By: Aubrey Nelson

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external image images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQmY4sUw9Bj-LLz_n4wy1d5pJfUaIc37IodgdWHqODVTesD1HxJ

Anne Spencer was an African american Poet living in the time of the Harlem Renaissance. She was born onto a plantation in Virgina and lived there for part of her childhood. After a separation of her parents she was sent into foster care in a middle-class white community. She was a very intelligible girl . In fact, she graduated at the top of her class in her African American school. She was well of as a child living in her foster care home and never went without. She started writing poetry when she first met James Weldon Johnson, who was her inspiration and her mentor through it all.

While writing poems and expressing her feelings out towards the world she published many of her works as well. But this process didn't always go very well since it had to go through many censorships and inspections to be published. This usually happened my people of the white race. They misinterpreted her meanings and took things in a way that was very different from what she meant. She wrote countless number of poems that were never published or shown to the public but that didn't stop her from writing what she believed. In the end, Anne Spencer opened a library for African American students at Dunbar High School. Not only was Anne Spencer an inspirational poet for African Americans, but for women as well. She was able to show self-expressionism through her life time career of poetry.

"White Things"

Most things are colorful things--the sky, earth, and sea.
Black men are most men; but the white are free!
White things are rare things; so rare, so rare
They stole from out a silvered world--somewhere.
Finding earth-plains fair plains, save greenly grassed,
They strewed white feathers of cowardice, as they passed;
The golden stars with lances fine
The hills all red and darkened pine,
They blanched with their wand of power;
And turned the blood in a ruby rose
To a poor white poppy-flower.
They pyred a race of black, black men,
And burned them to ashes white; then,
Laughing, a young one claimed a skull,
For the skull of a black is white, not dull,
But a glistening awful thing;
Made, it seems, for this ghoul to swing
In the face of God with all his might,
And swear by the hell that sired him:
"Man-maker, make white!"

When I first read this it amazed me how strong her words and metaphors were in this poem. She focuses mainly on her point of view on equality towards the White race and the African Americans. In the start of the poem it starts off light and happy, but as the poem continues to progress it gets deeper and darker into the subject at hand. The speaker is Anne Spencer voicing her thoughts on racism stating how unfair and cruel African Americans are discriminated against. Her tone is expressed through how she explains her point of view and examples of the cruel things a white man did to one of color.

It gives very in depth examples of the harassment shown to the African American race. "They pryed a race of black, black men And burned then to ashes white;then laughing, a young one claimed a skull..."(12-14). This shows her thoughts and views on what she thought of the white race and how some of them treated her race.There are many metaphor that can be interpreted in many different ways as the poem progresses. In the past quote given it shows how much imagery she used to explain what she felt. Anne Spencer was a very inspirational poet and one who showed her thoughts and feelings through expressing them through her poems.

"On "White Things""

Welcome to English « Department of English, College of LAS, University of Illinois . Web. 15 Apr. 2011. < >.

J. Lee Greene,

Time's Unfading Garden: Anne Spencer's Life and Poetry , 1977.

"PAL: AnneSpencer (1882-1975)."

California State University Stanislaus | Home . Web. 15 Apr. 2011. < >.