won't you celebrate with me
what i have shaped into
a kind of life? i had no model.
born in babylon
both nonwhite and woman
what did i see to be except myself?
from Lucille Clifton, "won't you celebrate with me"
In the 1930s and 1940s, the world was responding to the aftermath of the Great Depression, the uneven development of capitalism, and the rise of authoritarian regimes. In Spain, the battle between the Republicans verses the Nationalists ended in the defeat of the former and the rise of the authoritarian, Franco. Mussolini's black shirts kept tabs on the comings and goings of dissidents in Italy while, in Germany, brown shirts cleared streets, businesses, and housing of Jews, gays, blacks, and Jehovah Witnesses.
The grotesque rhetoric of pompous-sounding dictators raving and stirring fear in the masses justified the theft of resources to raise armies and to build prison encampments. The object of fear, the unwanted and despised, met their fate behind prison walls, or within concentration camps where starvation or disease eliminated thousands if not millions in the crematoria or by the forced inhaling of Zyklon B.
World War II begins on September 1939. More chaos and bloodshed.
In the US, more refugees and immigrants from the hellhole that is Europe are arriving and at some point during the jostling for living space and employment, the newest ones settle down and become American .
Becoming an American during the 1930s and 1940s is significant in that the US practice legalized segregation as African Africans were effectively disenfranchised citizensliving marginally but central, nonetheless to the ways the supposedly "original" founders of Anglo-Saxon ethnicity in the New World distinguished themselves from the pale pigmentation of the newly arrived from Europe. Jim Crow spread from New Orleans where the pale pigmentation, that is, blacks and whites co-mingling in a slightly freer atmosphere, disturbed brethren Southerners, still wheeling from the defeat of the Confederacy in 1865.
In 1891, four years after Florence Price is born, in Little Rock, the legislators of her home state of Arkansas vote to remove the statue of George Washington and replace it with that of Jefferson Davis, former President of the Confederacy.
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