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The African American Experience And Their Aims For Writing

1413 words - 6 pages

During this period of literature of the Reconstruction to the New Negro Renaissance, 1865-1919, African Americans were becoming more educated and more aware of the rights that they were entitled to. The start of this Reconstruction Era began after 1863’s emancipation of slaves in the Confederate states and the Civil War’s end in 1865. Although the three Civil Rights amendments, thirteenth(1865), fourteenth (1868), and fifteenth (1870), ends slavery in slaves states, ensures equal protection and due process for all citizens, and gives voting rights to all men(Black and White), institutionalized segregation was still an issue( Nevertheless, more voices began to emerge as social and political changes were made approaching the Renaissance. These brave men and woman of color tried these issues and expressed themselves using the art of literature. The major reasons Blacks displayed these expressions was to: (1) articulate intellectual achievements, (2) teach themselves, (3) correct the historical record of the black experience, and (4) document and shape social and political aspirations and conditions(Gates). After the distinguished abolitionist and writer Fredrick Douglass died on February 20, 1895 at Cedar Hill’s woman’s rights meeting one intellectual leader in particular, Booker T. Washington, become a key spokes person and writer of the Black Community( Dr. Washington’s “Atlanta Compromise” is noted as one of the most influential and significant speeches delivered in America(Gaston). It’s time to explicate Dr. Washington’s address as it relates to the one of the four major aims for writing literature during this era and his life story.
The story of Booker T. Washington begins in slavery on April 5, 1856 in Franklin County, Virginia near Roanoke, Virginia(572). As a son of a slave, Jane, his mother, worked as a cook for the plantation owner James Burroughs and being a slave child was not an option for little Booker. In his youth, Booker worked in the mines and did other intensive, manual labor such as carrying sacks, weighing an unprecedented 100-punds, of grain to the plantation mill. Although it was illegal to teach slaves to read and write during this time, as a young boy Booker was fascinated by learning new concepts after spotting ‘the other school kids’ from outside. So when he was 9 years of age(took place after the Civil War,1865) his mother got him a book where he learned the alphabet and how to read and write basic words, getting up at 4am every morning. With hard work and determination years later Dr. Washington was able to attend Hampton Normal Agricultural Institute in 1872 and three years later (1875) he graduated with honors. After teaching at Hampton, Dr. Washington was able to emulate a program there and begin his famous Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute(currently known as Tuskegee University) in 1881( As the headmaster of the institution, he made sure that he taught men and women of...

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