Was it wrong for Langston Hughes to think that Jesus was an African American?

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I chose to do my blog on Langston Hughes (1902-1967). Langston Hughes is one of the best-known African American male writers of off all times. He has held many titles such as author, civil rights activist, protester, and poet. He not only had written poetry, he also has written plays, novels and short stories about music, war, lynching, racial segregation,historical African Americans which included Jesus and God. He has even written about religion. In many of his writings he has portrayed Jesus or God as being a black male. One of his most controversial poems called “Christ in Alabama” has been criticized over the years, and even today in our modern world, especially in the Christian community. One would have to wonder if Langston Hughes is wrong in thinking that Jesus was an African American. Or perhaps he was writing about some else?

http://www.english.illinois.edu/maps/poets/g_l/hughes/christ.htm  

Christ in Alabama

Christ is a nigger,

Beaten and black:

Oh, bare your back!

 

Mary is His mother:

Mammy of the South,

Silence your mouth.

 

God is His father:

White Master above

Grant Him your love.

 

Most holy bastard

Of the bleeding mouth,

    Nigger Christ

    On the cross

    Of the South.

 

In this poem it seemed to me as if Langston is writing about his perception of Christ as being a black man.  I often wonder myself if Jesus is in fact black. When I was younger my parents had pictures of Jesus being African American all over our home.  Today, many African American churches and organizations are convinced that Jesus was a black man; some have even interrupted that his hair being the texture of wool could mean only one thing, that he was black. Here are a few clips that give an example of such beliefs.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=khXWDWB4G54

For example, my own church has a bookstore that sells everything from fans to books and other religious affirmation with images of an African American Christ displayed on them. One would have to wonder if my church is being bias or being racist when it comes to the color of Jesus. Is my church trying to fit Jesus into a mold for the African American community? Yet, we have a diversity of churchgoers that include Caucasian worshipers, is this fair too them?  I often wonder how this make them feel, and why haven’t any of them confronted our “Holy Than Thou Art” fellow church board members.

 One day my friend Debbie asked her to visit her church, and when I entered their huge sanctuary the first thing that I saw was a Giant picture of a white Jesus. One could literally imagine the look on my face. It was that day that I asked her what color she thought that Jesus was and she said white of course. I then asked her how she knew that Jesus is white. She said that is what she has been taught all of life that Jesus could be no other color but Caucasian. And I had been taught the same thing that Jesus is black. Could it be that I too am like so many of my fellow church members and bias in my viewpoint on the color of Jesus? Over the years, I had begun to visit different churches and found out that Jesus is a different color to different faiths.Could Jesus be multicolored?  Or could some of us be colorblind and see no color at all. I often times ask myself does it really matter what color Jesus really is.  In today standards, I would be off the mark because there are people that will never believe that a Jew could be black. And there are some individuals that still believe that Egypt is not located in Africa.

 Today, the color of Jesus skin does matter to certain religious faith.  Some people even believe that if Jesus is not the color of their chose, they would rather go to Hell than to go to Heaven. I had a friend that told me this joke. He said, there were two friends that both died on the same day. They both stood outside of heaven gates and argued over what color God was.  And then they gates swung open and a loud voice said in Spanish you are both wrong, I’m Hispanic.

As I ponder over this poem, I was trying to find out the real meaning behind why Langston Hughes had written “Christ in Alabama”, after all we are right now living in the state of Alabama and it was not that long ago that slavery and Christianity were apart and still today are a part of our American history. So with that in mind, I found two articles that stated that Langston Hughes was basically using this controversial poem as metaphor to address the poor black slaves in Alabama who represent Jesus in the segregated south. They were oppressed by a white salve master; who was all, over them all the time and in the end Christ is symbolically killed by the racist South.

http://business.highbeam.com/4776/article-1G1-16553537/collected-poems-langston-hughes

 http://www.angelfire.com/freak/lizchan/christ.html

 

In today’s society the world is filled with images of Jesus. One’s own interpretation the color of Jesus’s skin has been and still is a hot debated topic for years and continues on into 2013.  Langston Hughes, through his writings, provoked a sting in the Christian community, to the point that critics tried to call him an Atheist. However, in order for Langston Hughes to have been atheistic, he would not cared what color Jesus was because atheist individual do not believe in Jesus, thus his color is irrelevant.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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RRP1696506_20100505

 My November Guest

My Sorrow, when she’s here with me,
Thinks these dark days of autumn rain
Are beautiful as days can be; She loves the bare, the withered tree;
She walks the sodden pasture lane.

