Saturday, April 24, 2010

the hero is a man who becomes

As a young man, Obama searched for clues to his own identity by very purposefully reading his way through WEB Du Bois, Langston Hughes, Richard Wright, James Baldwin, Ralph Ellison and Malcolm X. He has also mentioned texts by Frederick Douglass, Marcus Garvey, Martin Delany and a range of novelists – in particular, Toni Morrison. In fact, reading as a way of becoming is a feature of African-American autobiography, as it is of so many outsider-memoirists of any ethnicity: Malcolm X, for one, provides an extended account of his self-education.

Extract from David Remnick's biography of Obama, The Bridge, in today's Guardian

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