Juneteenth Essay

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Martinelli is a Seattle-based freelance writer and editor. In this essay, Martinelli examines the effects of race—as personified by the opposing characteristics of Bliss Hickman and his adult self, Senator Adam Sunraider—on religion and America during the decades prior to the Civil Rights movement.

In Juneteenth, Ralph Ellison tells the story of a young, white orphan, Bliss, who is taken in and adopted by a black musician, Alonzo Hickman. Although completely white in appearance and blood, Bliss developed an incredible understanding of black culture and religion. In fact, he had such a keen knowledge of scripture that it becomes apparent to Hickman that Bliss had a prodigious ability for preaching the Word. Hickman became righteously devoted to cultivating Bliss's abilities because he saw in Bliss the qualities of a savior, not only for individuals but also for America. Unfortunately, Hickman's focus on Bliss's religious development blinded...

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This section contains 1,747 words
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Buy the Juneteenth Study Guide
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Juneteenth from Novels for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.