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African American Culture through Oral Tradition Essays

    • African American folktales have origins rooted in West African literary and cultural forms of expression. When Africans were taken from their homeland and brought to America as slaves, they also brought with them their individual cultures, languages and customs.
      African American culture derived from slavery and helped contribute significantly to the development of my culture known today as American culture. Included in the holidays are music, a Christian influence, food, and art. My grandmother decorated every holiday, cooked southern dishes, and the music never stopped up to and during that particular holiday. All of my thoughts regarding my childhood are surrounded by growing up with my grandmother during Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years. These memories encourage me to try to make holidays for my family just as memorable. These memories affect my beliefs and behavior.

      However, their white slaveholders suppressed this part of their heritage in them. Thus they had to find other ways of expression, mainly story telling and songs. It is incredible to see how African slaves could ever smile and laugh under the horrible and cruel circumstances, which were imposed on them by the brutal slaveholders.
      Food and music are not the only things black culture excels in. African Americans also know very well how to have fun and be happy. They know how to laugh, at each other as well as themselves. They love to sing in groups and spread the love, in private or even at times in public. It is apparent that this need to laugh and sing comes partly from the time during which the blacks were slaves in America. In those dark times, they probably sought refuge in laughter and music when there was nothing else to distract them from their situations.

      They were able to accomplish this by the use of hidden meaning in their words and the ultimate result was that they outwitted their masters and proved that they were not, after all an inferior race.

      The idea of a slave outwitting his master is seen clearly in many old folktales. Virginia Hamilton, a distinguished writer of fiction for children today, published a book called The People Could Fly, which is a compilation of African American folklore stories.
      African American culture, also known as black culture, is not as one-dimensional as it is made out to be. In fact, if you look at it from the perspective of someone who belongs to this culture, they face a dilemma when it comes to deciding which one is the “real” thing. The stereotypes that have been associated with the culture have bled so deeply into it that African Americans themselves cannot distinguish where it begins and where it ends.

      One of the folktales in her book reflects the idea that most slaves told stories in which the slave owner would be outfoxed by his slave. The following is a brief summary of the story named The Riddle Tale of Freedom.
      The following table evidences how the number of students of different race has changed in 2000 in comparison with 1980.

      "Now here it tis. Long time ago, there was a slave and a slave owner. The got along. They liked to joke back and fourth sometimes. Those two would exchange jokes and riddles. The slave man say, 'Mas, you give me a riddle today and I figured it out.

      Exposing myself to different religions, genders, races, sexual orientations, and ethnicities has helped to build characteristic in me to help make me the person I am today. Multiculturalism have empowered and encouraged me to recognize differences in me and helped me to understand my values. My cultural background summary will highlight the different sources that have contributed to my cultural background. I will also speculate on the extent to which my current identity has been molded by assimilation and acculturation.

      Now, tomorrow, I'll give you one."
      "And if you can't figure it out," said the slave, "you give me my freedom in the mornin, too"

      "All right," the slaveowner says, 'you bring me one in the morning."

      A little further into the story we are told that the slave had an old dog who had died the night before. His name was Love. The slave took a piece of Love's skin and tied around his hand. He then goes to his master and tells him the…
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      • African American Vernacular Traditions: Integrated Into Modern Culture

        1292 Words | 6 Pages

        spirituals still are sung today and people still think of these songs, as hope to live the better lives.

      The early vernacular traditions didn’t only consist of religious, spiritual, and sacred practices, but there were secular forms of acts that existed in their lives.
      This feeling of community is easily noticed in the field of education of African Americans. Very often bright students don not consider their academic abilities high, because comparing not individually, but as a group in whole. That’s why very often there is a stereotype that Blacks are poorer educated than Whites. There are several reasons for that. First of all the root of such difference lies in constant racial segregation of African Americans from the rest of the population, which led to obvious differences in education. Historically, African American students never had the same educational opportunities as White students and, therefore, started out at a different place altogether. African Americans began with a system that banned their participation altogether and that later provided limited access, but only as a matter of law, not as a commonly accepted practice. Although, presently, legal restrictions on access to schooling and higher education have been lifted, the remnants of racism still exist at the very core of the schooling structure [4].

      The early African Americans composed many superb narrative rhymes that really influenced the culture today. They could also be known as poets, and these writers created a foundation for the modern day artists.
      Obviously, nowadays certain progress has been made, and more Black students enter universities, and some of them enter even prestigious ones. However, the differences still continue to exist, and the larger society apparently continues to perceive the black minority group as intellectually inferior [1]. Hopefully it will change as the time passes by. That’s why it is very important for scholars to study this aspect of education, and help African American student adjust to the contemporary educational system.

      The different stories…

      African American Culture in a Modern American Dominant Sociology

      2841 Words | 12 Pages

      folktales provided African Americans the opportunity to inspire and educate one another. Examples of African American folktales include trickster tales of Br'er Rabbit and heroic tales such as that of John Henry.

      Black culture also boasts its own musical style based on rhythm and percussion. Percussive instruments include those which can be shaken, struck, or smacked, such as the drums and the cymbal. Whereas Western music focuses on melody and harmony, African American music leans towards strong beats and rhythmic undercurrents. For example, arts forms such as hip-hop and rap have served as a major medium through which people have been able to express themselves and also get closer to their African American neighbors.

