Afas (Literature) Essay, Research Paper
Unlike the historical figures from the last research, these figures where into literature and they wrote about their struggles, individuality, and other issues that disturbed them. They all made an impact during the early 1900. Some of which are still alive now. In a way, they structured writing for blacks. They were not all Americans, but they defined the ways that literature was read and written.
Wole Soyinka and Chinua Achebe were two historical figures in literature. They were both from Nigeria and they both wrote about the falling of the Nigerian culture and also their personal tribes and culture. They had a very great impact in the Nigeria culture. They were never too scared to write how they felt about any situations.
Writing was a way to voice out their opinion. Unlike the other pioneers that took action against what they were not in support of, these pioneers where into writing and they stood up for there rights by writing about it and discussing it. They all wrote about the issue of racism and also unjust manners, apart from one of them who wrote about homosexuality.
They were all against racial acts and stood up for their rights. In some cases, they were arrested for it.
Wole Soyinka was born on July 13 1934 in Abeokuta Nigerian. He was a playwright, poet, novelist, and lecturer. Soyinka studied at the University of Ibadan and graduated from the university of leads in Britain in 1957 with a Doctorate degree.
During the six years he spent in England, he was a “dramaturgist” at the Royal Court Theatre in London. He returned to Nigeria in 1960 and established Masks drama troupe. He later started producing his own play and other plays by African play writers. During 1967 – 1970, which was the time of the Nigerian Civil war, he appealed in an article for cease-fire and was arrested and kept in solitary confinement because they thought he was conspiring with the Biafra rebels. He was in jail for 22 months until 1969. During his time in jail, he wrote a collection of poems. Soyinka usually based his writing on the “mythology of his own tribe the Yoruba with Ogun, the god of iron and war”. He also writes about the need for individual freedom. Some of his plays deal with Nigerian Independent and political issues. His article A Personal Narrative of the Nigerian Crisis deals with Nigeria before the Independent during the British regime until the regime under Abacha.
In 1994 he went into exile during the dictatorship of Sani Abacha. He was angry and sad because of the deterioration of Nigeria as a nation. In 1997 he was charged for treason. They government claimed that he and other dissidents had been involved in a series of bombings. Soyinka denied all charges, and after Abacha’s death in June 1998, his successor, Abdulsalam Abubakar, dropped all charges and he later returned to Nigeria.
James Arthur Baldwin
James Arthur Baldwin was born in the Harlem neighborhood of New York City to a single mother, Emma Birdis Jones. When he was still young, his mother married a preacher, David Baldwin, who adopted him. He was born the first of nine children of a clergyman and a factory worker. James had a difficult relationship with his adopted dad. In 1942 he graduated from high school and moved to New Jersey to begin working as a railroad hand. At age fourteen he joined a Pentecostal church and became a preacher. He used writing as a tool. He wrote as a way to be loved.
At age 17 Baldwin turned away from religion and moved to Greenwich Village, a New York City neighborhood where he met Richard Wright and began his first novel, In My Father’s House. In 1948 he began receiving awards and fellowships for his writings and published his first essay, The Harlem Ghetto. He later became aware of his homosexuality and was uncomfortable in the United States. He later moved to Paris, France. While in France he accepted his homosexuality and in 1953, he wrote his famous novel go tell it to the mountain. Which was an account of his youthful age.
In 1960 he returned to the United Stated and became politically active in support of civil rights. He spoke out in interview and gave speeches regarding racial justice. His novel nobody knows my name gave him an edge in civil rights movements.
Baldwin wrote novels, poetry, essays and a screenplay in the later years of his life. He died of stomach cancer in December 1987 at his home in St. Paul de Vence, France.
Jean Toomer was born as Nathan Pinchback Toomer into an upper class Negro family in Washington D.C. on December 26, 1894. Toomer’s grandfather, Pinckney B. S. Pinchback, was the son of a white plantation owner, a former slave of mixed race, possibly including African and Native American blood. Shortly after his birth, his Caucasian father deserted him and his mom because of money crises. His mom Nina gave him Nathan Eugene, which he later shortened to Jean.
Jean attended Garnet School, an elementary school for black students. At age Ten in 1905 Toomer experienced a year of illnesses that put him behind in school and toppled him from the leadership position among his neighborhood buddies. Toomer was a child that ruled the neighborhood gang at a young age. He was stricken with severe stomach.
In 1909 he moved to New York with his mom and his new dad. After the death of his mom he moved back to Washington. In 1910 he enrolled in Dunbar High School. Jean studied at five different higher educations in a period of four years. During his search for colleges, he was not sure if he should classify himself as white, but he feared racial discrimination. He studied agriculture in Wisconsin but later quit Wisconsin after a semester. He later moved between New York City, Chicago, and Washington D.C. In New York he lived of his grand parents, which he could only do for so long.
