Annotated Bibliography of Zora Neale Hurston How It Feels To Be Colored Me

For my research paper I plan to focus on Zora Neale Hurston‘s essay How it Feels to be Colored me and Langston Hughes‘ essay Bop to look closer into African American lives during the Harlem Renaissance With using these two authors, I plan to address the issues of cultural identity, and if Hurston or Hughes had any bias in writing the essays that they did. I plan to answer the research question, “What was it like to be black in the time of the Harlem Renaissance?” In this text, Ayesha Hardison breaks down numerous amounts of Zora Neale Hurston’s work with the goal of figuring out how Hurston writes, With this I mean, what are the central topics that she talks about in most of her works.

Hardison believes that Hurston‘s work How it Feel to be Colored Me revolves around the idea of a black girl‘s desire to perform before a white audience conflicts with the black community’s desire to maintain its autonomy.

Not only does a black child interacting with whites threaten the community‘s safety, but her singing and dancing for white entertainment threatens black collective subjectivityt. This piece talks about how Httrston personally attempts to reconcile herself to the childhood moment in which she develops her racial consciousness. This racial consciousness is what I want to focus on in my essay with the Harlem Renaissance working in the background Secondly, Hurston engages the contemporary public debates about the legitimacy of a distinct and viable African American cultural tradition I also want to focus on her definition of African American cultural tradition during this time to see how she would answer the question, “what it was like to be black during the Harlem Renaissance?‘ Ethelene Whitmire takes on a black feminist theory perspective when she sheds light on a librarian named Regina Anderson Andrews.

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In 1923, Whitmire informs us, Andrews moved to New York City and found a job at the New York Public Library (NYPL) at its 1351h Street Branch in Harlem where even as an entry-level employee the young African American took the initiative to “set aside a small work area for African American artist” such as Langston Hughes. Regina Anderson Andrews played a vital part in displaying the works of African American artists during the time of the Harlem Renaissance, Whitmire also informs us that Andrews threw herself into the community by organizing the North Harlem Community Forum which brought a variety of professional recognition as a woman of color while also contributing artistically to the Harlem Renaissance. This is a vital source for me to use in my essay because Andrews met Zora Neale Hurston and Langston Hughes personally, and can give me insight to who they were as people beyond their writings.

With this information, I can see how Hurston and Hughes would answer my research question. In this piece Claudia Durst Johnson displays the life of Langston Hughes. Johnson mainly focuses on the issue of race in his poetry. This source contains entries about his life and the inspiration for his social commitment. Along with that, this source also contains two viewpoints that discover the relevance to how black culture shaped the form of his poetry and the social message poems that became his hallmark, With this source I am mainly focusing on the pages that discuss the race relations during the Harlem Renaissance. Langston laments on how the end of the Harlem Renaissance saw an increase in racial violence and economic hardship for black masses in America. There were beatings, lynchings, and daily humiliations of segregation. I would use this source in my essay to answer my question specifically through the works of Langston Hughes.

With this source I can get a clear basis on how the life of an African American was during this time period. In this innovative book, R. Baxter Miller explores Hughes’s life and art to enlarge our appreciation of his contribution to American literature. Miller argues that readers often miss the complexity of Hughes’s work because of its seeming accessibility. Miller starts off with a discussion of the writer’s autoebiography, an important yet a neglected piece of work that has been overshadowed by his more famous poems, Throughout this book Miller finds a constant symbiotic bond between the historical and the lyrical. The range of Hughes‘s artistic vision is revealed in his depiction of black women, his political stance, and his lyric and tragi»c0mic modes. Miller not only affirms in Hughes’s work the peculiar qualities of Black American culture but provides a unifying conception of his art and identifies the primary metaphors lying at its heart.

With this book, I can understand Langston Hughes more to get to how he would answer my overarching research question. I decided to add an extra source to my paper because I thought that this piece was too powerful to pass up. Langston Hughes argues, of black artists not being true to their artistic selves and modifying what they write and want to express to try and satisfy either his own people or whites. This also adds to the theory of the Veils Minorities portray themselves on how they think white people see them as A true black artist, Hughes says, will write what is on his or her heart without changing it and thinking about how their work will be received. In a sense, I think there are ways in which this essay is still relevant today. All too often authors are defined by their skin color or ethnicity I wanted to use this source because I think it gives a great insight to what Langston Hughes thought of how the average African American artist thought about themselves and their writing during the time of the Harlem Renaissance.

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Annotated Bibliography of Zora Neale Hurston How It Feels To Be Colored Me. (2023, May 14). Retrieved from

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