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Nikki Giovanni: Civil Rights and Personal Stories

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Nikki Giovanni was one of the greatest African American women who wrote about civil rights and personal stories about her life. She was a very hard working women, she did not let stereotypes mislead her actions and got a BA in history and from there her life began to change. She started writing in a newspaper and it made a huge impact in her life. In the poem ‘Mothers’ by Nikki Giovanni she uses imagery to give the audience an idea of what was happening visually, allusion referring to God and Bible stories and lastly her poem is free verse because she does not follow andy poem guidelines she is telling a story in her own way.

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Nikki Giovanni talk about the relationship she had with her mom and she helps the reader visualize the moments she had with her mother by using Imagery. She uses imagery by describing how her mother suffered “ i remember the first time, i consciously saw her, we were living in a three room apartment on burns avenue mommy always sat in the dark”. What this shows is her mother in the living room sitting alone in pain. The reader can visualize the mother sitting in the darkness reminiscing about her past with her husband. 

The same she demonstrates her mother sad and depressed she describes her mother’s beauty “her hair was three-quarters her height…i remember thinking: what a beautiful lady”. This is any reaction a daughter or son would say about her mother because she’s already went through enough by giving birth. We can picture her mother long hair, he mother being young and beautiful.

God is mentioned in the poem in a way of comfort and motivation to her mother. Religion is always a huge part of poems because it makes it fresh and clean. For example, Nikki references her mother in the story of samson and delilah because of her hair “her hair was three-quarters her height which made me a strong believer in the samson myth and very black”. If you read the story of samson he was strong because of his long hair but later lost his strength due to a woman. 

The poem relates to that story by her mother being weak and sad over a man who left her and her daughter. She later gives us words of encouragement such as “we must learn to bear the pleasures as we have borne the pains” Mothers is the story Nikki Giovanni probably went through or someone that she knows wet though it to. She tells the reader that she will teach her son how to be good, this relates to her because she has a son.

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