The author of this piece of work,” The Black Man Brings His Gift”, is W. E. Burghardt Du Bois. It is actually a time after war and some people have decided to have a pageant whereby they want to come together and reinstate their unity in what they term as ‘Americanization’. The Federation of Women’s Clubs goes ahead and forms a committee whereby all the races are represented except the so referred to as the ‘colored people’ I mean the Negroes. The main idea first knows whose contribution has brought about the prosperity of the American nation at large. Several contributions are hurled and it seems that the greatest efforts were from the Negroes for example, music, inventions, paintings, literature works among others (A.Locke).
This is countered with a lot of hostility from committee members to an extent that they even change a topic while dominated by the colored efforts. It reaches a point where a member (Mrs. Cadwalader Lee) leaves gives it up and sails away when she realizes that the chairman had invited a colored lady to say a word. The discussion on the same is emphasized in the speech given by a colored lady where she highly acknowledges and brings forth the works of the colored people vividly.
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In preparation of the pageant a committee of seven is appointed to spearhead the pageant. It is composed of a secretary, a Methodist preacher, a chairperson, Birde, Mrs. Cadwalader Lee, Bill Graves and an editor of the daily paper. All the races are represented apart from the colored race (Negroes). A concern is raised and they agree unanimously to have a small auxiliary committee to represent the colored. Mrs. Lee promises that she will take care of the situation and the agendas of the meeting are taken at hand. The first area of concern was what brought the prosperity of the American nation and who did it. The committee members came in handy and they gave various opinions like:-Labor-the chairman says that the Negroes were the available source of labor in the nation and therefore they contributed building the nation. This statement is countered with a lot of hostility from members like Birde and Mrs. Lee who did not accommodate anything that was perceived to be a contribution from the negroes and due to this the discussion is foregone.
Music-again folk songs and other music are highly attributed to the Negroes and the committee members cannot stomach this. Even Mrs. Lee who had earlier confessed that she like Burleigh’s songs; however, on realizing through facts that it had something to do with Negroes, she turned pale. Again on realizing that the dominance was by the Negroes, the topic was dropped.
Inventions-various inventions are considered such as shoes, telephone among others and most of it all is attributed to the Negroes. This is not taken well and it really makes as to see the perception of the committee members towards the colored.
At some point the discussion is so hot that Mrs. Lee seems to doubt the race of the chairman. She stands out and questions the chairman as to whether he has any league with the colored of whom the chairman says that he cannot give any prove concerning his race. After realizing that there is no breakthrough in these matters, the chairman reveals that he had a colored lady who is waiting in the next room. She was his guest and due to this the chairman had to seek consent from other members for her to have a word with them. Mrs. Lee cannot stomach this and she sails away, in no time the lady comes in and is given the platform to address them. Some members can only afford to look outside through the window rather than listen to her. However, she confidently takes charge and reveals eloquently the mighty works of the blacks in America. She takes her time to stun their minds (Corbould).
Mrs. Lee was from a noble family. She would be perceived as being a leader. It is expected of her to show leadership qualities. Why is she so negative about the black people? Why is she not ready to accommodate any form of achievement that is attributed to the colored? It beats behind logic that rather than being a convener she is the one who shows much opposition. She even goes to an extent of disregarding artist that she had previously supported simply because she has realized that their originality has something to do with blacks. Why can she afford to leave at a time when she should take the opportunity to listen from a black perspective and present her hostility while she is there? This shows that even though she comes from ruling elite, she is not eligible to becoming a leader.
Why is the Methodist preacher, a person who is supposed to show love to all people engage in such talks where a certain race is being segregated? Why can’t he afford to face the reality and support the achievements of the colored? It is evident that he is quite aware of all this but all he can afford to do is to bring some other arguments for example, not involving dances in the church rather than facing the reality. It is evident that he is not playing his role at this point.
The author has failed to reveal the role of the Methodist preacher from a Christian perspective and also has failed to show his stance on the issue. He should have raised a concern on the issue of having colored Christian representatives, but what did he do? Just sitting back and watching things happening. Mrs. Lee for example has shown her hypocrisy in the sense that she first claimed that she will organize the black committee whereas she is in the forefront to disregard their achievements. It is ironic that the committee themselves through Mrs. Lee can afford to doubt their own chairperson who is a lecture in a known university. It is quite unfortunate that a committee can be formed to bring people together and what they can afford to do is fail to agree on small issues themselves. It beats behind logic how they will unite other citizens.
After all this, it is evident that the church having been represented by Methodist preacher has not succeeded in fostering peace and above all it has failed to play its main role which is to evangelize. Likewise, the ruling elite through Mrs. Lee have failed to show its ability to take the nation towards prosperity. Above all it is evident from the piece that the Negroes played a big role in ensuring the growth of America at the time
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