from the poem THE NEGRO SPEAKS OF RIVERS
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The very word "Negro" makes us think back to a time, in the early 20th century, when"negro" was the term of self-identification in America. This self-identity allowed "Negros" to claim their heritage and celebrate their uniqueness. The slavery years were not a distant memory but still an open wound that needed to heal. THe title of the poem tells us that this poem is about the black experience in some way.