Imagine being a Negro in the 20th century. To be hated because of the color of your skin, to still be a slave in a “slave-less world”, to fear speaking up for yourself because it will only result in losing everything or being killed, or to be constantly reminded of how unworthy you were. How far would you go to be looked upon as an equal? Throughout the 1950s, African Americans experienced things that made them who they were – angry Americans. They encountered racial discrimination, segregation, and unequal opportunities. Within the play Fences, by August Wilson, we can see just how the play exemplifies what is happening in the world around them.
African Americans experienced the hatred of the whites everywhere they went and soon it was advancing to having in their own homes. When the television was advancing and becoming popular, everyone wanted one, including African Americans; but they had to reframe from purchasing them. This left children angry and confused as they wondered why everyone was getting TVs but them. In the play, Cory wonders why they don’t have a television either.
CORY. Hey, Pop… why don’t you buy a TV?
TROY. How much this cost?
CORY. I don’t know. They got them on sale for around two hundred dollars.
TROY. See that roof you got over your head at night? … It’s been over ten years since that roof was last tarred… Now how much you think it cost to get that roof tarred?
CORY. I don’t know
TROY. Two hundred and sixty- four dollars…cash money. While you thinking about a TV, I got to be thinking about the roof (Wilson 981).
Troy told his son the reason for not buying the TV is because it is not in the list of priorities for them, but another reason could have been because he knew the TV wasn’t in the best interest for the African American community. “After the Civil War and throughout the early twentieth century, Black characters were absent from the most prominent works for children and when they were portrayed, Blacks were ‘imprisoned in a comic stereotype’” (Pescosolido). Whenever someone saw the opportunity to make money off of them they took it, “…executives felt that profits could be maximized by employing African Americans in stereotypical roles that would be acceptable to predominately white audience” (McDonald). This was the main reason why blacks reframed from purchasing a television. They didn’t want to see themselves being depicted in a negative manner. But the problems that the blacks faced did not stop there, segregation and unequal opportunities also began to plague their lives.
African Americans found themselves in many situations where whites were controlling them. They had no say in any decisions being made and they usually got the worst end of the final say. African Americans had to settle with whatever they were given, because letting their voice be heard was out of the question. This only made things worse for them. Knowing what they wanted, but could not get it because the whites were in control of it. In the...