Task 2: Feelings evoked by Obama's election

In Task 2, you are required to discuss how the poem “The Funeral of Martin Luther King, Jr.” expresses some of the feelings evoked by the election of Barack Obama as US President in 2008. First, we will present the poem and then offer you some points for a discussion.

Presentation

“The Funeral of Martin Luther King, Jr.” is a poem written by the female American poet Nikki Giovanni in 1968, as a reaction to what she saw at the funeral of the African-American Civil Rights activist.

The poem is only seven lines long organised in a single stanza in free verse (no end rhyme). It describes what is written on Martin Luther King, Jr.’s tombstone arguing that freedom should not come in death but in life.

The author’s message is that African-Americans should enjoy the freedom of civil rights so that they can construct a new world in which there are no racial killings (like that of Martin Luther King). It suggests that Martin Luther King’s gravestone says he gained freedom by dying, but the author wishes for a world in which black people could have...

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