Thank You Ma'am

The Harlem Renaissance

The Harlem Renaissance was a vibrant cultural movement that blossomed in Harlem, New York City, during the 1920s and 1930s. It was a time of immense creativity and expression, particularly in literature.  Imagine a neighborhood buzzing with artists, writers, and musicians, all coming together to celebrate their African American heritage and identity.

At the heart of the Harlem Renaissance were talented writers who used their words to paint vivid pictures of African American life. They wrote poems, novels, and essays that explored themes of joy, pain, love, and the struggle for equality. Langston Hughes, one of the most famous poets of this era, captured the rhythms of everyday life and the hopes and dreams of his community. His poems, like "The Weary Blues" and "I, Too, Sing America," became anthems of the movement.

Another influential figure was Zora Neale Hurston, a novelist and anthropologist known for her colorful storytelling and celebration of African American folklore. Her most famous novel, "Their Eyes Were Watching God," tells the story of a woman's journey of self-discovery and is a classic of American literature.

These writers, along with many others, used their voices to challenge stereotypes and share the richness of African American culture. Their work not only inspired a generation but also laid the foundation for the Civil Rights Movement that would come later. The Harlem Renaissance was a time when African American literature found its voice and made an indelible mark on American culture.

"Thank You Ma'am" - Langston Hughes

"Thank You, Ma'am" is a short story by Langston Hughes, a famous writer who was part of the Harlem Renaissance. It's a simple yet powerful story about a surprising encounter between a young boy named Roger and a woman named Mrs. Luella Bates Washington Jones.

One night, Roger tries to steal Mrs. Jones' purse but fails and gets caught. Instead of calling the police, Mrs. Jones takes him to her home, feeds him, and even gives him money to buy the blue suede shoes he wanted. Throughout the story, she treats him with kindness and understanding, even though he tried to steal from her.

This unexpected act of generosity leaves a deep impression on Roger. He learns a valuable lesson about trust and second chances. The story shows us that even in difficult situations, compassion and forgiveness can have a transformative effect on people.

"Thank You, Ma'am" is a reminder that everyone makes mistakes, and sometimes all we need is a helping hand and a little bit of faith to turn things around. It's a heartwarming story about the power of human connection and the importance of seeing the good in others.

"Thank You Ma'am" (page 3)

Source: Chino Valley Unified School District 

"She heated some lima beans and ham she had in the icebox, made the cocoa, and set the table. The woman did not ask the boy anything about where he lived, or his folks, or anything else that would embarrass him. Instead, as they ate, she told him about her job in a hotel beauty-shop that stayed open late, what the work was like, and how all kinds of women came in and out, blondes, red-heads, and Spanish. Then she cut him a half of her ten-cent cake."

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