The Many Views of Lynching
The titles of the works are “The Lynching”, “Bitter Fruit of the Tree”, and “Song for a Dark Girl”. These poems were written by Claude McKay, Sterling Brown and Langston Hughes. The genres for these works are horror, realistic fiction, and poetry. “The Lynching” was published in 1920, “Bitter Fruit of the Tree” was published in 1939, and “Song for A Dark Girl” was published in 1927. These poems are all relevant to the essay because they are about lynching and their experience on it. Each poem describes the horrors of lynching and how each of the characters’ beliefs and perspective comes into play.
The word “lynching” roughly means to falsely execute an individual in a mob. It is a terrible crime that happened during the 19th century in southern states. They did these heinous crimes to African Americans because they wanted to have white supremacy over them. They performed many different kinds of execution all in public to strike fear in hearts of blacks. But they did not only murder African Americans, they also lynched some specific white people too. The most likely killed whites that sympathized with the black community. The police didn’t little to nothing to prevent or stop the unjust killings. In fact most of the time, the officers participated in them. Enforcing lynching laws was nearly impossible, and so people didn’t dare to try and stop them in fear of becoming victims themselves. Because of these outbreaks of unreasonable murders, many people was killed and many loved ones were lost. These poems are a few examples of how each of the authors viewed, experienced, and approached lynching.
Claude McKay, Sterling Brown and Langston Hughes all have their own experience and thoughts about lynching; as they express them in their literature. All three of them write about a different perspective on the matter. In general, they all thought the same about lynching as evil, but there are significant differences on how they...
Citations: Baym, Nina, ed. The Norton Anthology of American Literature, Packet II. 7th ed.
New York: Norton, 2007
"The Negro Holocaust: Lynching and Race Riots in the United States, 1880-1950”
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