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The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man (an African American Heritage Book)

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9781604592184: The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man (an African American Heritage Book)
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James Weldon Johnson's landmark novel is an emotionally gripping and poignant look into race relations. The protagonist, a half-white half-black man of very light complexion, known only as an ex-colored man, makes a choice between his heritage and the art that he loves and the ability to escape the inherent racism that he faces by passing as a white. Because of his knowledge of both cultures he is able to give us startling revaluations into both cultures.

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One of the most prominent African-Americans of his time, James Weldon Johnson (1871-1938) was a successful lawyer, educator, social reformer, songwriter, and critic. But it was as a poet and novelist that he achieved lasting fame.
Among his most famous works, "The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man "in many ways parallels Johnson's own remarkable life. First published in 1912, the novel relates, through an anonymous narrator, events in the life of an American of mixed ethnicity whose exceptional abilities and ambiguous appearance allow him unusual social mobility--from the rural South to the urban North and eventually to Europe.
A radical departure from earlier books by black authors, this pioneering work not only probes the psychological aspects of "passing for white" but also examines the American caste and class system. The human drama is powerful and revealing--from the narrator's persistent battles with personal demons to his firsthand observations of a Southern lynching and the mingling of races in New York's bohemian atmosphere at the turn of the century.
Revolutionary for its time, the" Autobiography" remains both an unrivaled example of black expression and a major contribution to American literature.

About the Author:

James Weldon Johnson (1871-1938) was a prolific writer and legendary civil rights activist who produced several novels, a pioneering work of cultural history, the first major anthology of black poetry, and numerous treatises on race relations. He served as U.S. consul to Venezuela and Nicaragua and as secretary of the NAACP"."

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