“Superhuman Power”: Claude McKay and the Black Immigrant Voice

Heralded as an early pioneer of the Harlem Renaissance, Claude McKay (1889-1948) is often included in the African American literary cannon. On the surface, his poetry, with its focus on issues of racism and exclusion, appears to fit neatly into this category. Recent scholarship, however, points to a need for situating McKay in a context … Read more“Superhuman Power”: Claude McKay and the Black Immigrant Voice

Claude McKay:The Power and Duality in his Poetry

The Harlem Renaissance was a period when African-American writers, artists expressed and articulated themselves through their writing and art. It was a remarkable era, as for the first time in history, African-American writers and poets were popularly accredited in America. While many of the writers of the Harlem Renaissance were born and raised in the … Read moreClaude McKay:The Power and Duality in his Poetry

Critical Reading: “The Harlem Dancer” and Her Storm

Claude McKay’s “The Harlem Dancer” is a poem immersed in the rich cultural aesthetic of a cultural renaissance that is unable to conceal its somber song of oppression, even in an atmosphere trying relentlessly to exorcise those sour notes. The infected atmosphere in question is a Harlem nightclub, in which a beautiful, black female dances … Read moreCritical Reading: “The Harlem Dancer” and Her Storm

Double Consciousness and the Harlem Renaissance

In W.E.B. DuBois’ The Souls of Black Folk, he introduces two concepts which are key to understanding what life is like for the modern Black American. These concepts are: Double Consciousness, and the Veil. These two concepts are intrinsically linked; to understand Double Consciousness requires understanding the Veil, and vice-versa. Double Consciousness refers to the … Read moreDouble Consciousness and the Harlem Renaissance

Poetry Analysis Essay: Claude McKay’s “If We Must Die”

Poetry Analysis Essay: Claude McKay’s “If We Must Die” In the poem, “If We Must Die” written by Claude McKay, the author was inspired to compose this piece of writing because of the brutality and race riots against the African American society that the United States experienced in 1919. The author came over from Jamaica … Read morePoetry Analysis Essay: Claude McKay’s “If We Must Die”

Patriotism and Criticism Combined: A Close Reading of “America”

Claude McKay, a now-celebrated poet who was active during the Harlem Renaissance, was often seen as a literary voice for social justice for African Americans. One of his most famous poems, known for describing his mixed feelings regarding America and American social norms, is “America.” Through the usage of personification, imagery, similes, and metaphors, McKay … Read morePatriotism and Criticism Combined: A Close Reading of “America”