The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man and Other Writings (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)

The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man and Other Writings (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)

Paperback(Reprint)

$7.95
View All Available Formats & Editions
Choose Expedited Shipping at checkout for guaranteed delivery by Wednesday, October 23

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man and Other Writings (Barnes & Noble Classics Series) 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
dixieoh More than 1 year ago
it was interesting to read about a man whose father was white and mother was black and how he ultimately came to terms with it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I got this book from the library it was so good, I bought it!
HistReader on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
If I may indulge in an aside right-off-the-bat, I read the Barnes & Noble Classics version. Having purchased a good number of these books in the Classics series, so appreciative of the thrifty price, I will likely attain more in the future. Yet what I have come to disregard are the supplemental pieces; I have come to prefer reading the classic literary offering without being colored by the views of a scholar who pens the introduction. If so inclined, I will read their views and history afterwards. With that said (however unrelated to the actual narrative my gripe is), I thoroughly enjoyed the story! James Weldon Johnson¿s style of writing continues in a tradition which has become a pleasure for me not easily passed up. Simple, yet thoughtful and eloquent, Mr. Johnson wrote a fictional autobiography that hints at being too real to be unbelievable. The saying is that truth is stranger than fiction, The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man makes me wonder just how much of it is actually fiction! By virtue of anonymity, Mr. Johnson seemed free to provide commentary on the social dynamics still roiling mere three or four decades after the Civil War. He uniquely rolls social, religious, racial, economic philosophies into a story, fable-like, to voice both sides of any given social ailment; he does so from a seemingly personal, impeachable appointment.Somehow, he pegs human nature with an accuracy that stands the test of time. Pitting characters against one another, his nameless protagonist encounters, Mr. Johnson is provided a vehicle to debate two sides of a problem; he is free to avoid having to explicitly profess his own opinion but circuitously advances his belief without intention. For instance he uses the storyline of European travel to illustrate differences in human nature. The author compares the French to the British to the German. This exercise provides a useful method to remove characterization of Americans which would easily put anyone on the offensive; by exemplifying outsiders, the personalization if cast to the side for an impersonal evaluation. Later in the book he places his main character in a Pullman car to witness a heated debate between a Northern professor and a Texan cotton farmer; having set up the notion of human variances and inflexibility our opinions are the more correct, James Johnson is able to explain both men have some valid points but while they don¿t disagree with the other, they are in no way capable of thinking themselves incorrect. While residing in Europe, Johnson¿s character is subject to a monologue by his benefactor he refers to as his ¿millionaire¿ after voicing his desire to return to the southern United States to lift Blacks from their predicament. It boils down to a watered down admonishment that people will be people; there will be racists, there will be layabouts who are perceived as representatives of a group to which they belong, there will be those called to help but in actuality, what can¿t be done is change human nature. We may be able to help individuals from certain situations, but we will never change deep seated emotions cast by one group upon individuals.The character meets a man on the boat ride back to America. This fellow traveler is crafted in the image of a Frederick Douglass or Booker T. Washington. From slavery, to well educated, to being a proprietor of his own medical practice, this man adds to the previous sentiment. Discussing a white patron asking to be moved farther from this black doctor he retorts: ¿I don¿t object to anyone having prejudices so as long as those prejudices don¿t interfere with my personal liberty. ¿ but when his prejudice attempts to move me one foot, one inch, out of the place where I am comfortably located, then I object.¿ Not quite the militant pose so many have taken over the centuries, but it shows an understanding of humanity and problems for which there are no other solutions. If this was homage to Douglass and Wa
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
This fine edition will become the new standard in Johnson scholarship. Excellent supplementary materials, engaging footnotes, and an outstanding price all work together to bring this important American novel to light.