UGC 211-Spring 2011
Zinn Chapter 17 Questions
In the 1930’s, Langston Hughes wrote a poem called “Lenox Avenue Mural”. Hughes
was more than a spokesman, and he was more than a poet. Part of Hughes's importance
was that, however much he may have wished to speak for the Negro, he was equally
interested in speaking to the Negro. One of the principal means was in the series of
stories he began publishing in the 1940s in his weekly column in the
an African-American newspaper, stories dealing with the adventures and observations of
Jesse B. Semple, known as Simple, a citizen of Harlem with a lot on his mind.
Personally, the poem is about disappointment and how many Negroes dreams were
stripped away from them.
Paul Laurence Dunbar was the first African-American to gain national eminence as a
poet. Born in 1872 in Dayton, Ohio, he was the son of ex-slaves and classmate to Orville
Wright of aviation fame. Although he lived to be only 33 years old, Dunbar was prolific,
writing short stories, novels, librettos, plays, songs and essays as well as the poetry for
which he became well known. He was popular with black and white readers of his day,
and his works are celebrated today by scholars and school children alike. He wrote ‘We
Wear the Mask” in
“the era of the black minstrel”.
The Poem "We Wear the Mask" may
reveal why he so often chose to write of the black man as a happy-go-lucky creature of
The autobiography ‘Black Boy’ written in 1937 that Zinn discusses was written by
Richard Wright (a gifted novelist). It gave endless insights on how blacks were set
against one another. Black Boy is a memoir of Richard Wright's childhood and young
adulthood. The documentary synthesizes a great amount of historical, social and cultural
information about the twentieth century.
According to Zinn, Benjamin Davis, Actor Paul Robeson and W.E.B Du Bois all did not
shy away to show their support and sympathy for the Communist Party. On the morning
of 20th July, 1948, Eugene Dennis, the general secretary of the American Communist
Party, and eleven other party leaders, Benjamin Davis were arrested and charged under