The Act’s of Racism In The 20th Century
Langston Hughes and Maya Angelou were very well known authors of the early
20th century. Most of their writings were concerned with racism and equality. During
that time period there was much evidence that African Americans had been treated
unfairly, unjustly, and as if they had been beneath the whites. Segregation of schools,
churches, bathrooms, and stores were only a few of the many things wrong with this ere.
Racism was very apparent in the two short stories “Graduation” and “One Friday
Morning”. In one of these, a young girl is put down because of the color of her skin, and
in the other, a whole class and audience were made to feel lower than they should have.
In Langston Hughes short story “One Friday Morning” a young girl by the name
of Nancy Lee was denied an art scholarship because of the color of her skin. When she
first learned that she was going to receive a reward for one of her pictures, she became
very excited as any young girl her age would have been. Her vice principal Miss O’Shay
was also very excited for her. She wanted Nancy to speak at a ceremony in honor of this
Friday morning came, and what was thought to be an adventurous day filled with
lots a happiness, turned out to be the exact opposite for Nancy Lee. Just before she was
about to give her speech in front of the whole school for what she had accomplished, her
vice principal called her into the office to give her some bad news. Miss O’Shay said,
“When the committee learned that you were colored, they changed their plans”(851).
She was treated very differently, and this caused her to have a different outlook
on the atmosphere in which she was living. The scholarship being taken away from her,
for this reason was unfortunate because she had worked hard to be recognized in the
contest, and had succeeded in winning it, only to have it taken away form her because she
was not a young white girl. Her friends and her mother were expecting to hear a
wonderful surprise from her in her speech at the assembly. Racism came into play
because this was the reason why she did not receive the scholarship. Embarrassment also
came into play because she had to go through all of that public humiliation. At first her
situation was a positive one and then it became negative because of the ignorance of a
few shallow white supremacists.
In Maya Angelou’s short story “Graduation” racism was also evident in many
ways. The story started off happy, and then it had a very sad ending.. A group of eighth
graders at an all black school were anticipating their graduation. They could hardly wait
for it. The whole town was excited. This was a very big...