Wednesday, September 22, 2010

“The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain" Langston Hughes


      In his essay “The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain" Langston Hughes discusses the challenges faced by the black artist in the 1920’s during the renaissance period. “During the mass migration of African Americans from the rural agricultural South to the urban industrial North (1914–18), many who came to New York settled in Harlem, as did a good number of black New Yorkers moved from other areas of the city. Meanwhile, Southern black musicians brought jazz with them to the North and to Harlem. The area soon became a sophisticated literary and artistic center ( other words, during the Harlem renaissance period a lot of singers and artists emerged, Langston Hughes, as well as other artists emphasizes this, and how embraced by the community are.
      In the essay “The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain" by Langston Hughes argues how black artists restrict themselves from being artistic. As the essay starts the first thing that Hughes states is how the African Americans reject their own roots, and culture because in order to succeed in art black artist has to be as white as they could be. In the first part of the essay it also show how  African American family has convinced themselves that their culture is not good enough, when African Americans tell their children not to act like “negroes”, implying that the way they act is wrong, and they should act more like white people.
      In this essay Hughes also talks about how scared African Americans were of white people, they rather paint a sunset and not a black person, because for them "black" wasn't “pretty”. black people were degraded so much that they started to believe what was said to them.
      In addition, many poets, and artist collaborate to express what was going on during the 1920’s and black artists and how it was impair by “white” people. In the Harlem Renaissance poets such as; Claude MacKay and James Weldon Johnson showed in their how the African American art was treated, how it was besmirched by the white community, and how each of them defendant their art and they wanted artists to do the same thing. The connection between Hughes and these poets is that they went after the same goals, they wanted black artist not to be ashamed of whom they were, and these artist wanted black artist to stay true to themselves and embrace their roots, and culture. This artist wanted black artist to portrait their beauty.