Classy Writers

Classical Writers

Reassessing Baraka poetry

1. Read the play, ‘Dutchman’ only from page 1 to 22 in the upload file 2. a) Read Poetry Foundation’s biography on Amiri Baraka: b) Read “Historical Overview of the Black Arts Movement” in the attachment c) Read “Legend of The Flying Dutchman, Ghostly Apparition of the Ship of Captain Hendrick:” 3. Now that you’ve read into the historical context surrounding Amiri Baraka himself and the play Dutchman, you will reconsider some initial thoughts and reactions you had upon first reading Dutchman and compose a post that answers the following questions: a) How has the historical research helped you better understand the play? b) What questions did you have about Dutchman that are now, at least somewhat, clarified through this research? 4. After you’ve posted your response, read the following post, then offer your thoughts: “I had a hunch that the play was written during the 60’s. Specifically, the reference to racial violence as a means to attain rights previously deprived of African Americans to me screamed of Malcolm X and the Black Power Movement. Learning more context about when and by whom the play was written has confirmed my suspicions. I would say that the character of the white American who is aware of Black culture, happily consuming it, without nuance is still a relevant character today. A good example of this might be the white person with dreadlocks. They feel they might be doing Black culture a favor by donning the hairstyle, when in fact they are co-opting it. I think this kind of discussion can be confusing for white people. We might feel easily threatened when we are told that we are wrong, but we must look past individual selves and strive to see things through a broader social and cultural perspective. I am familiar with the legend of the Flying Dutchmen so that as not a surprise to me. However, I didn’t give the title much thought until several days after first reading the work. To me the title represents the idea that while Black Americans might come close to port (acceptance into the American middle class experience, they are actually damned to eternally be out to sea (poverty, segregation, lack of opportunities). I still wonder what the other passengers on the subway might represent, though I have some theories. Are they representations of other whites? Or maybe passive African Americans that see injustice but all to quickly forsake justice for their own comfort and upward social mobility?”

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