The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man

The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man

by James Weldon Johnson

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Overview

Remarkable novel relates, through an anonymous narrator, events in the life of an American of mixed ethnicity whose exceptional abilities allow him to move freely in society—from the rural South to the urban North and eventually, Europe. A revolutionary work which not only probes the psychological aspects of 'passing for white' but also examines the American caste and class system.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9783736809642
Publisher: BookRix
Publication date: 05/20/2014
Sold by: Bookwire
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 210
File size: 663 KB

About 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.

Table of Contents

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.
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.

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The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man 4.3 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.
ostrom on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This novel holds up extremely well.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year 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.
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