Elevation, Emigration, and Destiny of the Colored People of the United States of America
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The major focus of the book The Condition, Elevation, Emigration, and Destiny of the Colored People of the United States of America by Martin Delaney is on the need of liberation of African Americans through emigration from the United States. This argument is supported by a range of facts and claims which examine the issues of African Americans’ sufferings in slavery. It is also based on their history in the States, the reasons for their plight in America, racism and black nationalism. The book shows the author’s view on the hypocrisy of the U.S. legal system, as well as the need for the black people’s elevation. The author justifies his position in a methodical and well-grounded manner. Every chapter is logically constructed and emerges from the previous one. Overall, Delaney’s arguments are based on logic, rationality, and reason. In addition, he uses numerous facts from history, draws parallels with other nations, and makes conclusions which depend on logically constructed proofs. Delaney justifies his position by constantly referring to historical data, making comparisons, developing his own theory of black nationalism and condemning the political order of the United States. He also offers an innovative approach to resolving the problem of racial oppression. For example, in Chapter Two, called “Comparative Condition of the Colored People of the United States”, Delaney speaks about the state hypocrisy. The principles of democracy proclaimed by the American government are applied to the American people but exclude slaves. This is a great injustice, as the author believes. In this respect, African Americans are in a similar position to other “unfortunate classes”, namely in Europe. Similarly, in Chapter Three, the writer justifies the needs for political elevation of African Americans by the criticism of other approaches to liberation of the black Americans. Moral suasion, as well as racial uplift, should be approached to in an active manner, and many principles need to be carried out practically. To illustrate, Delaney writes, “moral theories have long been resorted to by us, as a means of effecting the redemption of our brethren in bonds, and the elevation of the free colored people in this country” . The author sums up, “experience has taught us, that speculations are not enough; that the practical application of principles adduced, the thing carried out, is the only true and proper course to pursue” . Action, in his opinion, equals emigration. Delaney’s thoughts are largely fuelled by his opposition to the American official policies and political principles. In Chapter Two he writes that the oppression of the African American people, legalized on the state level, happened because the statesmen were “far-sighted, reflecting, discerning men” who “took a political view of the subject, and determined for the good of their people to be governed in their policy according to the facts as they presented themselves” . This has been done after they took “a glance at Europe” and “discovered there, however unjustly, that there are and have been numerous classes proscribed and oppresse. So they made physical characteristics the only pretext of the state policy. The situation was exacerbated by the fact that it was easy to wage a war of oppression against African Americans. I disagree with Delaney about his view of emigration as a viable way of solving the problem of racial oppression or racial discrimination. Historically, the attempts of the black Americans to settle in Africa were made. Yet, they all fished unsuccessfully. At the same time, African Americans were no longer tribesmen they had used to be, but were educated by the mode of the Western society. So the journeys were generally unsuccessful. Emigration is not a way out given millions black people in the U.S. today, so the views by Delaney are totally out-dated. Also, I find it illogical, that Delaney places his purely black origin above mulattos. By doing so, he repeats the mistake of white oppressors. He himself acts as an oppressor, but wants his race to get elevated and live happily. The issue of African American emigration to Africa is not seriously considered today. At the same time, the issues of the African American identity, racial discrimination and the need to be politically aware of the oppression have been relevant in the modern society. They need to be addressed urgently.
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