Colored People, By Henry Louis Gates Jr.

2087 words - 8 pages

One of the most influential and enlightening scholars in contemporary academics who focuses primarily on African-American issues, both from the past and the present, is undoubtedly Henry Louis Gates, Jr. Born in 1950 and raised in the small, middle-class, 'colored' community of Piedmont, West Virginia, Gates's acclaimed 1995 autobiography, Colored People, brings readers to a place and time in America when both the racial boundaries and the definition of progress were changing weekly. Colored People, however, is not about race specifically. Rather, it is a story which chronicles how his family existed during a unique time in American history -- a time when attempts at desegregation were just beginning. Starting with a preface that takes the form of a letter written to his daughters, Maggie and Liza, and continuing on throughout the rest of the book, Gates -- in spite of the fact that he graduated summa cum laude from Yale and received a Ph.D. from Cambridge University -- writes his autobiography in a conversational tone that is so accessible that it comes off as though he is telling his story to the reader in person and for the first time, thus making us both understand and empathize with it more. Through his story, he provides details about all the characters that influenced his life -- from Uncle Earke the Turkey, who loved to rant about the female sex, to his grandmother Big Mom, who founded the local Episcopal church, onto to his first true love, the little bookworm Linda, and finally Reverend Monroe, who inspired all who came into contact with him -- but he pays special attention to describing his mother. Based off the writing in Colored People, Gates's mother was one of the bravest, accomplished, and most determined women to have ever lived. In addition to becoming the first colored secretary of the local PTA and becoming famous for her eulogies at funerals, she also, at the end of her life, managed to buy the house she had worked in for so many years as a young girl. His mother's purchase of the house she had previously labored away in is, in many ways, symbolic of the end of the era in which Gates's autobiography depicts. That era is one in which blacks and whites, previously segregated, were all of a sudden being forced, whether they wanted to or not, to integrate with each other. Gates gives us a little taste of what it was like to live during that era, both the good and the bad.
Although the two sides of Gates's family -- those of his father, the Gates, and those of his mother, the Colemans -- both were from that small town of Piedmont and both lived through the era in which Colored People presents, their experiences were incredibly different from each other. However, because they were both African-American families, they both -- though in entirely different ways -- help illustrate the saying, "It's no disgrace to be colored but it is awfully inconvenient." To highlight the fact that it's no disgrace to be colored,...

Find Another Essay On Colored People, by Henry Louis Gates Jr.

Holes by Louis Sachar - People Can do Extraordinary Things When Put to the Test

893 words - 4 pages People Can Do Extraordinary Things When Put To The Test "He thought only about each step when it came, and not the impossible task that lay before him. Higher and higher he climbed. His strength came from deep inside himself and also seemed to come from the outside as well." People can do extraordinary things when put to the test. The author of the book ‘Holes’, Louis Sachar packed this book with many difficult tests for his characters

African American Search For Identity: W.E.B. DuBois

1115 words - 4 pages . E. B. Du Bois: Biography of a Race. In The Souls of Black Folk, eds. Henry Louis Gates Jr. and Terri Hume Oliver.221-226 New York: W.W Norton and Company.Du Bois's personal agenda was simply to be able to smoke a cigar and drink a cup of tea with the white man in the south." (Lewis 223) Lewis's work W. E. B. Du Bois: Biography of a Race, offers incite on how the book was initially received.Allen2An Anonymous review appeared in The Nation on June

Significance of the Harlem Renaissance

1342 words - 6 pages in African American Studies. 1st ed. New York: W.W. Norton and Company Inc., 2011. Print. Gates Jr., Henry Louis, and Nellie Y. McKay. The Norton Anthology of African American Literature. 2nd ed. New York: W.W. Norton and Company , Inc. , 2004. Print. Herod, Henrietta L. “The Big Sea by Langston Hughes.” Phylon 2.1 (1941): 94-96. JSTOR. Web. 8 March 2014. Lewis, David Levering. “The Intellectual Luminaries of the Harlem Renaissance.” The Journal

One Message, Delivered Two Ways

2088 words - 9 pages The types of rhetorical choices an essayist uses can determine both the audience the essay reaches and the essay’s impact. Henry Louis Gates Jr., a contemporary essayist, deploys a variety of rhetorical choices to speak to different audiences and convey multiple messages. Gates’ use of different rhetorical choices manifest in his essays “Prime Time” and “Writing, ’Race,’ and the Difference it Makes” (Abbreviated as “WR&D”). In “Prime Time

Trauma Found in Race

1322 words - 5 pages woman only hastens the degradation of the female slave” (Gates Jr, 453). If a slave was beautiful, she was more likely to be a target to a predator (slave master). Slavery turns everything upside down, from the meaning of family to the value of beauty. Harriot Jacobs shows how the oppression of slavery is highly influenced through race due to the fact that the white people will always be superior to the black people. Mutually, Frantz Fanon

