The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man

James Weldon Johnson’s novel describing a young boy’s discovery that he is black on his path to adulthood is truly moving.

I have just begun reading this 100-page marvel and am already fascinated by the journey that this anonymous narrator will take. In a fascinating and unexpected turn for someone with no prior knowledge of the book, we watch as a boy of eleven makes a sudden discovery that he is black. Despite his beautiful ‘ivory white’ skin and the proud heritage of his father, he is regarded as one of the black boys.

Having made it a little over a decade without questioning his heritage (and not knowing his father), he finally asks ‘am I a nigger?’ Upon his mother’s answer (combining both no you are not a nigger with but you’re not white), he begins a journey where he will grow to understand both himself and the world around him.

This is a very cheap book available online if you fancy reading it – definitely recommended. You can read it online for free, listen to an audiotape online for free or buy a hard copy. I think mine cost about £1.50. You could always follow suit and combine all three like I’m doing! That way I don’t have to stop reading/listening while I make a brew haha!

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