Southern Illinois University Carbondale Daily Egyptian Diversity News Archive (Southern Illinois University Carbondale)
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Item IDegyptian 1943 1112vol 25 #8.tif
DescriptionEveryone, including those who do not know anything else that is good about him, knows that the Negro sings.
Original Publication SourceDaily Egyptian
Date1943 November 12
Digital File Format.TIF (Tagged Image Format)
Digital File PublisherSpecial Collections Research Center, Morris Library, Southern Illinois University Carbondale
Rights StatementAll copyrights held by Southern Illinois University Carbondale. For permission to reproduce, distribute, or otherwise use this image, please contact the Special Collections Research Center, Morris Library, Southern Illinois University Carbondale. Phone: + 1 (618) 453-2516. Email:
CollectionDaily Egyptian Diversity News Archive (Southern Illinois University Carbondale)


Everyone, including those who do not know anything else that is good about him, knows that the Negro sings. Plantation songs, spirituals, and river songs were made by anonymous singers—individuals, groups. pastors and congregations of underprivileged folk. First enslaved, then treed but still exploited, the songs were bought at the price of hardship and pain. The writers and publishers of ‘‘Tin Pan Alley" capitalized swing. The Negro folk melodies, have found their way into the serious types of music, such as the "New World Symphony' of the Czech composer. Dvorak, and many works of white American. William L. Dawson, the Negro conductor of the famous Tuskegee choir, wrote a symphony based exclusively on themes drawn from Negro folk music, which was first played under the direction oZ Leopold Stolkowski.
Not only has the Negro created music, he has contributed artists to interpret it. Often, in spite of prejudice, discourtesy, Sand injustice. such singers as Paul Utbeson, Roland Hayes. Katerina Jarboro, and Marian Anderson have compelled the world to admit that their genius h rings special gifts to our culture. However, this is not the only field of Negro achievement. There are contributions in literature.
The Negro's contribution to literature began early in American history. In 1760. Jupiter Hammond, a Negro who belonged to Mr. Lloyd of Queens Village, Long Island, wrote an eighty-three-line broadside of a religious nature, Even more remarkable was Phillis Wheatley. who came to this country on a slave ship front Africa when she was only seven or eight years old. She was purchased by John Wheatley, of Host on. as a maid for his wife who gave her her name and an educa Lou as well. She was the second woman in America to publish a volume of poems. George Washington himself wrote a letter to thank her for a poem which she had dedicated to hin.. James Weldon JohnS son concludes that she was the first to speak of Washington as, ‘‘First in peace, " because she used the phrase twenty-four years before the Congressional resolution presented at the time of his death called hint "First in war, first in peace, first in the hearts of his countrymen."
There were other poets—Frances E. Harper, Alberry Whitman, and George Horton. Beginning with gaul Lawrence Dunbar, the real flow ering of Negro poetry took place. He not only handled the accepted themes of poetic ai't ably, but also expressed the characteristics and experiences of his people in a charming way.
There have been a number of outstanding writers. Some of them used dialect, but they did not confine themselves to that. They reflect the thoughts and moods of the race, they also express the common human emotions. Sonic have been in conscious rebellion against the bhackles society has placed on them, while others have tried to ignore them. They, too, differ among themselves, just as white poets. American, English, French, or German, differ from one another. In the verse or Countess Cullen, Langston Hughes. Claude McKay, Sterling Brown, and others you will find some of the best poetry that has ever been written.
Other forms of literature have been enriched, also. The American folk lore is indebted to its Negro people for the tales of "Uncle Remus" and for the mythical figure of "John Henry" who was such a mighty roustabout. The imaginative gift is an important one in any literature, and the popular legends which are handed down by word of mouth before anyone ever bothers to write them are the product of the same sort of spirit. bark Bradford, who published John Henry, was also collector of the popular versions of Bible tales. From his volume. ‘‘OP Man Adam an' His Children", Barc Connolly formed the basis of The Green Pastures. In this play the experiences of the Israelites are seen Ilirough tile very similar life of the southern Negro. The embellished sermons of the Negro preacher become an instrument for interpreting vital truth—the progressive unfolding or man's knowledge of God, the essential truth of the love of God, and the principle of Jesus' sacrifice.
By means of the novel Negroes have also interpreted American life. Some of these, like "Not Without Laughter, ""Native Son, " and "Home to Harlem" naturally deal with the lights and shadows of Negro We. while painters and sculptors are not so well known, one of the latter, Meta Vaux Warrick Fuller, was, highly regarded by Auguste Rodin. Booker T. Washington was one of the first in the field of vocational education while many white people looked at schooling for the Negro as a way to get out of work. George Washington Carver was one of the outstanding scientists by reason of his success In putting the sweet potato and the peanut to work industrially. Many inventions have been patented by Negro technicians, and it was a Negro physician who performed the first successful operation on the human heart.
In religion, there are many outstanding Negro churchmen, Few rank as high as 1-loward Thurnian, who is known around the world. His grandmother had been a slave, and his father died when Howard was horn. But he was determined to go to school, and he did, working hard, living one year on a single meal a day, finally achieving his goal. When one hears him, one forgets all of that, because of the message which the man brings, its depth, its grace, and its intensity.
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