|African American verse differs significantly from poetry composed in either Western or Eastern contexts. It stems, not from a longstanding written tradition, but from a spoken tradition which has consistently evolved over time. Originally, oral stories were used to preserve cultural traditions from the African homeland, providing continuity amid trials and tribulations of forced relocation. To resolve subsequent cultural, linguistic, and social barriers brought about by imposed diversity, a common means to communicate through song and dance was developed. Shared musical compositions allowed slaves to establish familiar linguistic structures, gestures, and thematic content that everyone could understand, thereby facilitating communication and cultural consolidation. Such oral media and content, along with the sociological functions with which they were imbued, were then encoded within African American verse. While the adoption of past cultural traditions has made African American poetry distinctive, it is the synergistic impact of this poetry on American society which makes the art form truly exceptional. Not only has it served to develop the African American community, it has invoked significant responses from white hegemonic institutions of discrimination. In an attempt to further ascertain the sociological impact of African American verse, the following paper investigates how characteristics of form and meaning coalesce to evoke emotion, cultivate ethnic solidarity, and prompt social reform.