- Rauch 1 Kimberly Rauch Black Studies 1 Dr...

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Rauch 1 Kimberly Rauch Black Studies 1 Dr. George Lipsitz 1 November 2007 Crossroads and Their Influence Influences in black history bear great significance to the crossroads of the black struggle. The greatest influences of the movement involve the five stair steps: the bullet, the ballot, the bible, the blues and the break. In an exploration of Tricia Rose’s Black Noise , Charles Payne’s I’ve Got the Light of Freedom and two excerpts, Clyde Woods’ “The Blues Tradition of Explanation” and Robert Farris Thompson’s “Big Hearted Power: Kongo Presence in the landscape and art of Black America” I will examine how each of the writings incorporate the five stair steps. Each of the writings greatly articulates the concept of the crossroads in black America’s struggle for freedom. In addition the readings show how the five stair steps continuously have a relationship with one another and connect to the epistemology of the crossroads, which helps us to understand why the stair steps are important. By understanding the epistemology of the crossroads and the five stair steps we begin to understand the importance of the black struggle for freedom and the state of non-freedom blacks have continuously found themselves in throughout history. To begin this exploration of the five stair steps and their significance to the epistemology of the crossroads we will first talk about Rose’s book. The basis of her book is the examination of hip hop and the cultures within it. The blues is the most prominent stair step in her work. Rap is a form of the blues because it frees people’s
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Rauch 2 minds. It started in “the slums” of the South Bronx, people there had nothing, homes and business where torn down to make way for the Cross Bronx Expressway. Rose expresses the start of hip hop as the crossroads between lack and desire, the lack of things because of the expressway, loss of jobs due to technological advances, etc and the desire to make their lives better. The blues in this is the way that rap speaks to you, rappers talk about their struggles, the past, they use Malcolm X voiceovers to demonstrate and further the knowledge of their past to their listeners. This part of the blues shown in Rose’s book also ties into the stair step of the bible. The bible may not seem prominent in rap music however rap music spawned from the blues, which gave way to gospel music. It all ties together and even the use of voiceovers such as Malcolm X are a form of the bible. Malcolm X was a religious man and using his words speaks to those who know their meaning. The use of the bullet and ballot are also exhibited in Black Noise . The bullet doesn’t necessarily mean violence; the use of the bullet in this sense would be the words they use against their oppressors. They speak out against what is wrong, the police violence, discrimination, all of the things in their world that they want to bring about change. They organize in a way to speak to the people, to tell the people about their
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