Best african american essays 2010

But jazz was more than just music; at the height of its influence, jazz was a cultural movement, particularly influencing the young in dress, language, and attitude. It was, in this respect, a prototype for both rock and roll and hip hop because it was so viscerally hated by the bourgeoisie Jazz inspired writers and visual artists but was hated by the bourgeoisie largely because of its association with sex and drugs. Jazz was associated with interracial sex many jazz nightclubs were open to patrons of any race and with illegal drugs, in the early days, marijuana, and during the s, with heroin.

Visual artists and writers were frequently inspired by jazz, many thinking its sense of spontaneity, its dissonance, its anti-bourgeois attitude embodied compelling aspects of modernism. Jazz deeply influenced artists such as Romare Bearden and Jackson Pollock. Many filmmakers, both in the United States and Europe—from the s through the s—used jazz in either nightclub scenes, as source music, or as part of the musical score in films and animated features.

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Jazz was used extensively in film noir and crime movies, and occasionally in psychological dramas. Jazz has always been an urban music, tied to urban nightlife, Prohibition, vice zones, dance halls, inner city neighborhoods, and concert stages. Its history coincides not only with the urbanization of America itself but particularly with the urbanization of African Americans, dating from their movement from the South starting around the beginning of World War I when job opportunities in industry opened up for them.

Jazz broke on the scene at the same time as the arrival of the New Negro Renaissance , also known as the Harlem Renaissance, a period covering from to This period in African American life featured a self-conscious attempt by black leaders Jazz became prominent during a period of broad artistic and political ferment among African Americans. Johnson , and Alain Locke to create a school of black literature because they firmly believed that in order for blacks to achieve greatness as a people, they had to produce great art.

But it must be remembered that this period was not just about art: important black political leaders were spawned during the Renaissance including black nationalist Marcus Garvey and his Universal Negro Improvement Association , A. The African American response to jazz during this era was mixed. The only black writer of the Renaissance who was truly taken with jazz was Langston Hughes , who, during the course of his career, not only wrote many poems about it but also on occasion read his poems against a jazz backdrop, even recording with bassist Charles Mingus , a creative partnership that Mingus found unsatisfying.

Frank Marshall Davis , a poet and journalist from Chicago, also voiced a fondness for jazz in his writing. Jazz figured in two Claude McKay novels: Home to Harlem and Banjo , which is about a roving seaman who is also a musician, a banjo player, an instrument still played by African Americans at the time and frequently featured in small jazz bands. Considering the impact of jazz, it is surprising how little impact the music had on African American letters in the s and s.

Jazz's literary influence comes after World War II. Ellison himself studied both composition and trumpet as a student in his hometown of Oklahoma City and at Tuskegee Institute, where, in fact, he majored in music.

Improving the health of African Americans in the USA: an overdue opportunity for social justice

So, unlike most black writers, Ellison actually knew music technically. Invisible Man as a jazz novel. The scene where the protagonist listens to Armstrong sing this song conveys this symbolically as he eats vanilla ice cream white drenched in sloe gin red while the blues play on his phonograph. The novel certainly suggests that jazz is a part of a larger tapestry of black creativity, founded in black folk life, including black speech and sermonizing, black styles of dress, and black eating habits.

And this thread of black creativity has had largely a liberating effect on American life even as it, ironically, represents a form of discipline on the part of its inventors. Other novels dealing directly with the lives of jazz musicians that appeared a few years after Invisible Man were John A. Also emerging at the same time as Joans was Beat poet Bob Kaufman , whose poetry was often improvised on the spot, frequently not written down, in much the spirit of the jazz musician.

Kenneth A. McClane

Jazz was compatible with African American protest in the s. The s was the era of the Black Arts Movement , when younger black writers, fired by both Black Nationalism and Marxism, wrote passionately for race solidarity and denounced not only racism but virtually everything white. Many of these writers were poets and a good many jazz poems were written in homage to specific jazz artists, especially saxophonist John Coltrane, who was probably the most popular jazz musician among the black intelligentsia at this time, or in imitation of the flow and spontaneity of jazz.

This was probably the last time in American society when a significant portion of young people were still taken by jazz, in part, because it was now an art music with intellectual and spiritual pretensions. Unlike rhythm and blues or s soul music, jazz at this time, seemed a music that took itself seriously, and was not merely a diversion, and jazz was, in good measure, passionately anti-commercial.

Poet, playwright, and essayist, former Beat Amiri Baraka LeRoi Jones was the leader of this school of writing, a long-time jazz aficionado, who began his jazz writing career providing notes for jazz albums. Baraka produced an important study of black music entitled Blues People , which is partly about jazz.

His collection of essays, Black Music , is devoted almost entirely to avant-garde jazz and was instrumental in introducing a young audience to this music. Other African American poets of the s and s who were known for writing jazz poetry but were not directly associated with the Black Arts Movement were Michael S. Harper, Quincy Troupe , and Al Young. Width: pixels Height: pixels. Constrain to simple back and forward steps. Copy code to clipboard. Send email.

