2012 Student Research Conference:
25th Annual Student Research Conference

Beauty and Propaganda: W.E.B Du Bois, Abel Meeropol, James Weldon Johnson, and Paul Laurence Dunbar
Stephanie R. Schaefer
Dr. Bob Mielke, Faculty Mentor

W.E.B Dubois argued for the necessity of both beauty and propaganda in true art. These two concepts are present in Abel Meerpols Strange Fruit, James Johnsons Brothers, and Paul Dunbars The Haunted Oak. All three are lynching poems and, despite their beauty and propaganda, had little effect on the substantial lynching problem of the time. Each has varying intensities of beauty and propaganda. I analyzed the three in terms of different forms of technical craft including metaphors, symbols, voice, and comparisons in order to determine which was the most beautiful, which had the most propaganda, and which was the best overall. I found that although Strange Fruit contains the most beauty and Brothers acts as the best propaganda, The Haunted Oak is the best poem overall because it integrates both beauty and propaganda in such a way that each enhances the appearance of the other without taking precedence over it.

Keywords: Meerpol, Johnson, Dunbar, beauty, propaganda, lynching

African-American Studies
American Studies

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 307-5
Location: VH 1228
Time: 2:00

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