Born Ralph Waldo Ellison after the famous journalist and poet Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ellison was known for pursuing universal truths through his writing. A literary critic, writer, and scholar, Ellison taught at a variety of colleges and spent two years overseas as a Fellow of the American Academy. In an effort to transcend the starkly defined racial categories of the 1950s, he was sometimes criticized for choosing white society over his African American identity. Identifying as an artist first, Ellison rejected the notion that one should stand for a particular ideology, refuting both Black and white stereotypes in his collection of political, social and critical essays titled Shadow and Act.
Alex Haley’s writing on the struggle of African Americans inspired nationwide interest in genealogy and popularized Black history. Best known for The Autobiography of Malcolm X and the novel Roots, Haley began his writing career freelancing and struggled to make ends meet. Eating canned sardines for weeks at a time, his big break came when Playboy magazine assigned him to interview Miles Davis. Proving to be such a success, the magazine contracted Haley to do a series of interviews with prominent African Americans. Known as “The Playboy Interviews,” Haley would eventually meet Malcolm X and ask permission to write his biography. The Autobiography of Malcolm X would soon become an international bestseller and Haley became a literary success.
This, despite the fact that Moslem North Africans did at one time capture young boys of both the white and black races, castrate them and sell them into slavery.
This is someone in college?
I'm embarrassed for her.
Ya, it's a pretty lame essay, but I have to agree w/ the highlighted red part.
I had one really close black friend growing up; we would talk openly about anything and we went to a lot of parties and hippy concerts together
It was weird to see how people would interact w/ him in primarily white social settings and I could tell that often it was tiring to him.
We'd go to a house party and people there would ask me if he was "cool" when he went to the bathroom; i.e.
The only penises I’d ever seen at that point were as black as David’s. But I noticed his. He was 12 or 13 and more developed. Admiring it got me cast out of our little Eden — but only because that’s how boys are. We didn’t know about sexual myths or racial threats, about the taboos that we would discover are our particular birthright. I didn’t anyway. Not yet. I just saw a penis. And it was beautiful.
Though he spent most of his life living abroad to escape the racial prejudice in the United States, James Baldwin is the quintessential American writer. Best known for his reflections on his experience as an openly gay Black man in white America, his novels, essays and poetry make him a social critic who shared the pain and struggle of Black Americans.
In the summer of 2008, I reached out to Mike again, while I was working on a piece for The Atlantic about Barack Obama’s candidacy. I asked Mike if he remembered what he had said a few years earlier. He did. But the hypothetical President he had in mind, he said, was some “cool white boy.” We laughed: the very premise of a black President was, just a few years earlier, unfathomable. It was normal to presume that someone who looked like him would never ascend to that seat.