The White House, located at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C., is the official residence and workplace of the President of the United States. It is a symbol of the country's government and a popular tourist attraction.
Claude McKay, born Festus Claudius McKay in Jamaica in 1889, was a poet and writer who is known for his contributions to the Harlem Renaissance. He was a prominent figure in the Harlem Renaissance, a cultural movement that took place in the 1920s and 1930s and was centered in the Harlem neighborhood of New York City.
McKay's poetry and prose explored themes of race, identity, and politics, and his work was influential in shaping the discourse of the Harlem Renaissance. He is perhaps best known for his poems "If We Must Die" and "The White House," both of which were written during a time of racial tension in the United States.
"If We Must Die" was written in 1919 in response to the racial violence that was taking place in the United States at the time. The poem, which advocates for resistance and self-defense in the face of injustice, became a rallying cry for the civil rights movement.
"The White House," on the other hand, was written in 1922 and is a satirical critique of the government's treatment of African Americans. In the poem, McKay imagines a conversation between the White House and a black man, in which the White House insists that it is not responsible for the injustices faced by African Americans. The poem is a powerful indictment of the government's failure to address the needs and concerns of black people.
Both "If We Must Die" and "The White House" are important works that demonstrate McKay's commitment to social justice and his desire to use his writing as a tool for change. His contributions to the Harlem Renaissance and to the broader civil rights movement continue to be recognized and celebrated to this day.