The American dream can just be a simple dream to many Americans particularly for the whites who are employed in some refutable companies. But this is not the case for the African-American. The American dream was simply to own a house and a little plot of land and a clean and descent place to live. Simple as it may sound but the great majority of the African Americans were excluded from that dream. During the period in which Frederick Douglas lived, the condition of the blacks were “dehumanizing” (Hubbard, 2007, p.
86) and Douglas himself experienced this dehumanizing condition as slave in the American South from his birth in 1818 to his escape from the North in 1838 . Up to the early 1900s men such as Riis and Du Bois signify upon the rising social consciousness of whites and blacks in America “as they focused on the dispossessed classes of American (Hubbard, p. 90). From these, it appears that the main theme of American dream during this period was not simply to own a house and a parcel of land but it also include the social conditions between the blacks and whites.
It means of the dehumanizing conditions of the black because of the social discriminations. Both Douglas and Du Bois fought for the abolition of slavery. According to Joseph M. Flora, Lucinda Hardwick Mackethan, and Todd W. Taylor (2002) stated that in his 1845 narrative that “every tone was a testimony against slavery” (p. 19). The main themes of the American dream have to do with integration of the black American into the society with out discrimination for their being colored people, and the recognition of the blacks as fellow human being in terms of social and economic factors.
In fact, this was the very agenda of notable black leaders such as Du Bois, and Douglas. ThePanthers movement in the 1960s was also aimed at drawing public attention as to the social and economic condition of the black community. Charles Earl Jones (1998) noted, “In the heart of Black communities with Black Panthers Party (BPP) affiliates, Panthers implemented numerous survival programs that fed, clothed, and provided medical services to community residents” (p. 1).
However, the Panther was viewed by the authorities as outlawed paramilitary organization. Has the dream become more accessible since the time of those writers? Obviously not during their time! The existence of the Panther in the 1960s up to the eighties was a clear indication that the American dream of the early writers such as Douglas and Du Bois was never attained. As a matter of fact, the resurgence of the Black Panther Party ideology “provides a forum for progressive politics in the Oakland Bay Area” (Jones, p.
2). The rekindling of the interest in the BPP implied the condition of the blacks to remains socially and economically depressed. But it should be noted that condition have improved considerably, since then as more and more blacks are becoming socially visible and actively involve in society’s prominent activities. What has happened since the time of writing to create the current state of the issue for this groups or individuals?
There have been many developments that had taken place since the time of those black intellectuals that created the current state of the issue for this group. Notable was the founding of the BPP which was a radical political party that was supposed to attract public attention to promote awareness about the condition of the black community. However, the party became outlawed and was relegated to radical paramilitary organization. Another important development was the change in social atmosphere for the black community as they can now actively engage in social and political activity.
Black Individuals like Barack Obama, Oprah Winprey and famous sports personalities such Kobi Bryant, Michael Jordan and other black basketball players and those in other sports indicate that blacks finally gaining acceptance and recognition thereby achieving American dream. Reference Flora, M. J. MacKethan L. H. & Taylor, T. (2002) The Companion to Southern Literature USA: LSU Press Hubbard, D. (2007) The Souls of Black Folk USA: University of Missouri Press Jones, C. (1998) The Black Panther Party (reconsidered): Reflections and Scholarship. USA: Black Classic Press.