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Analysis and comments on The Congo: A Study of the Negro Race by Vachel Lindsay

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Comment 9 of 19, added on March 1st, 2006 at 9:58 AM.

It might be unwitting on the part of Lindsay, but his poem is racially
offensive. It stereotypes 'Congo, King of the Jungle' and 'mumbo jumbo' as
scary and incomprehensible African stuff. That's why www.the-latest.com has
taken the case up with Finland's Ombudsman for Minorities, Mikko
Puumalainen, after a senior Finnish minister Antti Kalliomaki quoted the
poem in parliament and caused offence. Mr Puumalainen wrote to Finance
Minister Kalliomaki and got an assurance from him that he did not intend to
insult Black people and he would not use the same words again.

gladstone wadsworth from United Kingdom
Comment 8 of 19, added on January 29th, 2006 at 10:10 PM.

What a very small world this is, full of coincidences. I was checking out
aerial views of my family's houses and I have a sister who is an English
professor who lives in Springfield. I noticed that they named the streets
after authors at the U of Illinois, so I looked up Vachel Linsdsey, not
remembering what he was famous for and there it was : The Congo! I read
that poem to my sister when she was maybe 4 years old and she learned it
(probably one of her reasons for becoming an English professor). We lived
in the East Village in New York in an apartment four flights up. Who would
have thought she'd end up in Springfield! Guess we come full circle.
Still a memorable piece.

Linda from United States
Comment 7 of 19, added on January 9th, 2006 at 8:48 PM.

Blacks and Africans can't claim this one as their own. Lindsay mightn't
have intended it to be so, but he's captured the human race and human
history in his words. We've all butchered, tortured and enslaved one
another all the way down our long trail of blood.

It's a human thing.


Jack from United States
Comment 6 of 19, added on October 27th, 2005 at 5:12 PM.

What do people think about the social racism of this piece? The
popularization of Europeans spotlighting African People or People of Colour
at this time period? Is there anything to learn? Or is it redeemable in
light of the time period? An incredible poetic piece, but difficult in the
narrative position of authoriship. And Jerry, are you really from the

S.P. from Canada
Comment 5 of 19, added on October 15th, 2005 at 9:08 AM.

My father introduced me to this poem 50+ years ago. He was a lover of jazz
and people of all colors. I can still recite portions from memory.
Perceptions change and remain the same over the years. A recent reading of
The Poisinwood Bible sent me in search of this poem and cultural thought
once more. Lots to ponder and learn. Regina

Regina from United States
Comment 4 of 19, added on September 28th, 2005 at 11:29 PM.

it would probably be a good idea to put parenthesis around the "actions" or
possible italics. that is an excellent poem, but there's nothing to
differentiate the actual poem from the "directions".

Comment 3 of 19, added on August 1st, 2005 at 10:22 AM.

i love vachel, and blacks

jerry from Congo, Democratic Republic of
Comment 2 of 19, added on July 25th, 2005 at 1:05 AM.

I like the poem, but it's not what it seems. You have to really understand
American popular culture of the day and American history from 1865 to 1915
to get a grasp of what Lindsay is saying.

David from United States
Comment 1 of 19, added on July 19th, 2005 at 6:11 AM.

it may not be politically correct, but I read this poem in high school (30+
years ago) - and can recite pieces of it to this day. A veritable tour de
force in my opinion

stephanie from United States

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Information about The Congo: A Study of the Negro Race

Poet: Vachel Lindsay
Poem: The Congo: A Study of the Negro Race
Added: Jun 15 2005
Viewed: 405 times

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