Her pleasure will not let me stay.
She talks and I am fain to list:
She’s glad the birds are gone away,
She’s glad her simple worsted grey
Is silver now with clinging mist.

The desolate, deserted trees,
The faded earth, the heavy sky,
The beauties she so truly sees,
She thinks I have no eye for these,
And vexes me for reason why.

Not yesterday I learned to know
The love of bare November days
Before the coming of the snow,
But it were vain to tell her so,
And they are better for her praise

 

 

Robert Frost’s poem, “My November Guest,” is a poem that I had heard read many years ago at a poetry event. This is where I met my best friend Dawn Johnson. Dawn was a fan of Robert Frost; I on the other hand, knew nothing about Robert Frost. After hearing this poem recited by a local poetic artist, I had decided to read it for myself. After reading this poem, I assumed that Robert Frost was writing about a relationship between a man and woman that was about to end in a sorrowful way in the month of November. While reading this poem, I had discovered that Robert Frost used nature as a symbol to describe the outside climate in which he wrote: “the dark autumn rain, withered trees, and sodden pasture lanes.” I thought that this was the reason that he had used the month of November as a transition for the ending of the fall season and preparation of winter. Perhaps it is during this period that the male lover described his pain and misery of not being able to let go of his girlfriend. In return, his girlfriend tried to get him to see that it is over between the two of them and that it was time for them to both move on and go their separate ways. During my research on Robert Frost, I came across an interesting video clip called “My November Guest” by Robert Frost (read by Tom O’Bedlam).  

 I also found a video on YouTube that alluded to the poem as being about a couple in a relationship; it is called: My November Guest – Short Film:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f-CA 9KYSxqE  

After I previewed this video, I still had in my mind that Robert Frost was definitely talking about a couple being in a painful relationship.

But as I began to read the poem over again, I literally changed my mind. The first line began to speak volumes to me. It says, “My sorrow, when she is here with me”. So the word “sorrow” is really not a woman; I believe that it is a metaphor that represents a woman. I also noticed that Frost used the word “sorrow” throughout his poem for the readers to gradually understand that some people are unhappy during the winter months, in which people tend to get depressed, moody, and sad. I do believe that Robert Frost explained this concept in the poem “My November Guest” in which the month of November is the guest that will no longer be there once the uninvited guest of winter takes over.

As I reread his poem for the second time around, another poem popped into my head called “Sorry”. It was written by Ntozake Shange in which Janet Jackson recited it in the movie called “For Colored Girls”:

“sorry”

one thing i don’t need
is any more apologies
i got sorry greetin me at my front door
you can keep yrs
i don’t know what to do wit em
they dont open doors
or bring the sun back
they dont make me happy
or get a mornin paper
didnt nobody stop usin my tears to wash cars
cuz a sorry

 

i am simply tired
of collectin
i didnt know
i was so important toyou
i’m gonna haveta throw some away
i cant get to the clothes in my closet
for alla the sorries
i’m gonna tack a sign to my door
leave a message by the phone
‘if you called
to say yr sorry
call somebody

else
i dont use em anymore’
i let sorry/ didnt meanta/ & how cd i know abt that
take a walk down a dark & musty street in brooklyn
i’m gonna do exactly what i want to
& i wont be sorry for none of it
letta sorry soothe yr soul/ i’m gonna soothe mine

you were always inconsistent
doin somethin & then bein sorry
beatin my heart to death
talkin bout you sorry
well
i will not call
i’m not goin to be nice
i will raise my voice
& scream & holler
& break things & race the engine
& tell all yr secrets bout yrself to yr face
& i will list in detail everyone of my wonderful lovers
& their ways
i will play oliver lake
loud
& i wont be sorry for none of it

