Iinfluence Of African Americans In The 20th Century.

2255 words - 9 pages

A World WithoutOne day as I was walking on campus, I stopped to look around. It was a beautiful spring day. The sun was out and I could hear the birds in the singing. As I was looking I couldn't help but to realize the diversity of students that were around me. I watched their actions, as they talked among themselves one with another. Everything seemed so peaceful and quiet. I began to reflect on the past. The world had not always been like this. Blacks used to hate whites and whites hated the blacks. It made me think of how the world would be today without the influence of the African-Americans.In 1900 blacks were barred from full and equal participation in society. No African American could serve in a position of authority over white soldiers, or fight by their sides. No black could participate in professional baseball. Blacks were "separate but equal." The future of this race looked drear. Now at the beginning of the twenty-first century, one cannot imagine an American culture that has not been shaped by the contributions of African Americans. Who could imagine the American Century without the African-Americans? When we listen to that century, there would be no Louis Armstrong, no Duke Ellington, or Billie Holiday. There would be no jazz, blues, or rock and roll. When we read that century, there would be no Ralph Ellison or Toni Morrison. When we think about what democracy means there would be no W. E. B. Du Bois, and no Martin Luther King, Jr. When we buy movies, there would be no Sidney Portier and Spike Lee. When we think about sports, there would be no Jackie Robinson or Althea Gibson. When we want to laugh, there would be no Bill Cosby or Martin Lawrence. American life is inconceivable without the black presence (Gates 15).The intelligence and imagination of African-Americans have shaped American-culture, produced wealth in American economy, and refined notions of freedom and equality in American politics. In the African American Century, Gates says, "On a deeper level, black reflections on the human condition, in this land of sentimental aims and romantic dreams injected tragicomic sensibilities into the American experience. In other words, black people have always tried to remind America of its night side, of barbarism lurking underneath its self-congratulatory rhetoric of universal freedom and equal opportunity" (Gates 15). This period of African American influence is known as the African American Century (11). African American figures find themselves thrown into a whirlwind of white dominance in American life and because of this they must discover and cultivate effective strategies to survive and thrive (20). African Americans have to pursue their life passions under adverse circumstances even after success. They have to build courage to be self-confident and have self-respect. They have to fight for their justice against the Jim Crow Laws and lynching. Their efforts and fruits are a crucial part of a caravan of black love and...

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