The The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man

The The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man

4.6 10
by James Weldon Johnson
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

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.

Overview

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780486111155
Publisher:
Dover Publications
Publication date:
02/02/2012
Series:
Dover Thrift Editions
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
112
Sales rank:
319,287
File size:
426 KB

Meet the Author

Jacqueline Goldsby is Professor of English and African American Studies at Yale University. She is the author of A Spectacular Secret: Lynching in American Life and Literature, winner of the MLA’s William S. Scarborough Prize, and of the forthcoming Birth of the Cool: African American Literary Culture of the 1940s and 1950s.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
James Weldon Johnson is one of the most important black people who is rarely ever discussed. Although this book was fiction and not autobiographical, it is a very good look into the life of a black man who could pass for white and how he dealt with both realities which ultimately leads him to choose one although in a somewhat conflicted fashion. It a great short read that leaves you desiring to explore more about the protagonist. I highly recommend it to anyone who wants a glimpse into the black experience and the conflicting aspects of our existence in the great american landscape.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Though the concept of this book may not seem overly exciting to some, it really is a great story. The continuous action in the book makes for a quick and painless read. Johnson¿s narrator illustrates the ¿race question¿ in a way that many people have failed to understand. In that sense, the ideas and themes portrayed in this book, though intended for an early 1900¿s audience, still apply to today¿s society (though not in the same way as they did in the past). Anyone with a passion for history, an interest in civil rights, or simply an interest in the African-American culture can appreciate the story, theme, and historical value of The Autobiography of an Ex-Coloured Man.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was well crafted, entertaining, and above all, educational. It taught me a great deal about the civil rights movement, but also provided a new outlook on life in general. I would highly recommend it to anyone--black, white, yellow, pink, or purple. This book is about human nature, therefore everyone can grow a great deal by studying it.
toniFMAMTC 3 months ago
This isn’t the usual historical biography from a black man. He’s able to pass as black or white and has a privileged upbringing. He has a unique perspective of just being a man during the times of segregation.
Anonymous 11 months ago
I don't think I would have liked James very much if we had met. He even admits that he was an arrogant person. He admits that he was such. He accomplished great thinhs only after being humbled a little. I'm not saying he didn't contribute to the world as we know it today. I'm just saying that I understand why people keep their private lives seperate from their business lives!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is one of the best Harlem Renaissance pieces of literature I have ever read. The mixture of narrative and social commentary on the race question gives the book depth and meaning beyond a simple story. The interesting title is backed up by an interesting novel.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man was an excellent read and quite thought provoking. I rarely find books that I'm willing to read twice but I would read this book over and over again. In my opinion Johnson's one of the best classic writer's of his time. He writes with a brillance, which was way ahead of his time. He protrays a message that outlines the answer for the race question for both Black & White. He's a great inspiration to enhance the dream searcher. Most of all he gave me hope.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
GREAT PLOTLINE AND INTREGING TITLE THE FACT THAT U CAN PROVOKE YOUR SOCIAL STATUS IS A THOUGHT PROVOKING CONCEPT A DISOBEDIENCE TO YOUR "RACE" YET BY DOING SO U STAND UP FOR IT AND YOURSELF GIVING YOUR PEOPLE THE FREEDOM OF EQUALITY