It is worth mentioning Sherley Ann Williams’ Tell Martha Not to Moan, short story which reveals the vision of the author on the position of African Americans in the past. In fact, the author did not convey her personal experience but she invents the story and events that occur to the main character of her short story. In such a way, similarly to Alice Walker, Sherley Ann William creates characters and plot, which have nothing in common with her personal experience. The authors after 1975 did not experience so oppressive discrimination and oppression as the authors before 1975. In this respect, it is important to place emphasis on the fact that the difference in the personal experience of the authors defined, to a significant extent, the difference in their artistic works. Literary works created by African American writers belonging to different generations reveal the wide gap between the generation that carried out the Civil Rights Movement and writers belonging to the post Civil Rights Movement generations. In fact, the difference is quite significant because it reveals different views between different generations. The younger generation of writers did not have the experience of the older generation. Even though they suffered from discrimination but they still did not have such extensive experience and they did not experience the severe discrimination and oppression of African Americans, such as lynching and other manifestations of racial discriminations. In fact, gains of African Americans in the course of the Civil Rights movement prevented the younger generations from numerous problems the older generation of African Americans experienced. Naturally, the difference in experience of African American artists influenced their works consistently. Writers mentioned above created absolutely different characters and plots, which differ consistently. In this regard, characters and plots created by authors, who participated in the Civil Rights movement are closer to the real life, whereas characters and plots created by later artists, such as Alice Walker are invented and fictions. In such a way, they create different views and present different characters and plots.
At this point, it is worth mentioning the fact that the writers participating in the Civil Rights movement before 1975 focus on detailed depiction of the events they experienced. They attempt to convey historical facts, which they witnessed as accurately as possible. In stark contrast, writers living and working after 1975 present characters and plots in retrospection that leads to quite different presentation of events that occurred in the past. What is meant here is the fact that writers working in the post-1975 period interpreted events that occurred in the past. They do not convey actual facts close to the real life. Instead, they just present their interpretation of those events and facts. In such a way, their works differ consistently from writers of the pre-1975 period. In such a way, the older writers convey more accurate information relying heavily on their personal experience. They focused on the accuracy and realism of their stories and literary works. In stark contrast, the younger writers focus on the interpretation of the past events and adaptation of their vision of the past events.
Thus, taking into account all above mentioned, it is important to place emphasis on the fact that African American artists were quite different depending on the time, when they lived and worked. For instance, writers working in the pre-1975 period were more concerned with accuracy of information conveyed in their works. In contrast, writers in the post-1975 period focused on the interpretation of past events. For instance, it is possible to refer to Alice Walker’s Everyday Use, where the conflict over quilts in Alice Walker’s “Everyday Use”¯ reveals and supports the main theme of the story ”“ the theme of heritage, difference of views on heritage and its symbols and the attitude to the lifestyle of ancestors at large confronted to the modern consumerism. The author rejects modern consumerism and reveals her admiration with the lifestyle of ancestors. In her story, the author attempts to persuade readers to remember and respect to their heritage. In such a way, her vision of the past and life of African Americans in the past does not necessarily mirror the actual, true life of people in the past. In contrast, older writers focused on the accurate presentation of the life of African Americans in the past.
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Blauner, B. Black Lives, White Lives. New York: Routledge, 2005.
Douglass, J. The Martin Luther King Conspiracy: Exposed in Memphis. Probe Magazine, 18, 2000.
King, M.L. “Letter from a Birmingham Jail.”¯ Selected Works. New York: Penguin Classics, 2006.
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Walker, A. Everyday Use. New York: Random House, 1994.