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p. 684. What is Africa to me?locked

  • Cheryl A. Wall

Abstract

Countee Cullen’s poem Heritage (1925) asks “What is Africa to me?” a phrase that resonated with many black Americans during the Harlem Renaissance. They knew little about Africa but felt that they were related to it. With its representation of Africa as a lost Eden, the poem fulfilled the desire for a spiritual connection. ‘What is Africa to me?’ discusses the painters who drew on Africa’s artistic traditions; the political motivations of Marcus Mosiah Garvey and W. E. B. Du Bois who organized Pan Africanist congresses; and essays and poems by writers such as Jessie Fauset and Langston Hughes who had seen the continent at firsthand.

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