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Christopher Wilson’s Blog Post 10/26

One of Langston Hughes’ poems that I connected with is “Will V-Day Be Me-Day Too?” Hughes begins this poem by specifically addressing his fellow Americans- white Americans on the homefront and fighting in WWII. By doing this, Hughes does not neglect to mention that black Americans are also on the homefront and fighting in WWII as it underscores one of the primary messages of this poem. In response, I felt that Hughes asserts that African Americans should not be treated differently when they have made the same commitments to upholding American democracy domestically and internationally as their white counterparts. Two, the U.S. cannot justly say that they’ve succeeded in freeing individuals from institutional injustice and inequality, such as German Jews, yet do nothing to eliminate Jim Crow laws that affect the African American community. Lastly, I feel that Hughes questions what V-Day- Victory Day- means to African Americans who are still in bondage in the “land of the free.” In other words, he is urging white America to critically re-examine the pride they gained from their victory in WWII because the American homefront still has pervasive social inequalities and injustices affecting black America.  

On that note, I am not surprised by Langston Hughes’ influence in America during the 20th century. I am surprised to hear that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. did not credit Hughes in his “I Have a Dream” speech. I wonder why this silence continued in history, even in the black community. This reminds me of when they call you a terrorist: a black lives matter memoir by Patrisse Khan-Cullors and asha bandele. I remember that in this memoir, Patrisse- one of the founding members of the Black Lives Matter Movement- says that the federal government classified her and other members of her family and friends as terrorists for their anti-racist activism. On that note, I would say that invisible leadership can also evolve out of the federal government’s reaction and response to the voices of people who are not white and wealthy.

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3 Comments

  1. Sara Moushegian Sara Moushegian

    I also am surprised that Langston Hughes did not get credit for the impact his poem had on MLK’s speech. MLK was a prominent figure in the Civil Rights Movement, so I would have assumed empowering Langston Hughes’s poem would have been a great way to show the black culture in a positive light and encourage more black people to speak out through literature and art.

  2. Mohamad Kassem Mohamad Kassem

    I was not aware that Hughes did not get credit for his poem, I was surprised to learn that. I also like your point where you mentioned that invisible leadership can also evolve to the voices of people who are not privileged and I completely agree with that.

  3. Pierce Kaliner Pierce Kaliner

    I thought it was very interesting how Hughes was able to use battle to fight for Civil Rights. And, I agree that Hughes questions what victory really is, because at home African Americans aren’t really free.

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