FAILURES AND PROBLEMS WITHIN SLAVE OWNING RELIGION AS PRESENTED BY FREDERICK DOUGLASS AND HARRIET JACOBS

2016 words - 8 pages , "Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass," in Henry Louis Gates, editor, The Classic Slave Narratives p. 397]Diving deeper into the hypocrisy of slave owners the authors showcase the oppression faced by slaves in regards to how they were allowed (or not allowed) to worship and practice religion. Harriet Jacobs dives right into this study by exclaiming that the slave owners prevent slave education because "If those heathen in our Christian land

Do you think Frederick Douglass's My Bondage and My Freedom is authentic? If so, how do you explain the inconsistancies between his three autobiographies?

1308 words - 5 pages . Frederick Douglass became a very important abolitionist and titled, "the representative colored man of the United States." (Gates, pg.1) Frederick Douglass was living his American Dream, which means to him freedom, equality, and happiness. It was best said by Thomas Jefferson, in The Declaration of Independence. "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain

Gates’ and Wilson’s Theories on African Diaspora Musics

1576 words - 6 pages building blocks of the music that Wilson deals with. Another level consists of the resulting music, which is dealt with by both Wilson and Gates. An entirely different level is made up of the actual meaning which is hinted at by the building blocks and almost cryptically transmitted through the music. This last level is Gates’ domain. Olly Wilson and Henry Louis Gates, Jr. are two prominent music scholars who completely reject the “cultural

Slavery and the American Constitution

632 words - 3 pages the biggest slave revolt consisting of an African American army on the move with drums and leaders from the Republic of Congo. “The Founding Fathers built a country committed to slavery. The sight of Washington D.C., was chosen as our Capitol in order to appease Southern slave owners…They had an enormous amount of power” (Henry Louis Gates, Jr.). During these times, however, many slaves ran away from their masters, especially in

The Leader Of Technology

2206 words - 9 pages ways too. Overall Bill Gates led the world in technology and giving, also became one of the most famous people in the world for doing so. Gates early life was very important to becoming the person he is now. An important part of his early life was himself being born. “William Henry Gates III was born October 28, 1955, in Seattle, Washington. He was born to William Henry Gates Jr. and Mary Maxwell Gates. He was the second child of Mary Gates

The Gates Bill

948 words - 4 pages When one thinks of computer software, one must think of Microsoft. In fact if you use a computer, chances are that you will have some type of program on there that is developed by Microsoft. The CEO, chairman, cofounder, and owner of 147 billion shares of Microsoft is Bill Gates.William Henry Gates III was born in the midst of a scenic Seattle on Thursday, October 28, 1995 to his parents Mary and William Henry Gates Jr. His childhood was

Similar Essays

Literary Essay On “In The Kitchen” By Henry Louis Gates, “Am I Blue” By Alice Walker, And “Just Walk On By” By Brent Staples

737 words - 3 pages The meaning of segregation is a disliking matter, all African Americans wanted was equal rights, no harm against them, and to be seen as one. Yet, the African race had to endure on changing their appearance, being compared to animals, and having to alter public space just to try and fit in with the white community. Hearing stories of those such as Henry Louis Gates and Brent Staples shows us how history can repeat slightly from the past

"Other Places And Other Options" Essay Comparing Henry Louis Gates "One Internet, Two Nations" And Matthew Symonds "Government And The Internet: Haves And Have Nots"

943 words - 4 pages a go"(517). Overall, the problem of not having the Internet could be solved if the people that do not have the Internet had a little more motivation or education to use it.After reading the essays written by authors such as Matthew Symonds and Henry Lewis Gates Jr., I have come to the following conclusion. It is their own faults for having this problem. Maybe if these people went out and got better jobs they could afford the Internet and maybe

Henry William Gates By Atis Stafeckis

2268 words - 10 pages William Henry "Bill" Gates (more commonly known as "Bill" Gates) is an American philanthropist, investor, programmer and role model. William Henry Gates used to be the chief executive and chairman one of the world's most successful personal computer software company, Microsoft which he co-founded with Paul Allen(Gawker. (). William Henry Gates). William Henry Gates was also consistently ranked by Forbes magazine as the number one world

Civil Disobedience, By Henry David Thoreau And Letter From Birmingham Jail, By Martin Luther King Jr

1036 words - 4 pages The essays, "Civil Disobedience," by Henry David Thoreau, and "Letter from a Birmingham Jail," by Martin Luther King, Jr., incorporate the authors’ opinions of justice. Each author efficiently shows their main point; Thoreau deals with justice as it relates to government, he asks for,”not at one no government, but at once a better government.”(Paragraph 3). King believed,” injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." (Paragraph 4