Saturday, November 2, 2013

Book Review - The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman by Ernest J. Gaines

Miss Jane Pittman could be any black person's ancestor living in the deep south tolerating the ravages of slavery and its after effects. Miss Jane Pittman is not a real person but is a series of vignettes that  represented real events that happened in the lives of many in the South. The book primarily takes place in Louisiana from the time of the Emancipation Proclamation (Jan 1,1863) up to the Civil Rights Movement (1955).

The most poignant quote from this book that resonated with me is, "Ain't we all been hurt by slavery?" Joe Pittman said this to Jane after she explained that she couldn't have children due to one severe beating by her masters. It didn't matter to him, as much as she thought it would, as this was his response. They went on to get married in the tradition of slavery - jumping the broom, and he loved her so well she always kept his name even after he passed on and she "remarried."

The timing may be fortuitous as we've watched Henry Louis Gates' The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross which provides a historical narrative of little known facts surrounding slavery and the Black experience in America. We've all been hurt by slavery, but this country was literally built on the backs of slaves.

The Autobiography of Jane Pittman is considered a classic and I wanted to see why. This book evoked anger and appreciation at the same time. After reading, I would have to agree with this assessment.

I look forward to eventually being in a place where there is no more bigotry or racism.





1 comment:

  1. I love these types of books. My all time favorite is We Are Your Sisters. I may have to post about it soon. :)

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