Coatesville Essay

490 Words2 Pages
DIANA NYAKUNDI FRESHMAN COMPOSITION 12/01/10 COATESVILLE In his essay Coatesville, John Jay Chapman makes a speech about the American people of whom are bound by cruelty, during the age of slavery. Chapman is bitterly distressed and expresses his horror and rage at the burning of a black man in Coatesville, Pennsylvania, while hundreds of white onlookers did nothing. He compares the people who stood by in cold dislike to ghosts about Acheron waiting for someone to determine their destiny for them. In the conclusion of his essay Chapman offers a solution and is convinced that the only way for America to be saved is to love God and have concern for human nature. Chapman interpreted the burning death of Zachariah Walker in a context larger than the present and broader than its local setting in Coatesville. In his speech he was trying to establish that all of America was to blame in the tragedy. He states that "It is the wickedness of all America and of three hundred years - the wickedness of the slave trade," he exclaimed. "All of us are tinctured by it. No special place, no special persons are to blame. A nation cannot practice a course of inhuman crime for three hundred years and then suddenly throw off the effects of it "(73). Chapman felt that the integrity of the American people was severely eroded when he states that “I understand that an attempt to prosecute the chief criminals has been made, and has entirely failed; because the whole community, and in a sense our whole people, are really involved in the guilt. The failure of the prosecution in this case, in all such cases, is only a proof of the magnitude of the guilt, and of the awful fact that everyone shares in it” (71). Chapman was trying to show that there was more to the story that just the lynching. He was implying that evil that had eroded the hearts of the American people causing them to be
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