Breaking Many Barriers

 Arthur Ashe, a professional tennis player and activist, widely broke many racial barriers through his talents not only as a tennis player, but also as an all-around leader.  Arthur Ashe was and still is to this day, the only African- American tennis player to win the singles title at major open; Wimbledon, the U.S. Open, and the Australian Open.  In addition to this very highly achieved accomplishment, Arthur Ashe is also the first African American man to become the world number one ranked tennis player on tour.  From a very early age in Arthur Ashe’s life, Ashe was always different from the rest of crowd.  Ashe only picked up his first tennis racket at the age of seven.  Upon graduating number one in his high school class, Arthur Ashe attended University of California, Los Angeles, which had one of the best tennis teams in the country.   After graduating from UCLA, Arthur Ashe became a professional tennis player.  Ashe’s fundamentals and leadership allowed him to become very successful.  Specifically, Ashe played with many tour professionals as a doubles team.  This portrays Ashe’s leaderships and kind nature on the tennis court, which also allowed him to become a well respected campaigner.  Ashe was, as mentioned above, the only African-American tennis player to be successful at the time.  As a result, Ashe had to take leaps forward that one activist could barely manage to do, all by himself.  Arthur Ashe, one of the most prominent tennis players of all time, overcame many racial barriers in order to make progress as a young African-American tennis player.   In addition to being on the tennis team, Ashe had a passion for business, eventually graduating UCLA with a degree in business administration.  All these characteristics that Ashe carried ultimately pushed him to be a better player and activist as well.   By studying business administration, Ashe learned the paths to become a successful leader on the tennis court.  Ashe’s hard work and leadership that he portrayed on the tennis court, helped his ambitions to became a major activist and reformer.

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Home Run in Harlem

         After the first World War in 1919, two major events happened in American history that would set the tone for the future forever. First, the Harlem Renaissance years surfaced, and second, the first ever colored man to play major league baseball, Jackie Robinson, was born. Screen Shot 2017-06-03 at 5.46.32 PMThe Harlem Renaissance was a period of cultural, artistic, and athletic enhancement that started in Harlem, but soon spread throughout the whole country. In this period of rebirth, Jackie Robinson was growing up learning that anything could be possible with the right mind set. With this, he trained for the sport he came to love, baseball. Jackie developed a natural skill for baseball and continued pursuing it as a career. He followed his dream of becoming an all-star player for the Major League Baseball committee; however, there was one problem standing in the way, his skin color. Never before had a person of color play in a Major League team, but that didn’t stop Jackie from fighting. Throughout history the sport of baseball had been segregated, separating all whites and blacks. From the water fountains to the sitting area, no man of different race was allowed to touch the same thing. This moment of history all changed on April 15, 1947 when Jackie Robinson stepped out onto Ebbets Field in Brooklyn, NY to play first base for the Dodgers. With much criticism from the crowd, opposing team, and same team, Jackie Robinson was determined to prove that he was more than just the color of his skin. “I’m not concerned with your liking or disliking me… All I ask is that you respect me as a human being” –Jackie Robinson. Jackie R. believed that the future ahead of him would have no need for segregation or racism, that the community would come together as a whole and thrive. These are the ideologies that the Harlem Renaissance presented to the country proving that the color of someone’s skin has nothing to do with their natural born talents or intelligence. “I am particularly conscious of my connection to the poets of the Harlem Renaissance because I, too, am a Black poet, born into, and shaped by, the very community in which those poets of the past produced so much of the work we associate with the Harlem Renaissance. We speak from the same place, both literally and metaphorically” –Nikki Grimes, an African American Author for children and Poet. The Harlem Renaissance had such a large and positive impact on the African American community and created hopes and dreams to aspire for artists to be judged by their art, not the color of their skin. With the cultural, artistic, and athletic changes, assisted by Jackie Robinson’s bravery and commitment to achieve greatness, the African American culture has thrived in this country developing and creating iconic moments in history that will be remembered for centuries such as the motivating story of Jackie Robinson never giving up on his dream.

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A Pioneer of Prosperity

Ellington, seen here in his traditional conductor’s outfit, was a leading force in the Harlem Renaissance

          Duke Ellington’s impact on the Harlem Renaissance is of the utmost importance not only to his time period, but music as a whole.  Introducing zesty jazz grooves that accompanied the booming sound of a full live band, Ellington incorporated different genres of music to create a smooth, flowing sound.  Ellington hired only the best jazz musicians to perform his pieces, holding everyone, including himself, to a high standard.  Ellington was a mogul among struggling African-Americans, proving to them that anyone could succeed as long as they worked hard and stood your ground.  Ellington also used modernism to express his innermost emotions in his music.  Perhaps his most famous song is “Take the A Train,” which intently incorporates the use of a modernistic sound.  Ellington wanted to capture the flare of the Harlem renaissance in this song.  He fused together jazz and even Beethoven-like orchestra pieces to create what some have called “the perfect jazz song.   Although Ellington intentionally presented puzzling features in his music to the listener, but the real mystery was his music.  Ellington was at one point considered “avant-garde” because of his use of a combination of an orchestra and a jazz band.  This revolutionary sound baffled listeners at the time.  They were used to the licks of mainstream jazz musicians, such as Benny Goodman.  Ellington revolutionized the jazz genre, and proved to people everywhere that he was a force to be reckoned with.

