African American literature and its importance to the slaves and freemen

African American literature and its importance to the slaves and freemen.This is the body of writing that was used by African descendants who lived in the United States. It contained the slave narratives and spiritual literature, but after development of slave writing, autobiographical spiritual writing slowly diminished. In African American writing, a wide range of themes were featured in the texts that included; Africans role in the American population, racism, slavery and equality. Today in the African American writing, assimilation of oral narratives such as, sermons, rap, and gospel music. Before the civil war the writings majorly spoke about slavery (done by escaped slaves or freed slaves), while those born there voiced about oppression and racism. But after the civil war, and in the 20th century, African American literature was considered a part of American literature. It now talks about their roles and what position they take in their nation and issue of equality that had long been denied to them. Some of the characteristics of the African American literature were the use of poems, songs and stylistic devices such as alliteration and repetition were used. Some of the earliest writers were Lucy Terry, Phyllis Wheatley and Jupiter Hammon (Smith, 18). World War 1 and 2 that lead to the great immigration helped the Africans move from the south to the northern places like Chicago where they got jobs in factories and gave African writers the opportunity to expound on their work. Since the 19th century books written by Africans have gained popularity and publishing and being top bestsellers is often seen now than before.

Importance of African American literature. During the slave error, they were seen as subhuman and were seen as those who cannot learn the art and sciences. The main reason why black Americans wrote was to proof that they too could write and produce as the whites’ did or even way better and to proof they are just as better as the Whiteman was. They needed to be treated as equally as other people were since they were all human beings. The literature was used to voice their problems and what difficulties they went through. It was used to express what their problems were and what they would want be done for them. Through writing they were able to show they were both intelligent opposed to what the whites’ saw them as. Today, they use writing to maintain that legacy and to still show despite them having different skin complexion the still are able just like everybody else. Literatures in the 18th and 19th century discuss the essential aspect of the black songs and stories and honouring of their vernacular, they wanted to enrich it and preserve their heritage. With regards to spirituality, writers like Wheatley urged their people to keep Christian message of brotherhood. In the early republican the text was used as a way to negotiate their new status as free citizens and not slaves anymore; however African American literature was highly opposed by the Whiteman and some of the Blacks. People from within the community describe the literature as portraying Black community to be dark and negative livelihood. Several African writers have recently written accusing their own to be unfair. The whites who thought us to be illiterate and sub-humans wrote about it in opposition to what black writers wrote. Some were hanged and lynched as their texts tried to eliminate slavery and discrimination. After the abolition of slavery and freedom to write they still hard difficulties in publishing their work.

Importance of learning to read and write by freemen and slaves. Learning to read and write was of great importance to the freemen since they were able to integrate themselves in the white community and in some occasions start up their own developments. Bans and restrictions were placed to prevent to prevent African Americans from learning to read and write by the Whiteman; anybody caught doing so was severely punished. They held meetings secretly to learn to read and write. The knowledge of reading and writing was of great importance to the slaves as they were able to read the bible hence preachers were able to preserve Christianity and aided in maintaining brotherhood in the community (Beyan, 171). Through ability to read and write, leaders were able to speak and express more of their grievances, the preached, wrote articles and gave speeches to people to be law abiding. The believed only through following the laws and being truthful were they to overcome discrimination. Through learning to read and write the freemen were able to write, they were able to talk and voice their troubles and oppressions, they were able to do so on behalf of the slaves down in the south. They used it as a way to show the white man that they too had the capability and intelligence just as they did. This helped try remove discrimination and racism from the society. Development of African American institutions led to the development of education in the black society and promoted equality and literacy in the African American community after the abolishment of slavery in the 19th an 20th centuries. Through learning of mathematical concepts job opportunities such as carpentry, cookery, wheel making and accounting were developed enabling them build their lives and improve their living standards ( Beyan, 178). They passed on their literacy to their children to keep it improving in every generation.

Written by himself, is a phrase used by writer Benjamin Franklin. The understanding of the statement, is to show that he alone wrote what he did, through his effort did he come up with the text. Many African American authors were denied the credit for what work they had written. Since they were considered to be illiterates, their work was degraded but through the phrase” written by Himself” it significantly proved that like other people Africans could write and learn to do anything on their own. The importance of this phrase is to eliminate discrimination and promote equality that everyone had the ability to do things just as someone else could. It also showed that one had the ability to read and write, do work that involved intelligence and mental involvement such as working in banks, carpentry and designing that required mathematical knowledge.

African American literature really helped black people rise from the hardships they lived in and helped them in establishing their lives and making something out of themselves. It is now in the larger framework of American literature though it still remains independent; through the years it has gained various new styles and no longer dwells on slavery. Development of jazz, hip hop and blues as forms of music express love and other themes.

Cited work;

Beyan, Phyllis M.. The emergence of African American literacy traditions family and community efforts in the nineteenth century. Westport, Conn.: Praeger, 2004. Print.

Smith, Valerie, Lea Baechler, and A. Walton Litz. African American writers. New York: C. Scribner’s Sons ;, 1991. Print.