The Men Who Built America * TV Show (2012)

The structure was built over a large pit. * These prehistoric Native Americans, who are called Mississippian Indiansby archaeologists, lived in permanent towns which were built on a fairlystandard pattern.

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"The Negro Speaks of Rivers" is perhaps the most profound of these poems ofheritage and strength. Composed when Hughes was a mere 17 years old, and dedicated to W.E. B. DuBois, it is a sonorous evocation of transcendent essences so ancient as to appeartimeless, predating human existence, longer than human memory. The rivers are part ofGod's body, and participate in his immortality. They are the earthly analogues ofeternity: deep, continuous, mysterious. They are named in the order of their associationwith black history. The black man has drunk of their life-giving essences, and therebyborrowed their immortality. He and the rivers have become one. The magical transformationof the Mississippi from mud to gold by the sun's radiance is mirrored in thetransformation of slaves into free men by Lincoln's Proclamation (and, in Hughes's poems,the transformation of shabby cabarets into gorgeous palaces, dancing girls into queens andpriestesses by the spell of black music). As the rivers deepen with time, so does theblack man's soul; as their waters ceaselessly flow, so will the black soul endure. Theblack man has seen the rise and fall of civilizations from the earliest times, seen thebeauty and death-changes of the world over the thousands of years, and will survive eventhis America. The poem's meaning is related to Zora Neale Hurston's judgment of the mythicHigh John de Conquer, whom she held as a symbol of the triumphant spirit of black America:that John was of the "Be" class. here when the ruthless mancomes, and be here when he is gone." In a time and place where black life is heldcheap and the days of black men appear to be numbered, the poem is a majestic reminder ofthe strength and fullness of history, of the source of that life which transcends evenceaseless labor and burning crosses.

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The Congo, called by Lindsay the "Mistrel River," and astir withcannibals and witch-doctors, is reinterpreted as a pastoral, nourishing,maternal setting in Hughes: "I built my hut near the Congo and it lulled meto sleep." "The Negro Speaks of Rivers" was composed in 1920 onthe train to Mexico when Hughes was still in his teens (eighteen to be exact),and published a year later in Crisis. This poem was written as an internaldialogue with his father whose "strange dislike of his own people"baffled and disturbed Hughes, and, of course, implicated his son as object ofthat dislike (Hughes 1940, 54-56; Rampersand 1986, 37-40). In this poem, Hughesjoins affirmative blackness to a universal human quest, by putting into a globalcontext the racial stresses and demands of the United States.

Dreams by Langston Hughes - Academy of American …
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Dreamers Dreaming Dreams - Kunstler

Kunstler “America does not want change, except from the cash register at Wal-Mart.”

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