Comparing Many Thousands Gone And Stranger In A Native Son

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The story of the black citizen in America is entailed by moments of progress and stagnation that attempt to reform the identity of these individuals. With a history that is often defined by displacement, oppression and suffering, the progression of African Americans is synonymous with discovering reconciliation with an oppressive past. James Baldwin describes black progression, stating “People are trapped in history and history is trapped in them” (167) Being defined by past events is what details the modern struggle within the black community. It has been over one hundred and fifty years since slavery was declared illegal in the United States, indicating that not a living individual was a slave themselves. Despite this, African Americans are still living within an oppressive system that is reinforced by institutional racism and discrimination; the aftermath of a …show more content…

Baldwin describes the black identity as “an experience which cannot be rejected, which yet remains to be embraced” (43). Baldwin’s collection of Essays, Notes of a Native Son, attempts to validate the experiences of African Americans, emphasizing the importance of overcoming racism and neglect that wrongly describes the role of the black identity within the American Narrative. Shown by Baldwin’s two essays, “Many Thousands Gone” and “Stranger in a Village,” the identity of the African American is complicated by the inner conflict to overcome the defining labels that produce social ostracism through oppression and segregation. In Baldwin’s essay “Many Thousands Gone,” he expresses the pre-determined image of African Americans that is established by the American system and its rejection towards the progression of the black identity. The opposition and social ostracism that the black community faces are rooted from an insecurity of a defacto white American system that refuses to admit that it is racially

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