In order for one to truly understand the views of African Americans you must read and understand past and present literature written by African Americans. Many people have the notion that any one black person can speak for the whole African American community, that is not true. Just like any other group there are various different opinions within that community, such is so for the African American Community. Just a quick glance at some of the writings by blacks will show you the variety of ideas that are held in the community. There are many writers that accommodated slavery and segregation, and there are many that do not. By discussing the writings of Garnet, Harper, and Mckay I will show how African American writers resisted slavery and segregation.
All works cited in this paper are from The Norton Anthology, African American Literature.
In "An Address to the Slaves of the United States of American," (280) written by Henry Garnet the speaker of the selection tries to appeal to those in slavery to resist their enslavement. ""Let your motto be resistance! resistance! RESISTANCE!"(285)," is how the speaker concludes his writing, but it sums up everything in his writing perfectly. Throughout this piece the speaker makes pleas to the reader to escape the shackles of slavery. The speaker appeals to those who are religious by stating that ".IT IS SINFUL IN THE EXTREME FOR YOU TO MAKE VOLUNTARY SUBMISSION" (282). He goes on to say that if you don"t resist, the "ALMIGHTY" will be displeased. This argument will strike fear in many people because God is feared by all, and the want to please God may ignite a movement to resist slavery. He goes on to use examples of those who broke free from slavery, in which one of those examples is Joseph Cinque. The speaker paints a picture of a brave man taking over a ship with "the help of God" and then gives you a beautiful idea of Cinque living in Africa "where he hears the lion roar and feels himself as free as the king of the forest.