Tin Cottage Journal

Tin Cottage Journal

Thursday, December 01, 2016

Autobiography of an ExColored Man

The Autobiography Of An Ex Colored ManThe Autobiography Of An Ex Colored Man by James Weldon Johnson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Just finished this book for the 3rd or 4th time. I reread very few books, no matter how much I like them. Though classified as fiction, the speaker in this narratives lives & breathes. This time, listening to the Libravox recording, read by James K. White, brought him more to life than ever.

The character is SO real, and the historical perspective so revealing. I felt as if I were there with him, from his "Little Lord Fauntleroy " beginnings to his cosmopolitan adulthood, and the down to earth stuff of life that both broke & shaped him.

His comments on the attitudes, weaknesses & strengths of the various demographics of the African American population at that time explained so much. Both black & white Americans need to understand the changes since that time, both encouraging & discouraging if we are to grow in unity and become a mutually supportive society. This should be required reading in high school. However, in mixed race class in some localities, there might be too much friction to get the benefit of it.

I wonder if this would make a good movie or if it would lose too much in that form. It would be interesting to meet his family, friends & enemies, and I'd enjoy the 1920s styles and music but so much of the meat of the novel is introspective. Only a very gifted, sensitive director could hope to achieve good results. Anything less would cheapen it.


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