In 1923 he published the book cane with the help of Waldo Frank. His rejection of race classification is “thought to have stemmed largely from his commitment to art and to his idea of a “new American” race”. In 1931 he married Margery Latimer and settled in California in his marriage certificate he classified himself as white. Toomer was really confused about his race and was not willing to come down to the racial discrimination of that time. Toomer later began “experiencing physical ailments, particularly digestive difficulty and abdominal pains. He tried to address the problem through diet and psychoanalysis, but throughout the 1950s the complications simply worsened; other physical problems gradually attacked him as well”. He later moved into a nursing home in 1965, and died two years later on March 30th.
Frantz Fanon was born in 1925, to a middle-class family in the French colony of Martinique. He moved out of Martinique and volunteered to fight with the Free French in World War II. He later started writing political essays and plays, and married a French woman, Jose Duble. Before he left France, he published an article that deals with racism and colonization titled Black Skin White Mask. The book was part analysis because it deals with his personal experience and colonized relationship.
Because Fanon studied and was colonized in France, he conceived of himself as French because of his background. Fanon believed that the French associated blackness with evil and sin, and in an “attempt to escape the association of blackness with evil, the black man dons a white mask”. I think he was referring to him self when he was discussing this issue. Because he grew up in France he felt that way. He thinks that black or white do not exists without the other.
In 1953, Fanon became Head of the Psychiatry Department at the “Blida-Joinville Hospital in Algeria, where he instituted reform in patient care and desegregated the wards”. In 1956 he resigned his post with the French government to work for the Algerian cause. Fanon later fled to Tunisia and began working openly with the Algerian independence movement. He not only saw patients, he wrote about the movement for a number of publications.
Fanon survived several political murder attempts, but finally he died of leukemia in Washington, DC, on December 12, 1961.
Albert Chinualumogu Achebe, which was the name he was given by his parents, was born the son of Isaiah Okafo, a Christian churchman, and Janet N. Achebe on November 16, 1930 in Ogidi, Nigeria. Chinua Achebe schooled at Government College, Umuahia before earning an undergraduate degree from University College, Ibadan.
He was in the Biafran government service during the Nigerian Civil War. He attended Government College in Umuahia from 1944 to 1947 and University College in Ibadan from 1948 to 1953. He received a B.A. from London University in 1953 and studied broadcasting at the British Broadcasting Corp. in London in 1956. His early carrier was in broadcasting. After the civil war, Achebe was appointed Senior Research Fellow at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka and began lecturing abroad
He married Christie Chinwe Okoli, September 10, 1961, and now has four children: Chinelo, Ikechukwu, Chidi, and Nwando. Achebe taught at different Nigerian universities and US. His first novel, Things Fall Apart, presented an “unsentimentalized” picture of the Ibo tribe. Many critics believe and consider him to be the finest of the Nigerian novelists. He is considered by many to be one of the best novelists now writing in the English language.
He has written over written twenty-one novels, short stories and collections of poetry. He has received numerous other honors from around the world and is a recipient of the highest award for intellectual achievement in his native country of Nigeria.
“Achebe was the first Nigerian writer to successfully transmute the conventions of the novel, a European art form, into African literature.”
Born Chloe Anthony Wofford, on February 18, 1931, in Lorain, Ohio. Born to George Wofford, a shipyard welder, and his wife Ramah. She grew up during the great depression. Her parents schooled her at a young age. When she entered first grade, she was the only black student and the only student that could read.
In 1949 she entered Howard University, where she became interested in theater and joined a drama group. She later graduated in 1953 with a degree in English. And later earned mastered a degree in English in 1955. She subsequently taught at Texas Southern University from 1955 to 1957. After teaching for two years at Texas Southern University, Morrison, she returned to Howard to teach English in 1957. That was where she met and married Harold Morrison, a Jamaican architect with whom she had two sons, Harold Ford and Slade Kevin. While teaching she joined a writer group and started writing fictions.
In 1964 she divorced Harold Morrison and moved to New York with her two young sons. In 1965 She began working as a book editor at Random House. In 1970 she produced her first novel the bluest eye. He first novel did not sell that well but her second novel Sula did a whole lot better.
She later wrote Song of Solomon, which deals more with an African American man who went back to his hometown to learn more about his culture. In 1987, Morrison was named the Robert F. Goheen Professor of the Humanities at Princeton University, becoming the first black woman ever to hold a chair at an Ivy League school. She currently lives in Princeton, New Jersey.
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