African-American literature is the body of literature produced in the United States by writers of African descent. The genre traces its origins to the works of such late 18th century writers as Phillis Wheatley and Olaudah Equiano, reaching early high points with slave narratives and the Harlem Renaissance, and continuing today with authors such as Toni Morrison, Maya Angelou and Walter Mosley being ranked among the top writers in the United States. Among the themes and issues explored in African American literature are the role of African Americans within the larger American society, African-American culture, racism, slavery, and equality. African American writing has also tended to incorporate within itself oral forms such as spirituals, sermons, gospel music, blues and rap.
As African Americans' place in American society has changed over the centuries, so, too, have the foci of African American literature. Before the American Civil War, African American literature primarily focused on the issue of slavery, as indicated by the subgenre of slave narratives. At the turn of the 20th century, books by authors such as W. E. B. Du Bois and Booker T. Washington debated whether to confront or appease racist attitudes in the United States. During the American Civil Rights movement, authors such as Richard Wright and Gwendolyn Brooks wrote about issues of racial segregation and black nationalism. Today, African American literature has become accepted as an integral part of American literature, with books such as Roots: The Saga of an American Family by Alex Haley, The Color Purple by Alice Walker, and Beloved by Toni Morrison achieving both best-selling and award-winning status.
“Five years ago… I knew nothing about my natural hair. It was that mess that grew out of my head… which was only relieved by using scalp-burning chemicals and hair-singeing heat. It was that unprofessional, bad, embarrassing stuff that, if I were to wear in public, would doom me to everlasting singledom and job failure because, surely, no employer would employ me nor would a suitable life partner love me with ‘Hair like THAT!'
Well, here I am, a lifetime later, full of NAPPtural hair and pride. I wear my hair in the state it was intended to be worn, and I have never felt freer. These feelings of joy and sky-high self-esteem that go along with the wearing of your hair NAPPturally is something born-again naturals feel the need to share.
Books like this one serve a wonderful purpose. They tell us we are not alone - that this soul-freeing experience is one also felt by other black women
Lennie Small and his friend and protector, George Milton, are the main characters in Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck. Lennie is a mentally disabled man who works as a migrant laborer. His massive strength makes it easy for him to find work but that same strength coupled with his mental limitations causes difficulty and heartache for Lennie and George.
Like many people who struggle with mental and emotional limitations, Lennie has simple pleasures. Lennie's biggest joy is the texture of soft things. He loves to pet mice and puppies so that he can feel their soft fur. However, he often kills the things he likes best. His slowness and strength make him incapable of seeing the harm he is causing until it is too late.
Ultimately, while Lennie understands the difference between right and wrong, he struggles with how to put the concepts into practice. In addition, he lacks impulse control. As a result, George acts as Lennie's conscious, brain, and protector in a world that has no patience for the feeble-minded and that fears those who are different.
Lennie accidentally kills Curley's wife, which leads to George killing Lennie in an act of mercy.