James Weldon Johnson's 'Dairy Of An Ex Colored Man'

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Forrest Tappan Professor Blodgett HIST 271 T/Thr Hour 1:30 14 March 2013 Birth of a Nation Alas By 1863 the Civil War had ended, Abraham Lincoln had given his now famous Emancipation Proclamation and the 14th amendment—which made slavery legal in the United states of America—had been ratified. To many Americans, with the end of the war meant the reunion of the states and peace between brothers. Yet over 50 years later the hate of racism is still strong. In fact for many American blacks are no more excepted as slaves then as “free”. Wild and savage, African American were an issue, and with the government on the side of these savages it was left to the public to solve the problem for…show more content…
As James Weldon Johnson accounts in his chronicle, “Dairy of an Ex Colored Man” Johnson describes acts of hate and violence toward African Americans. Many thought Blacks inferior and urged they could not and will never become civilized; “you freed nigger and you gave him a ballot, but you couldn’t make a citizen out of him.”(75) Johnson lived first hand in a society Griffith wished to enforce and even proliferate. His testimony shows that what Griffith believed was the solution to a “black problem” was already in practice. But more than that, Johnson knew that this was not an issue of Black vs. White in the protection of a righteous civilization. He argued that “modern civilization hit ignorance of the masses through the means of popular education. What has it done but turn ignorance into anarchy, socialism, strikes, hatred between poor and rich, and universal discontent”(68). Johnson knows that violence cannot be the answer to solve America’s problems, yet he witnesses men lynched and African Americans stripped of their feelings of safety and power. The method of dealing this this thread was dramatized in Griffith’s film, written in Johnson’s book and all too real in

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