I TOO - Ioana Munteanu Assignment 1 Racial equality and...

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Ioana Munteanu 10/6/2019 Assignment 1 Racial equality and inclusion in “I, Too” by Langston Hughes The Harlem Renaissance lasted from about the 1910s to the 1930s and is considered the peak of the African American culture. During the Great Migration, Harlem, one of the neighborhoods of New York, became the largest destination for black people and, at the same time, a place where music, literature, art, and stage performance were flourishing. One of the leaders of this movement was Langston Hughes, who wrote about it as the time when "the negro was in vogue," which was later paraphrased as "when Harlem was in vogue." He first published the poem entitled “I, Too” in 1926. It is written from the perspective of a servant who is not allowed to eat at the same table with his superiors whenever company arrives. I strongly believe that this is a patriotic poem that advocates for racial equality, liberty, and inclusion of diversity. First and foremost, Hughes emphasizes that black people are as American as white people are. This is evident from the title, that would have no meaning without any context. It actually makes a reference to Walt Whitman’s poem called “I hear America singing.” The writer lists a variety of sounds that he hears: “Those of mechanics”, “The carpenter singing”, The wood-cutter’s song”, “The delicious singing of the mother.” All these represent different Americans which make the nation what it is. However, Langston notices that Whitman doesn’t mention anything about African Americans. By writing “I, Too” (with the first line “I, too, sing

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