      The Uncle Remus stories by Joel Chandler Harris helped to bring African-American folk tales into mainstream adoption. Harris did not appreciate the complexity of the stories nor their potential for a lasting impact on society.
      To make a conclusion it is necessary to emphasize that there are a lot of specific features concerning African American community, its culture and education. As it has been mentioned above that African Americans prefer to live in communities, where they all are strongly connected with each other by means of culture and religious beliefs. They deny individualism and competition among the members of community, and this behavior of Blacks has a large impact on the educational sphere of their lives.

      The legacy of the African-American oral tradition manifests in diverse…

      Smoke Signals: the Importance of Oral Tradition in Native Culture

      997 Words | 4 Pages

      recipe was passed down that way, through word of mouth. Victor tells his mother about Thomas’s offer to take him to Arizona, and that he has decided to accept.

      Speaking about the high school completion of African Americans it is necessary to note that the high school completion rate for Blacks raised between 1972 and 2000, yet the gap between Blacks and Whites has not narrowed since the early 1980s [5]. Here are some statistical evidences to show the real picture. In 2000, Blacks ages 18 to 24 had a completion rate of 84 percent, lower than the White completion rate of 92 percent, but higher than the Hispanic completion rate of 64 percent. Although a gap in high school completion rates still exists between White and Black young adults, the 2000 completion rate for Blacks ages 18 to 24 years old was statistically significantly higher, at 84 percent, than all completion rates for Blacks ages 18 to 24 before 1982 [5]. This statistical information shows that much more young people completed high schools in 2000 in comparison with 1970s. However not too many changes in the number of African Americans, who completed high school in 1980 and 2000, have been detected.

      Having already lost a husband, she begs him to return. He says he will, asking if she would like him to sign a paper stating his promise in writing. This idea makes her frown. “You know how Indians feel about signing papers,” she says. “Promise me.” Arlene is clearly very in touch with the oral tradition. Her weariness of signing papers…

      Language may include the use of Black dialects, which reflect the combination of various native African languages and languages of other culture.

      Black culture, although rich and unique, needs to make a big comeback so that African Americans can rebuild an identity rooted in exactly what it is, instead of what people expect it to be.

      Gullah, a Creole language derived from West African is the first language of some African Americans along the coast of Georgia. Worldview and religious beliefs of the African American people include the belief that health and happiness are connected to living a life that is pleasing to God.
      African American culture, stereotypes and all, has become a sort of trend instead of an actual identity for its holders. It’s no more theirs; it’s now made up of the assumptions of what other people think it’s about. This fabricated image is then used by fashion brands, music labels, and marketers to make big bucks.

      Many of them have strong ties with the church and may want…

      The slaves’ desire for freedom and liberty became a meaningful part of African American culture. When in religious meetings, they prayed for liberty and freedom which later evolved to small forms of rebellion. The most common types of rebellion were not large scale movements but rather small forms of resistance known as either “silent sabotage” or “day-to-day resistance”. These acts of rebellion consisted of modest deeds like doing a bad job, pretending to be sick, and breaking tools. However, not…

      soon realize being adult doesn?t mean you have to go through life by yourself. Without family and friends, a human being won?t grow, function or complete a simple task. The perfect example was told by the author, Kwame Gyekye ?When people cooperated and work together, they can achieve better results? (Gyekye, 44). I don?t have anything holding me back, meaning slavery or being told negative information about my culture.

      Culture is not a fixed phenomenon, nor is it the same in all places or to all people. It is relative to time, place, and particular people. Learning about other people can help us to understand ourselves and to be better world citizens.

      Peace carried me through life just by obeying the learning?s of religion.…

      it has served as the only link to our African ancestry. African American culture is both part of and distinct from American culture. African Americans have contributed literature, agricultural skills, foods, clothing, dance, and language to American culture. There are distinctive patterns of language use among African Americans that arose as creative responses to the hardships imposed on the African American community. Slave-owners forced African Americans to create a language that allowed them…

      Essay on African American Athlete: Their Role in American Culture

      3741 Words | 15 Pages

      role in American history and culture. Baseball provided an escape from the stress and frustration of WWII, a beacon of light during hard times and later helped influence integration. Athletes became symbols of what being a true American meant and many sports enhanced American culture. One of the most prolific changes sports brought to our society was the beginning of racial equality on the field. It encouraged and aided the fledgling equal rights movement that evolved in the 1960s. African American…

      Literary Evolution of African American Women's Traditions Essay

      1111 Words | 5 Pages

      Mama portrays the traditional, holy, black woman during the period of the civil rights movement. As the eldest character, Mama has been around for a larger portion of history, including slavery, which helps her to understand the plight of the African American population and how much progress has been made. As the matriarch of the family, she is regarded with reverence and the head of household, even though she feels obligated to remain in traditional female roles as homemaker for her family. By the…

      By learning about this one item used in Kongo culture, I have learned an enormous amount about the Kongo culture and the BaKongo, and have come to a new level of awareness about material culture. The goals of this paper have changed throughout the course of my research. At first, I didn’t even know what an nkisi was, let alone did I know where I wanted to go with this paper. After doing my research though, I have decided against a paper completely focused on original ideas. Instead, my goal…

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    More about African American Culture through Oral Tradition Essays

    • African American Vernacular Traditions: Integrated Into Modern Culture

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