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Send the link below via email or IM Copy. Present to your audience Start remote presentation. Do you really want to delete this prezi? However, the history of slavery and the current racial discrimination this group continues to suffer clearly underlie the inexcusably poor health status of African Americans as a whole. In , Margaret Heckler, then Secretary of Health and Human Services HHS , dissatisfied with the way health disparities were being reported to Congress, provided the first comprehensive review of health disparities endured by black and minority groups, compared with whites; the report laid the foundations for action to eliminate these disparities through health education, promotion, and access to health care.

Thirty years after the Heckler Report was released, African Americans still endure unacceptable health disparities and lack the power over policy and actions that could make the changes to eliminate such disparities. Our literature search was focused on past reviews and reports and is not a comprehensive review of recent scientific research on African American health, but a review of topics that the published literature identifies as being the top priorities for improving the health status of blacks in the USA. This review is guided by a modified social ecological model [ 6 , 7 ] that includes the social determinants of health, health disparities, main health needs, and access to health services.

Recommendations are offered to help frame policies and interventions to ameliorate African American health disparities. Our conceptual model allows us to relate social distal determinants, with individual proximal determinants of health Fig. Social determinants of health include the main variables of health inequalities, namely, race, poverty, and gender. These influence health needs morbidity, mortality, and health risks. The social response to health needs is represented by health services policies, access, utilization, and workforce , which in turn influences health needs and risks, by hopefully resolving or improving them.

Given the amplitude of our model, we delimited content to top priorities, as supported by the relevant literature.

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A conceptual model or framework is not intended to represent a universal truth; its purpose and usefulness is to help comprehend and transform reality. Unidirectional, static relationships depicted in a framework do not accurately reflect the historical and social world we live in—including the health of African Americans—since social determinants of health are in turn influenced by the health status of the population; also, health risks influence the social determinants of health and modulate health policies and services.

Health outcomes in turn modify health risks and influence the social response by health services. The relationship between social disparities on health status of disadvantaged population has long been documented, although a direct causal pathway remains elusive [ 8 , 9 ]. In this complex causal network, social determinants of health include cultural mores that influence and are influenced by the health status of populations. The following sections present the main components of African American health, as outlined in our conceptual framework: social determinants of health and health disparities, health needs morbidity and mortality , health risks, and health services.

Special emphasis is made on mental health and criminal and incarceration issues. In this section, we present the main social determinants of health disparities, namely, racism, poverty, education, housing, access to healthy foods, environmental exposures, violence, and criminal justice. In , African Americans numbered approximately New York State has the highest number of blacks 3. It is well documented that race is a factor in health disparities that is not moderated by age, sex, and level of education [ 14 ]. Virtually, every factor considered in this document is impacted by racism.

For African Americans in the USA, racism is a systemic, organized social and cultural phenomenon that, through exclusion, prejudice, and discrimination, is a cause of social and health disparities, manifested as both distal and proximal factors affecting health, for which measurements cannot always be defined [ 14 ]. Socially, racism is correlated with substandard employment, housing, education, income, and access to health services; associated risks include occupational hazards, exposures to toxic substances and allergens in the home, low-quality schooling, lack of availability of healthy foods, easy access to illicit drugs and alcohol, violent neighborhoods, and environmental exposures.

This model proposes that daily stressful life events diminish coping mechanisms as well as genetic makeup—through epigenetic effects—damaging immune, hormonal, physiological, and neuronal systems from cradle to grave [ 17 , 18 ]. Reception and utilization of health information are well-known major factors in disease prevention [ 19 ]. Fewer blacks graduate from high school As of February , unemployment rates were twice as high for blacks 8. Poverty is a prime predictor for lacking basic human essentials including adequate clean water, nutrition, health care, education, clothing, and shelter [ 23 ].


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African Americans are the poorest ethnic group in the USA. Although African American income peaked in , it has been declining ever since. Poverty is highly correlated with poor health outcomes and increased morbidity and mortality.

Best American Essays 2010

Heart disease, diabetes, obesity, elevated blood lead levels, and low birth weight are all more prevalent among poor individuals. Many factors in the physical environment significantly influence the health of all populations including weather, topography, air quality, and vegetation. Many other human-made influences also affect health and contribute to health disparities, but seldom receive adequate attention. Asthma is related to poor housing, and African Americans are disproportionately affected from asthma.

Segregated housing is correlated with a significant increase in cardiovascular disease CVD , and African Americans live in the most segregated conditions [ 25 ]. Location is also a health determinant, and African Americans live in the poorest neighborhoods with the highest rates of homicide. Persons who live in poor neighborhoods are also much less likely to gain the benefits of exercise because of safety concerns.

Transportation is often a problem in poor communities, presenting obstacles to accessing health care services, especially preventive care, until emergencies arise. Access to healthy foods is also a frequent problem in poor African American communities. Black neighborhoods have significantly fewer supermarkets than white ones.

Several studies also document that the food that is available in poor black neighborhoods is less fresh and of lower quality. In contrast, alcohol outlets are much more numerous in black neighborhoods.

It is not surprising that rates of obesity and diabetes are highest in poor black neighborhoods [ 26 ]. Black people are significantly more likely to reside near sources of air pollution and a greater distance from air quality monitoring sites. African Americans are more likely to live in a neighborhood in close proximity to a Superfund 2 toxic waste site. Such location has a broad negative health impact.