Native Son connections to other studies
Almost any event written about in J.L. Chestnut’s Black in Selma, one of our Social Science assigned reading, can be used in reference to Baldwin. Both are personal and profound pieces about African American’s struggle in American history. These books share the same emotions of anger, fight, powerlessness, and (in)justice. Both pieces use the personal tribulations of a black man in America to relay larger issues of racism and the fight for justice for black Americans. The Harlem Race Riots, which Baldwin writes of, is similar to the many struggles that Chestnut refers to in his profession as a civil rights lawyer. Baldwin’s essay, “Native Son,” is also relatable to past Rhetoric readings. Take the theme of not belonging that is present in Joan Didion’s “On Going Home,” Richard Rodrigez’s “ Achievement of Desire,” and even Fan Shen’s essay. Or the feeling of oppression (for women) in Virginia Wolf’s essay “A Room of One’s Own” and Alice Walker’s essay “My Mothers Garden.” In 1943, African American's in Harlem also felt oppressed and ostracized from their country. The feeling of anger at their situation and mal treatment was demonstrated through these riots leaving six killed, over one hundred people in jail and millions of dollars in damaged property. When researching the Harlem race riots I found a painting by William H. Johnson named Moon Over Harlem, which related greatly to Walker’s essay in that it uses art as a method to discover people of that moment in history. The emotions that began the Harlem riot of anger and resentment are also connected within many of the poetry we have read in Humanities. Although most of this anguish is the result of love and not racism, the feelings are still interconnected. Johnson’s painting is also similar to the Humanities method of using imagery (painting, sculptures…) to better understand a reading or topic of study.