Countee Cullen's Impact On African American Culture

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The migration of thousands of African Americans to the north created an explosion of cultural and artistic growth. Authors Countee Cullen, Claude McKay, and Jean Toomer used their experiences during the 1920s to express the trials and struggles the African Americans endured during this time period. Through slavery and abolition, African Americans found that they all shared similar experiences, thus creating the Harlem Renaissance. Countee Cullen was raised by his grandmother until her death. At the age of fifteen, Countee was taken into the home of Reverend Frederick A. Cullen, the pastor of Salem Methodist Episcopal Church. Countee was introduced to Harlem’s largest congregation which was also the center of black politics. At the end…show more content…
His parents were peasant farmers but his brother was a teacher with a library of English novels, poetry, and scientific texts. With his brother’s education, he became interested in poetry. By the age of seventeen, McKay moved to Brown’s Town to apprentice as a woodworker. In Brown’s Town, McKay was first introduced to racism. At first, the racism drove McKay to write, but after a year spent in Brown’s Town, McKay grew disgusted with being inferior and only being able to complete menial tasks. McKay began to take pride in his African heritage and published his first piece, Songs of Jamaica. The Jamaican Institute of Arts and Sciences awarded McKay for Songs of Jamaica with money, which in turn he used to finance a trip to the United States. McKay attended Tuskegee Institute of Alabama for a few months until he transferred to the University of Kansas to study agriculture. In 1914, McKay left schooling and traveled to New York. New York was not the best for McKay, he was encountered with extensive racism. McKay soon became interested in communism and decided to leave the United States. Although he enjoyed his time in Russia and France, he lost his interests in communism and decided to move back to America. Racism did not keep him away from the country he loved, from his poem, America, he wrote, “Although she feeds me bread of bitterness and sinks into my throat her tiger’s tooth, stealing my breath of life, I will confess I love this cultured hell that tests my youth” (Porter

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