I chose the poems by Phyllis Wheatley and Countee Cullen, which are connected to the topics of God’s spirituality and acceptance. Phillis Wheatley’s work “On Being Brought from Africa to America” is an excellent example of a poem that addresses how an African American person’s understanding of God and religion changes after the journey to America.
Even though not all African Americans may be aware of the power of religion, “Once I redemption neither sought nor knew,” it is still possible to achieve spirituality through understanding. Wheatley encourages Christian readers to remember that “Negroes black as Cain, may be refin’d and join th’ angelic train.” Therefore, the author argues for social change, explaining that it is necessary to be compassionate towards individuals of various races, as anyone can become devoted to God.
Countee Cullen’s poem, “Yet Do I Marvel,” provides a different perspective on the grace of God and the divine intentions toward African Americans. In this work, the author describes God as a merciful being, a “good, well-meaning, kind.” However, the author also demonstrates his amazement toward God’s intentions “To make a poet black and bid him sing!”
Considering that the African American population was prohibited from academic work, granting a black person the gift of poetry may be ironic. Thus, the author urges the readers to reflect on the idea that God had given African Americans the power of poetry for a reason. The poet attempts to promote awareness among the audience, asking for compassion and acceptance of African American writers and academics.
Although the two poems adopt a different understanding of God, both Wheatley, and Cullen offer the readers an insight into the black experience in America. Even though there is one limitation to these poems, specifically that not all American states restricted learning and writing for African Americans, these works are remarkably insightful, allowing the audience to understand the population’s struggles.
From this perspective, poetry can be especially effective in addressing social injustice, and promoting acceptance of different ethnic communities.
- Religion and Its Role Among African Americans
- How Does Religion Affect the African Community?
- History and Effects of Racial Inequality in the United States
- Racial and Class Discrimination in the History of the American South
- Racial Discrimination in the American History
- Racial Injustice, Racial Discrimination, and Racism
- Racial Injustice Problem in the Modern Society