What was going on in America for Black Americans during this time?

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"Mother to Son" is a 1922 poem from American writer Langston Hughes's (1902–1967). It is a monologue spoken from a mother to her son, in which the mother metaphorically presents life as a staircase.

The 1920s were an important period for African Americans in the United States, in which both setbacks and advances occurred.

In 1920, the Negro National Baseball League was founded, and, the same year, Marcus Garvey convened the first meeting of the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League. In Tulsa, a race riot engulfed and destroyed the city's historic African American business district known as Deep Greenwood; more than eighty people died in the tumult.

Most importantly for Black artists, however, the "Roaring Twenties" saw the start of the Harlem Renaissance and the birth of the Jazz Age. During this period, many African American artists, musicians, and writers achieved widespread fame and recognition for their creative accomplishments.

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"Mother to Son" takes place around the mid-1900s. During this time, the civil rights movement was becoming apparent in the lives of Americans. Major events in the civil rights movement occurred during this time, such as the Brown v Board ruling that segregated schooling for black children was inherently unequal. As a result of this ruling, many white families rebelled, and violence against African Americans increased.

In 1955, Rosa Parks refused to give her seat on the bus to a white woman. This was one of the most revolutionary acts of the civil rights movement, and it raised awareness and support for the idea of nonviolent acts of protest.

Despite the strides forward in the civil rights movement around this time period, life in America was still very difficult for black Americans. Segregation was still prominent in every aspect of black Americans' lives, and the revolutionary nature of the civil rights movement sparked violent protests and the targeting of black Americans for violent acts such as lynching. So, while this was a time of hope and progress, it was also a time of violence.