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T.S Eliot

tseliot-1600x720T.S Eliot was a great poet who invented the new style of poem that ideas are expressed through beautiful imaginations. Such large amount of allusion and extended metaphor were never used before him; therefore, he was largely criticized in his early period of writing. Many people commented on him as that his poem were meaningless, which in that no consistent flow of ideas expressed. He insisted on that style and eventually developed the mature technique to use allusions and extended metaphors and express profound ideas at the same time. However, when other people used the same style as his. He turned out to criticise that particular person for the same reason that he was criticised for. It seems unbelievable because he is such a supporter who invented for such new style of poem. His action of criticising other poets who use his style seem to be hard to imagine.In the Selected Essays, he believes that Dorne’s poem is a bunch of unconnected thoughts, which only contains emotions and impressions without any consistent thought. This is exactly Eliot himself was criticised for, which created the biggest question that why he question his own style.

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Troy and Jackie Robinson- Similar Talents at Different Times


Troy and Jackie Robinson- Similar Talents at Different Times

Many times during the play Troy mentions that he is more talented than Jackie Robinson, but he was born at the wrong time. Troy insists that if he was born during the time of Jackie Robinson, he could have played professionally. Sadly, since Troy was born before integration of baseball was established, all he knew was the Negro Leagues. Troy feels a sense of alienation from this as he constantly swears to his family that if he were born later he could have been a more successful athlete than Robinson. His family does not seem to entirely believe this notion, but they continue to listen to Troy’s opinions.

Professional African American baseball players in the late 1800s were forced to play on all- black teams. There were various baseball managers and owners of Major League teams that wanted to have African Americans play for their teams. To get around segregation rules, some teams listed black players that they wanted to have on their team as Hispanic or Native American (Americas Library). Regardless of the efforts to include African American players on white Major League teams, baseball continued to be segregated into the 1940s. In 1945, Jackie Robinson joined the Kansas City Monarchs in the Negro American League. Baseball policies that separated black and white athletes changed after Jackie Robinson signed a contract to play for the Brooklyn Dodgers. That said, Jackie did not have an easy time playing in the white league, and he was often threatened, cleated, and harassed by both players and fans. Branch Rickey, the Brooklyn Dodgers General Manager, called it baseball’s “great experiment” as he was aware that the African American who would be chosen to play on a major league team with white people would have to be a strong individual who is able to avoid confrontation even when insulted with vicious comments from teammates and fans. Then, on October 23, 1945 Jackie Robinson officially signed his contract with the Brooklyn Dodgers. There were various reactions to Robinson’s addition to the Dodgers ranging from enthusiasm to hostile death threats by baseball fans and players. Through all of this, Jackie had incredible baseball ability that led him to win the Rookie of the Year award in 1947. He had a .342 batting average and 37 stolen bases leading to Robinson winning the National League’s Most Valuable Player in 1949. Later on in his career, in 1962, Robinson was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame (Americas library). African American sportswriters, who had preached integration in baseball for many years, focused on Robinson and other African American athletes. Robinson’s success on the Brooklyn Dodgers inspired the integration of other professional sports such as football, basketball, and tennis. The Negro Leagues experienced a great decline in participation after they began to lose players, spectators, and reporters as players started to play for integrated Major League teams (history). Jackie Robinson was not only a successful baseball player, but he was also successful in breaking the color barrier in sports.

If Troy had been born at the time of Jackie Robinson, could he have also broken the color barrier, or was it the courage and talent of Jackie Robinson that helped integration? According to Troy, all that was needed was one determined and talented athlete to integrate black players into white Major League teams, and Jackie Robinson just happened to be born at just the right time.

Video About Jackie Robinsons First 10 Days in the Major Leagues:

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Effects of WWII in Wallace Steven’s Poetry

While not actually fighting in World War II, 60-year-old Wallace Stevens was able to convey the emotions of the civilians in the United States and other countries. Stevens’ poems about the war show the paranoia and universal feeling of pain in American culture during wartimMarching-Troops-Soldiers-France-1944-World-War-Ii-60541.jpge. After the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, American citizens became increasing aware of the possibility that the United States could become a war zone. In Stevens’ poem, “Dutch Graves in Bucks County,” this idea that the civilians, not only the soldiers, could be exposed to enemy interaction is addressed. This possible reality is shown as Stevens describes, “Angry men and furious machines swarm from the little blue of the horizon” (1-2).  In these lines, Stevens is able to show the reader that these war machines are capable of completely invading the civilians’ helpless homeland. Stevens shows the fear that these citizens are experiencing during this tense time period of the war. Later in “Dutch Graves in Bucks County,” Stevens writes, “The violent marchers of the present, rumbling along the autumnal horizon, in arcs of a chaos composed in more than order, march toward a generation’s centre” (64-69). Again, Stevens is describing the effects that the spread of the war Wallace_Stevenswill have on the entire civilian population and the omnipresent feeling of fear. Stevens’ imagery of the soldiers rumbling along the horizon gives the reader an eerie sense of the future and using the phrase “generation’s centre” shows the propinquity of the war on the reader. Through this poem and others such as “Esthétique du Mal,” Stevens is able to highlight a prevalent feeling in society and truly display these emotions.

