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James Baldwin

Uploaded by alif9 on Dec 06, 2003

American Negro In James Baldwin’s essay, “The American Dream and the American Negro,” as he reflects on the experience of black Americans, he states that the so-called “American Dream” does not apply to the “American Negro.” Baldwin says that the American white man does not take notice or appreciate the hard and free labor the American Negro did which helped to build the United States. He uses many examples to show the reader difficult plight of black men and women in America. The South is used as an example. He states that it “could not conceivably be what [it is] if it had not been (and this is still so) for the cheap labor” (Baldwin p380). The statement is bold, but effective in illustrating his point. The examples he uses throughout the essay make the essay convincing.
Baldwin states that his culture, his history, is rendered meaningless in the white society around him. The American Negro, being completely subjugated, has had his own opportunity for a unique sense of reality destroyed.
The American Negro built America, according to Baldwin. The black man picked cotton, built railroads, worked and helped to make America the nation it is today. According to Baldwin, the South would not be a powerful influence in the government if it had not been for the American Negro. Further since the United States is the major world power and the South is a major element in that power structure, the black man's contribution is therefore even more significant. The average white man does not take notice, appreciate, or respect the hard work the black men did for the South. Their hard work was for America, and black men and women have the realization that the country they have put their sweat into has done nothing for them. The country they identify themselves with, live, and work hard for, has no true place for them. While since World War II, a new sense of the true history of Africa has emerged giving some sense of hope to black men and women that they can form some sense of history; still blacks are faced with a white society that does not understand. Baldwin cites that Robert Kennedy stated that in 40 years there could be a black president. Not only does this sound condescending, coming from the scion of an elite, wealthy, aristocratic family, it also has a bitter ring...

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Uploaded by:   alif9

Date:   12/06/2003

Category:   American History

Length:   5 pages (1,175 words)

Views:   1768

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