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What is the theme of Martin R. Delany's The Condition, Elevation, Emigration and...

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acononye0212 | Honors

Posted September 12, 2013 at 9:39 PM via web

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What is the theme of Martin R. Delany's The Condition, Elevation, Emigration and Destiny of the Colored People of the United States?

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literaturenerd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted September 14, 2013 at 3:20 PM (Answer #1)

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Martin R. Delany's The Condition, Elevation, Emigration and Destiny of the Colored People of the United States was published in 1852. In the text, Delany speaks to the "conditions of slaves and free blacks alike and the self-serving responses of white authorities to their plight" (eNOtes, Delany Biography). 

The text itself opens with Delany speaking to the fact that "classes of people who have been deprived of equal privileges, political, religious and social, cannot be denied." He goes on to state that "this deprivation on the part of the ruling classes is cruel and unjust." 

In regards to America itself (or herself as defined by Delany), this country, regardless of its claims of equality, proves to be unfaithful to "her" claims. "She" is not a place of freedom and equality. Instead, she  is a place of disfranchisement and slavery. 

Therefore, the theme of the text revolves around Delany's desire to forge one's own path. The theme of promise and hope is illustrated by one quote: “Every people should be the originators of their own destiny, the projectors of their own schemes, and the creators of the events that lead to their destiny" (Appendix of text). 

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