Course Hero. "The Negro Speaks of Rivers Study Guide." Course Hero. 29 Nov. 2017. Web. 16 Dec. 2018. <https://www.coursehero.com/lit/The-Negro-Speaks-of-Rivers/>.
Course Hero. (2017, November 29). The Negro Speaks of Rivers Study Guide. In Course Hero. Retrieved December 16, 2018, from https://www.coursehero.com/lit/The-Negro-Speaks-of-Rivers/
(Course Hero, 2017)
Course Hero. "The Negro Speaks of Rivers Study Guide." November 29, 2017. Accessed December 16, 2018. https://www.coursehero.com/lit/The-Negro-Speaks-of-Rivers/.
Course Hero, "The Negro Speaks of Rivers Study Guide," November 29, 2017, accessed December 16, 2018, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/The-Negro-Speaks-of-Rivers/.
The speaker in the poem is "the Negro," a collective noun. As the title suggests, the speaker represents the voice of all black people. Here, the voice is somewhere between a preacher's voice and a Negro spiritual. It is oracular, almost biblical.
The tone is not didactic or argumentative; not angry or earnest. The poem avoids anything that tonally suggests politics. Instead, it is an invitation to meditate on racial consciousness and to uplift people of all races.