Last Updated 27 Jan 2021

The New Negro by Alain Locke

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The essay The New Negro by Alain Locke’s defines what Locke believes to be the “Old Negro and the “New Negro. This paper will compare and contrasts Marcus Garvey The Future as I See it and Langston Hughes various poems on why Locke would have characterized them as either Old Negroes, New Negroes, or both. I believe Locke, Garvey , Hughes were determined to see Blacks succeed. Each writer expresses their idea in their own unique way, but they all wanted freedom, equality, and respect. For example, Locke would characterize Garvey as the Old and New Negro.

For instance, Garvey writes that it’s time for each person to decide on how they will discover freedom. Garvey writes “The hour has now struck for the individual Negro as well as the entire race to decide the course that will be pursued in the interest of our own liberty”. (p. 1000) Garvey was writing his views on the future as he saw it. He wanted blacks to know now it’s your time to decide which path you want to take and you have the freedom to do so. Also, Locke writes “The Negro today is inevitably moving forward under the control largely of his own objectives”. (p. 89) Blacks are achieving their goals because ‘ is something they desired on their own. Also, Garvey informs the Negro that their will be people who will try to discourage you from reaching the freedom you so desperately want. Garvey writes, “ Some trying to capitalize the new spirit that has come to the Negro to make profit out of it to their own selfish benefit; some are trying to set back the Negro from seeing the hope of own liberty… “(p. 1001). In spite of, what the white men might think or feel on how far Negros will get in life, we must not listen and believe what they feel.

Garvey writes “white men may laugh at the idea of Negroes talking about government; but let me tell you there is going to be a government…” (p. 1002) Garvey writes to the New Negroes that we can’t let anyone plant a seed in our minds and our spirit that we can not achieve the same goals that the white man wants. This is a new day for us and we are going to embrace this new beginning and let no one stop us for achieving our goals. In addition, Garvey writes to the New Negroes about the vision he sees for them.

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He reminds them that God created them and because of this you are special and do not allow anyone to tell you differently. Garvey writes, “Remember that you are men, that God created you Lords of this creation. Nonetheless, Garvey’s vision for Negroes was that we can do anything that we set our minds to regardless of the circumstances that we could face. Garvey writes, “ Let no man pull you down, let no man destroy your ambition, because man is but your companion, your equal; man is your brother; he is not your lord; he is not your sovereign master”. p. 1003) Garvey’s vision to the Negroes was that man is not the one you live for, God is the one who will be their with you to the end and he will never leave you. Also, Locke would characterize Hughes poems as New and Old Negroes. First, in Hughes’s poem Mother to Son; a mother is telling her son that her journey through life has not been easy, but she will not give up. Hughes writes “ Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair. ” (p. 1292) This mother is telling her son her life has not been easy but she is still standing.

The mother wanted her son to know no matter how hard times may become don’t you give up. Hughes writes “So boy, don’t you turn back. ” Locke and Hughes both were sending the same message; they both were determined to see blacks succeed. Next, Hughes poem I Too relates to a young black man who believes that he is beautiful and one day everybody will notice this. “They send me to eat in the kitchen When company comes, But I laugh, And eat well, And grow strong. ” (p. 295) The young man will go quietly and he will dream about the day when he will be able to sit at the table with everybody and they will notice he is a beautiful person. Hughes writes “Tomorrow, I’ll be at the table When company comes. Nobody”ll dare Say to me, “Eat in the kitchen,” Also, in the Theme for English B by Hughes I believe Locke would have characterized this to the New Negro. It was about a young color-man who was only colored student in his English class. His instructor asked the class go home and write something that is true and it will let you know who you really are.

The young color boy wanted his instructor to know that even though they both might not want to be part of each other world, they both could learn from each other. I believe Locke, Garvey, and Hughes all shared similar values and views about the New Negro and Old Negro. All of them told their stories in different ways, but they all told their in own unique way. Finally, all three authors wanted to express how they believed that we can reach our goals regardless of any obstacles that may stand in our way. Sharise Williams Literature-125 Professor Crowe.

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