Martha Collins, the author of Blue Front lived in Cairo, Illinois. Blue Front is the fifth volume of poems that she has written. Blue Front relays the eye witnessing of his father when he was five years old and used to sell fruit in the front of Blue Front Restaurant in 1909. One day when he was working, he was attracted towards the crowd where a black man was being lynched. That Black man was accused of raping and strangling of a White woman by a mob of Whites. Later, when the Black man was still alive, he was dragged and shot and then buried. His body parts were cut as souvenirs.
In the same event due to escalation a White man was also then hanged who was also accused of raping. This whole situation portrays the racing factors that were present in America at that. At one place she writes one verse in Blue Front (2006) as, “the victim hanged, though not on a tree, this was not the country, they used a steel arch with electric lights, and later a lamppost, this was a modern event, the trees were not involved” Throughout the poem Martha has made the reader to search for the main idea which she has tried to give in the poems.
The poems are low in syntax settings and many grammatical mistakes, but still if the reader indulges himself he can get the theme quite easily. Martha has written the poems thinking her in the place of his father and has provided all the information keeping his father as an eye witness. She says that moment was terrifying as a young child. Starting to look at the racism is its peak was quite heavy for him to swallow. The verse free narration of the poem varies from page to page for its style and rhythm which sometime make abrupt changes in the mood of the poem.
All the verses clearly state the hatred of the mob that was taking part in the lynching of the Black person. She tries to perceive the mentality of the mob, but she just thinks that those people didn’t want to know anything until the person they are lynching is a Black. She feels for the Blacks of that time when the racism was active in Southern parts of Illinois and in all other parts of the country. White people used to lynch the Blacks for small accusations.
The lynching was made a custom at that time and Whites used to bring their children as well to teach them the ways of lynching and how they should treat Blacks. Martha also states in her poem that how she feels to be a part of this White nation who has a history of being racist and is still continuing to be so. Even her father after that incident was very careful in his dealings with the Blacks and stayed away from them all his life and went to settle at the places where the whole community is White. Martha feels sorry for herself on this treatment of human kind.
She however, don’t lose hope and in the end she gives a message that the life can be made better if we all work collectively. She says that everyone has the right to live freely and no one should object this. She knows that America is still experiencing racism in various parts where the Blacks still don’t have the right to live free. It is our responsibility to make world better place for living. We should abolish this from the face of earth to make it a better place for living. Works Cited Collins, Martha. Blue Front: Poems. New York: Graywolf Press, 2006.
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