birmingham To make our country free." "No baby, no, you may not goFor I fear those guns will fire.But you may go to church instead And sing in the children's choir."

slide17
She has combed and brushed her night-dark hair, And bathed rose petal sweet, And drawn white gloves on her small brown hands, And white shoes on her feet. The mother smiled to know that her child Was in the sacred place, But that smile was the last smile To come upon her face. For when she heard the explosion, Her eyes grew wet and wild. She raced through the streets of Birmingham Calling for her child. She clawed through bits of glass and brick, Then lifted out a shoe. "O, here's the shoe my baby wore, But, baby, where are you?"
listen to the song
Listen to the song:
  • http://www.balladofbirmingham.org/Balladsong.mp3
slide19

African American Poet, Claude McKay memorialized the bloody summer of 1919 with the poem, “If We Must Die,” which was published in the magazine Liberator.

If We Must Die

Claude McKay

If we must die--let it not be like hogsHunted and penned in an inglorious spot,While round us bark the mad and hungry dogs,Making their mock at our accursed lot.If we must die--oh, let us nobly die,So that our precious blood may not be shedIn vain; then even the monsters we defyShall be constrained to honor us though dead!Oh, Kinsmen! We must meet the common foe;Though far outnumbered, let us show us brave,And for their thousand blows deal one deathblow!What though before us lies the open grave?Like men we'll face the murderous, cowardly pack,Pressed to the wall, dying, but fighting back!

sympathy paul laurence dunbar
SympathyPaul Laurence Dunbar

I know what the caged bird feels, alas!

When the sun is bright on the upland slopes; When the wind stirs soft through the springing grass, And the river flows like a stream of glass; When the first bird sings and the first bud opes, And the faint perfume from its chalice steals— I know what the caged bird feels!I know why the caged bird beats his wing Till its blood is red on the cruel bars; For he must fly back to his perch and cling When he fain would be on the bough a-swing; And a pain still throbs in the old, old scars And they pulse again with a keener sting— I know why he beats his wing!I know why the caged bird sings, ah me, When his wing is bruised and his bosom sore,— When he beats his bars and he would be free; It is not a carol of joy or glee, But a prayer that he sends from his heart's deep core, But a plea, that upward to Heaven he flings— I know why the caged bird sings!