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African American Literature - Freedom and Sexuality

            The freedom and desire of sexuality is pertinent for humans. It is important that each person has a positive mindset about the subject, but due to racial oppression and slavery, many African American writers have opposing views on sexuality. While some like to flaunt their sexuality, others are more careful to the dangers that it may entail. One of the main highlights of the twentieth century is the Harlem Renaissance, which permitted blacks to flourish in the arts and literature. This led many black writers to freely express their thoughts and ideas on sexuality. A few authors who discuss the various ideas of sexuality in their writings are Gwendolyn Bennett, "To a Dark Girl, " Claude McKay, "America, " Langston Hughes, "Red Silk Stockings," and Harriet Jacobs, "Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl. " In this essay, I will be discussing the fact that although the topic of sexuality has a restrained history for African Americans, as they were suppressed from freedom of their sexuality among other things, these authors display their suggestion of what sex means. For some, they choose to celebrate sex and sexuality and embrace the empowerment they believe it provides through their writings, while others are still in the mindset that it is a negative thing brought onto them through their unjust slavery, such as the earlier author, Harriet Jacobs. In either case, through use of colorful language, these authors are able to express their opinions and even suggest advice to fellow African Americans regarding sexual beauty and empowerment. .
             Among the authors who believe that black women reserve the right, and should be encouraged to embrace their sexual beauty, is Gwendolyn Bennett, who wrote the poem "To a Dark Girl. " Bennett believes that slavery is not what shapes the beauty of a black woman, but it is her origins, which do so. The short poem suggests to a black woman that she should be proud of her background.

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