Friday, February 1, 2008

BHM: Recommended Reading

Here is a bit of recommended reading to kick off our celebration of Black History Month...The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man by James Weldon Johnson. This is one of the great African American novels, written by one of the great African American authors. It was first released anonymously, however Johnson re-released the book under his real name after his prominence as a writer and political figure became apparent during the Harlem Renaissance.

In short it is a book about a black artist who spends a portion of his life “passing” as a white man. People believed the book to be Johnson’s actual autobiography, which he found gratifying because of the attention it brought to the book, however it is only fiction. I read the book in high-school and it’s definitely a fascinating literary work. It tackles identity and social class issues that blacks still face today. Pick it up if you get a chance...