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The Little Black Boy Summary & Analysis
by William Blake

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"The Little Black Boy" is a poem by British poet William Blake, included in his 1789 publication Songs of Innocence. The poem argues for racial equality, insisting that earthly identity is temporary and that all are worthy of God's divine love. This is told through the voice of a "little black boy," who in turn is recounting the lessons taught to him by his mother in "the southern wild" (that is, in Africa). Blake is generally known as a radical, forward-thinking artist—to the extent that he was largely ignored in his own lifetime—and the poem aims for an empowering message. That said, it also reinforces many negative and outright racist stereotypes about Black people that were prevalent in the 18th century and, indeed, remain so today.

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