Juneteenth Social Concerns

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In Juneteenth, as in most of Ralph Ellison's fiction, the dominant social concerns involve race: racial attitudes, racial tension, and racial identity. Ellison dedicated the novel "To That Vanished Tribe into Which I Was Born: The American Negroes," represented in this novel by Reverend A. Z.

Hickman and the forty-three other elderly black men and women who accompany him on his mission to "save" the man who has become their most outspoken political enemy. Hickman is introduced to Senator Adam Sunraider's secretary as "God's Trombone" and to the reader as "a huge, distinguished-looking old fellow who on the day of the chaotic event was to prove himself, his age notwithstanding, an extraordinarily powerful man."

Nevertheless, the respect Hickman's followers and the novel's readers feel for him is not shared by the white Washingtonians the group encounters. The Senator's secretary dismisses their visit as unimportant; the Capitol guards treat...

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This section contains 2,336 words
(approx. 6 pages at 400 words per page)
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.