i loved you on purpose
i was open on purpose
i still crave vulnerability & close talk
& i’m not even sorry bout you bein sorry
you can carry all the guilt & grime ya wanna
just dont give it to me
i cant use another sorry
next time
you should admit
you’re mean/ low-down/ triflin/ & no count straight out
steada bein sorry alla the time
enjoy bein yrself

http://www.afropoets.net/ntozakeshange6.html >

In Robert Frost’s poem, “November’s Guest,” the term “sorrow” is a term in which many people can relate to the poem with understanding. I can remember how my best friend Dawn  loved this poem. In 2010, Dawn committed suicide.  She always complained about the winter months and how she hated them because they made her feel so depressed and lonely. Dawn called it a winter of despair. She never made it to see 2011. She always said that “sorrow” was all she had dealt with her whole life.

http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/rrstar/obituary.aspx?n=dawn-johnson&pid=142501658

 

 

Who Is Al Sharpton?

                                           Photo by Rodney Pike

Parades, pickets, demonstrations, marches, rallies, protests, boycotts — the Revered Al Sharpton has done it all. He is one of the most power African American leaders of today.  Whenever something bad happens in the African American community, the first person that the overall African American people and black community leaders want on their side is that of Al Sharpton. He was born October 3, 1954, in Brooklyn, New York, as Alfred Charles Sharpton Jr.  In 2004, he ran as  candidate for the Democratic nomination for the U.S. presidential election—in which he lost. Nonetheless, this civil rights leader is also a powerhouse social justice activist with  a radio and television show. http://nationalactionnetwork.net/about/staff/rev-al-sharpton/

Over the years, Al Sharpton has been under attack from the White House to the IRS. But nevertheless, he is the BMIC (black man in charge) to go to—for the African American community living in the U.S. He is the HNIC (head negro in charge) who is not afraid to say what is on his mind. He is a man that will stand up for social change and injustice in which he has been known to publicly protest and rally on the behalf of important causes throughout the United States, such as the charge of murder especially against that of young African American males.  For many years he has been in the public’s eye as being an overweight, obnoxious loud mouth and a know-it-all. His hair has always been a part of his character; he seemly likes it wavy. In the past, he has written books; one can add author to his growing list of accolades. But today, he has lost a lot of weight, is currently dating a young woman half his age, and has recently written a new book called “The Rejected Stone: Al Sharpton and the Path to American Leadership.” One can read more about his new book at the following websites: http://newsone.com/2734079/al-sharpton-book/  http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/al-sharpton-exclusive-book-excerpts-article-1.1468678 http://aalbc.com/authors/al-sharpton.html

I can personally remember when a young man was gunned down in the House of Grace church daycare center where children and staff members were present. It happened in 2009. Eyewitnesses that were in the church at the time of the shooting, said that the young man ran into the church and went into a closet in which he was hiding when the Rockford Police officers entered the premises. Several accounts were given as to what actually happed that day. According to the officers, the suspect struggled with one of the officers before being shot to death. Nevertheless, eyewitnesses stated that the victim, Anthony Barmore, came out of the closet with both of his arms in the air, when suddenly two police officers opened fire on him without due cause. According to police, they were justified in killing an unarmed man. The African American community rallied for justices for days.

The African American community called on the top pastors of the churches throughout the Rockford community to do something about this twenty-three year old man being killed in cold blood. We also cried out to black community leaders to seek justice against these officers for using such deadly force against the victim. The city desperately needed to hear from the Rockford leaders, such as the Mayor and the chief of the police department. We wanted to hear from Al Sharpton about this injustice. Even though the community did not see Al Sharpton come out and support the family or the community of this young man, he did send a letter to the church on his behalf.

