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ENGL411: African-American Literature

Unit 6: Black Arts, 1960-1975   Artists of the Black Arts movement, even while they criticized the aesthetic aims of the movement as a whole, were moved by continuing injustices to be politically active in their art.  Considering all aspects of post-Civil Rights era life, they wrote scathingly of the failings of America to create a just system—some from prison, some from urban areas, some from within homosexual relationships.  This unit traces a wide range of artistic and cultural ideas.  It will examine the aesthetic that at times fought against itself with its narrow conception of what topics could and should be addressed by African American writers and how the African American society should be portrayed in artistic representations.  

Unit 6 Time Advisory
This unit will take you approximately 6 hours to complete.

☐    Subunit 6.1: 2 hours

☐    Subunit 6.2: 2 hours

☐    Subunit 6.3: 2 hours

Unit6 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, the student will be able to:
- Explain how the aims of culture and politics merged in the Black Arts and Black Power movements. - Explain the goal of the Black Arts movement to define African American nationhood. - Identify the goals of Black revolutionaries in African American prison literature. - Analyze the role of gender issues on African American literature. - Explain the influence of feminism on African American female authors.

6.1 Black Arts and Black Power   - Reading: Modern American Poetry: Documents from the Black Arts Movement Link: Modern American Poetry: Documents from the Black Arts Movement (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please read the entire webpage.  Make sure to pay special attention to Larry Neal’s from The Black Arts Movement (about ¾ of the way down the page).  Neal produced a seminal text defining the Black Arts Movement.  He argues that the aims of the cultural Black Arts and the political Black Power movements merge in the African American desire for self-determination and nationhood.  You should spend approximately 2 hours reading and studying this resource.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use on the webpage displayed above.

6.2 The Prison Experience and the Black Revolutionary   - Lecture: YouTube: Duke University’s “Office Hours with Maurice Wallace on Prison in African-American Literature” Link: YouTube: Duke University’s “Office Hours with Maurice Wallace on Prison in African-American Literature” (YouTube)
 
Instructions: View the entire video (approximately 1 hour and 2 minutes).  Maurice Wallace explores the influence of prison experiences on African American literature.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use on the webpage displayed above.

  • Reading: Poets.org: Etheridge Knight’s "Hard Rock Returns to Prison from the Hospital for the Criminal Insane" Link: Poets.org: Etheridge Knight’s "Hard Rock Returns to Prison from the Hospital for the Criminal Insane"(HTML)

    Instructions: First, read the poem aloud.  Then, read the poem a second time on the page.  Based on his own incarceration, Knight uses a variety of voices to explain Hard Rock's prison experience, and thus the prison experience in general.  You should spend approximately 30 minutes reading and analyzing this poem.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use on the webpage displayed above.

  • Reading: Modern American Poetry: Hunter, Hill, Vendler, and Seelow’s On "Hard Rock Returns to Prison from the Hospital for the Criminal Insane" Link: Modern American Poetry: Hunter, Hill, Vendler, and Seelow’s “On ‘Hard Rock Returns to Prison from the Hospital for the Criminal Insane’” (HTML)

    Instructions: Please read the entire webpage, with excerpts of criticism from various authors on Knight’s poem “Hard Rock Returns to Prison from the Hospital for the Criminal Insane.”  You should allot approximately 30 minutes for reading and note taking.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use on the webpage displayed above.

6.3 The Construction of a Woman's Place and African American Feminism   - Reading: Voices: Nikki Giovanni’s "The American Vision of Lincoln" Link: Voices: Nikki Giovanni’s "The American Vision of Lincoln" (HTML)
 
Instructions: First, read the poem aloud.  Then, re-read the poem on the page.  Consider the theme of feminism and how the role of females is portrayed in this poem.  You should spend approximately 30 minutes reading and analyzing this poem.
 
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  • Reading: Pittsburgh State University: K. Nichol’s “Women’s Poetry: Selections:” Audre Lorde The Saylor Foundation does not yet have materials for this portion of the course. If you are interested in contributing your content to fill this gap or aware of a resource that could be used here, please submit it here.

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  • Reading: PoemHunter.com: Lucille Clifton’s "wishes for sons," "the lost baby poem," and "homage to my hips" Links: PoemHunter.com: Lucille Clifton’s "wishes for sons,"  "the lost baby poem" and "homage to my hips" (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Please read these three poems.  Clifton, Lourde, and Giovanni all write about women and families and their influences on the larger political picture.  Clifton's humor and love for life come through in the three poems here about ordinary experiences that tie ordinary women together.  You should spend approximately 30 reading and analyzing these poems.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use on the webpage displayed above.