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A Short Trip Across the Pond for Robert Frost

From 1912-1915, Robert Frost picked up his family and life in New England and moved to England in order to learn about and perfect his poetry. It was a sort of mental escape for him where he could get a change in scenery and refresh his mind for future works. Frost believed that he had mentally fallen into a rut with his writing while staying in New England. The decision to move to Engla00935060.JPGnd was a sort of last chance for him to change his perspective on writing and rejuvenate his ideas for literature. As he spent more and more time in England with his family, Frost made friends with many other authors and poets. One of these such friends was Ezra Pound. More of a mentor than a friend, Ezra Pound gave Frost many tips and instructions on how he could improve his work and stay motivated as a writer. After a while however, the two authors’ relationships fell apart and Robert Frost desired to return to New England. Also, Frost and his family were forced to return to the United States as World War I had just broke out. Nevertheless, Robert Frost gained much from his short time spent in England and as a mentee to Ezra Pound. In 1915, Robert Frost and his family returned to Ns6eigtJYew Hampshire to restart their lives again. As it is seen here with Robert Frost, sometimes all an author needs are a break from their lives and a change of scenery in order to produce great work again.

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Ezra Pound’s Stay at a Psych Ward

Pound was first captured by American forces in Italy in 1945 for anti-American and pro-fascist speeches over Rome Radio. He was held there for six months, before being sent back to the United States to be put on trial. Pound was deemed incompetent to stand trial on the grounds of mental insanity, and he was sent to St. Elizabeths Hospital where he would remain for the next twelve years. Pound’s mental state is the subject of much debate, with many literary historians believing that he was healthy while others believed that his fascist ideology and anti-Semitism was a result of his insanity. One perspective argues that Pound was aided by a sympathetic superintendent who admired him. Alternatively, some argue that Pound truly was mentally incapacitated and needed help. Another viewpoint debates that the government declared Pound insane to stop him from spreading his beliefs. Interestingly, Pound continued to produce work successfully while being held in the hospital before he was allowed to leave with the help of fellow poets. Robert Frost and Ernest Hemingway both supported Pound and advocated for his release from the hospital, which he would attain in 1958. After his release, Pound immediately returned to Italy where he would continue to write until his death in 1972. The cause of Ezra Pound’s institutionalization is still a debated topic with a variety of viewpoints presenting valid arguments.


St. Elizabeths Hospital

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Langston Hughes

Despite the common knowledge that Langston Hughes was an African American poet who wrote about the American Dream, many people do not know background of his life. His mother and father separated after he was born, which caused his mother to travel a great deal to find better job opportunities. Therefore, Hughes spent much of his early life with his grandmother up until her death, causing him to live with his mother. The death of his grandmother really affected his life because he had never truly felt loved by his parents. As he attended high school, his transferred the loss of his grandmother into a love for poetry, where he was inspired by Carl Sandburg and Walt Whitman. Overall, his life growing up without his parents playing a large role impacted his writing career and eventually took him to Columbia University, which was the beginning of his career writing about the American Dream and the Harlem Renaissance. Although he dropped out of Columbia University, he did not give up his dream of writing poetry and continued his work while in Paris and other parts of the world. His first published novel, Not Without Laughter, is most likely a depiction of his life growing up and focuses on an African American who deals with parents who do not have the same beliefs. From then on, Hughes continued to thrive as a poet, writing many different types of poetry which ranged from novels to groups of poems to just short poems by themselves. Even though many Americans only know Langston Hughes as a man who wrote about dreams for the future, there were many aspects of Hughes’ life that led up to his career writing about topics like discrimination and equality, which are usually not discussed by the average American.2015-02-02-LangstonHughes

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Best Practices for Effective Blog


Silvia R. Tolisano, Connected Learner, @langwitches

Does this image help you revise all the parts and nuances of a successful blog post? Importantly, did you need to revise your prose at all to incorporate well your media? This list will also help you will smaller details, such as a reminder about category. Be sure to select at minimum the “English III Honors” and “American Poetry” categories. You can select others that you see fit. Be sure to deselect “Uncategorized” category. You have to do this manually. Click on the source link to learn more from the “Langwitches” website, a most helpful source for our #flatclassroom. Then, once you have created an excellent post, be mindful to go back to the email list to see whose blog you will make a PQP comment. Also go back and review your tweet to see if you need to revise it given that your post may have been altered by recent updates.



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