A couple of websites reported on this terrible tragedy: http://aapoliticalpundit.blogspot.com/2009/08/deadly-daycarechurch-shooting-rockford.html

http://communistpartyillinois.blogspot.it/2009/09/shot-dead-in-rockford-church-day-care.html

A broadcast of the news can be found in this video:  “Police kill an African American in the midwest near Chicago”

No one would have thought that in 2012, a 17-year-old African American high school student, by the name of Trayvon Martin, would be shot by George Zimmerman in Sanford, Florida. It seemed that more and more of our young African American men were being killed on the streets. Given this fact about today’s young black males whose lives have been cut short, I strongly believe that this is one of the reasons why Al Sharpton became so strongly involved with this case.

I have included a couple of websites in which Al Sharpton is one black man who is not to be messed with when it comes to a terrible injustice against society’s black young males.

http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/USA-Update/2013/0721/Trayvon-Martin-rallies-Has-Al-Sharpton-gone-mainstream-video

When I first heard of the tragic case involving Trayvon Martin, I was shocked and in disbelief. I could not understand how an individual who admitted to shooting a teenager to death was never arrested. I wondered what kind of legal system we were dealing with that would allow a person to shoot another individual and not be held responsible for it. Hundreds of people from all walks of life joined in the fight to see that justice was done on behalf of Trayvon. People came together in hopes of making sure that an incident like this would never happen again.

Al Sharpton had something to say as he joined in the fight on Youtube:  “Al Sharpton full speech. Trayvon Martin Rally NYC 7/20/13”

When it came to Zimmerman’s trial, I will have to admit that I had taken the time to get glimpses of George Zimmerman’s second-degree murder trial in the case of Trayvon Martin. Here is day 13, the last day of the trial called: “George Zimmerman Trial – Day 13 – Part 1 (Closing Arguments)”

When the verdict came in as not guilty, I was shocked and in disbelief that he had gotten away with murder. The public said the same thing about OJ Simpson and that the legal system once again failed the American people.  Some of my friends said that the verdict did not come as a shock to them. But Rev. Al Sharpton assured the family, community, pastors, and black leaders, that it wasn’t over until the fat lady sings. Sharpton was quoted as saying: “They took his life, but we can’t let them take his legacy.” (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/11/al-sharpton-trayvon-martin-judgment_n_1419043.html)

Here are the various websites that featured Sharpton after the verdict of George Zimmerman:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/11/al-sharpton-trayvon-martin-judgment_n_1419043.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/27/al-sharpton-trayvon-martin-msnbc-activism_n_1381913.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/23/al-sharpton-trayvon-martin-rally_n_1374975.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/21/al-sharpton-trayvon-martin-rally_n_1370301.html

Despite his support in the African American community, I know that some critics have said that Rev. Sharpton is racist. In the trial of George Zimmerman, Sharpton wanted to play the role of role of judge, jury and executioner while his critics said he should have been more in tune to the facts presented in the case. Others have said Sharpton will only protest for African American people and not Caucasian or Hispanics who also face social injustice in the United States.  In fact, when a white man named Chris Lane was killed, he did not do any protesting on behalf of this Caucasian victim, nor did Al Sharpton do anything to seek justice for the family or the white community. Furthermore, it has been stated that he will only become involved with a case and protest when money is involved in which he will be reward for his part in bringing injustice to the light. Could these critics have a point? And how does Sharpton respond to this claim? Here is an article called, “Al Sharpton Not Protesting Chris Lane Murder Because ‘The System Worked”: http://www.inquisitr.com/919580/al-sharpton-not-protesting-chris-lane-murder-because-the-system-worked/

I also found this YouTube video in which Al Sharpton defends himself as not being a racist on the issue of Chris Lane: “ Al Sharpton On Chris Lane Killing: Nothing To Protest Because It Was”

Looking from both sides of the coin, I feel that Al Sharpton over the years has been a great source of strength to the African American community, in spite of the negative publicly that he has received over the years. He has been asked more that any other African American leader to represent the African American community as a whole and that alone has to speak volumes, in which I will gladly accept. I think that Al Sharpton will continue to fight for justices until the day that he take his last breath, despite disliked by so many people.