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Poetry and Politics Paper - Essay Example

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Date Poetry and Politics: Reflecting on Race Relations President Barak Obama’s visit to Cape Coast Castle in West Africa in 2009 with his wife and two daughters both resurrects the oppressive nature of race relations and hope for the future. The Obamas’ tour of the British 17th century coastal fortress used by the British as holding cells for slaves gave the president pause for the unspeakable evil that mankind is capable of visiting upon fellow human beings…
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Poetry and Politics Paper
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Download file to see previous pages Bryant opens his poem with the recognition that slavery represents not only a “great wrong” but also a slow and painful journey in race relations (The Death of Slavery, Line 1). Bryant opens Death of Slavery with: O THOU great Wrong, that, through the slow-paced years, Didst hold they millions fettered, and didst wield The scourge that drove the labourer to the field, And turn a stony gaze on human tears, They cruel reign is o’er.... (The Death of Slavery, 1900, First Stanza). Thus for Bryant’s The Death of Slavery, represents not only a reminder of the pain and suffering associated with the oppression of one race over another, but its place in history also serves as a reminder that mankind can and has overcome the worst of evils punctuating race relations in history. Bryant’s last stanza of The Death of Slavery pulls this realization together as follows: I see the better years that hasten by Carry thee back into that shadowy past, Where, in the dusty spaces, void and vast, The graves of those whom thou hast murdered lie. The slave-pen, through whose door Thy victims pass no more...(The Death of Slavery, 1900, Last Stanza). ...
Bryant (1900) likewise recalls that this “grim” past: At which the slave was sold; while at thy feet Scourges and engines of restraint and pain Moulder and rust by thine eternal seat. There, mid the symbols that proclaim they crimes, Dwell thou, a warning to the coming times (The Death of Slavery, 1900, Last Stanza). In other words, recalling the evils of the past, serves as a caution to resist evil of any kind relative to race relations among mankind. Obama likewise, sees the utility in remembering the cruel past. Obama stated that he felt it was a significant visit for his daughters as they would be encouraged to fight cruel oppression of any kind to prevent this kind of history repeating itself. Thomas Merton’s And the Children of Birmingham was written in the 1960s amidst the race movement in the US during that time. The poem reflects on the bombing in Birmingham, Alabama that killed Black children staging a protest in the 1960s against the oppression of Black in the US is also instructive. And the Children of Birmingham likewise calls attention to the cruel pass in terms of race relations and also speaks to man’s ability to overcome this kind of cruel legacy. Herron (2005) informs that from Merton’s perspective however, the death of the children in Birmingham is less about marking the history of race relations among Americans. Instead, And the Children of Birmingham is more about hope and this hope is expressed by calling upon Americans everywhere to look upon all Americans as equals, as brothers and sisters (2005). And The Children of Birmingham draws attention to the innocent victims and inheritors of the evils of cruel race relations ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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