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Title page       –      –      –      –      –      –      –      i

Declaration     –      –      –      –      –      –      –      ii

Certification    –      –      –      –      –      –      –      iii

Dedication      –      –      –      –      –      –      –      iv

Acknowledgements –      –      –      –      –      –      v

Abstract  –      –      –      –      –      –      –      –      vii

Table of Contents   –      –      –      –      –      –      viii



1.1         Background to the study –      –      –      1

1.2         Statement of the problem     –      –      5

1.2         Biodata of the Authors   –      –      –      6

1.3         Purpose of the study      –      –      –      12

1.4         Significance of the study       –      –      –      13

1.5            Scope and Limitation   –       –       –       –       14

1.6         Methodology      –       –       –       –       –       14




2.1  Racism and Oppression in African

Literature –      –      –      –      –      –      –      15




3.1  The Theme of Poverty and Hunger –      –      22

3.2  The Theme of Dehumanization      –      –      24

3.3  The Theme of Social Insecurity     –      –      26

3.4  The Theme of Disharmony     –      –      –      27

3.5  The Theme of Physical and sexual

Assault    –      –      –      –      –      –      –      30

3.6.1 Reaction of the Characters to Racism

Oppression     –      –      –      –      –      –      31

3.6.2 Violence        –      –      –      –      –      –      32

3.6.3 Religious under Tone   –      –      –      –      33





4.1  Racism    –      –      –      –      –      –      –      37

4.3  Social Insecurity     –      –      –      –      –      39

4.2  Effects of Racism    –      –      –      –      –      45



5.1  Summary –      –      –      –      –      –      –      48

5.2    Conclusion –       –       –       –       –       –       –       50

5.3  Recommendations –      –      –      –      –      49

Works Cited    –      –      –      –      –      –      52



It is a known fact that racism and oppression are the major issues in black American literature. As such, this research work attempt to reveal. The themes in Richard Wright’s Black Boy and James Baldwin’s Go Tell it on the Mountain by analyzing the concept of racial segregation of blacks in America.

The study also examine the historical perspective of Black Writing narrative and the effects of racism and oppression, which include poverty, hunger, insecurity, assault etc, and the ways through which the blacks reacted to racism. The study reveals that Baldwin’s Go Tell it on the Mountain and Richard Wright’s Black Boy which are black American novels were written to oppose racism and oppression in all ramification and also to gain self pride and identify.

Specifically, the researcher recommended that “love” which “is a strong feeling of caring about someone” (Longman’s Dictionary of contemporary English, 3rd Edition) should be accepted by people of the world to accept one another despite their historical and cultural differences, love should be the binding force for blacks whites, Asians and other races. If people can love each other, problems like racism, war etc would be solved without resorting to violent means.




1.1  Background to the study

Racism in literary studies is defined by Wikipedia as the belief of genetic factors which constitute race as the primary determinates of human traits and capacities and that racial difference produces an inherent superiority of a particular race.

Racism effects are called racial discrimination. Although the term racism usually denotes race based on prejudice, violence, dislike, discrimination or oppression. Racism is also defined simply as a reflection of the economic system and its cultural ethnic and political ways.


The concept of racism is derived from the word race and it is believed that one racial or ethnic group is inferior to another and the unequal treatment is therefore justified.


According to Charles V. Halmton and Kwane Ture, racism is “a prediction of decision on consideration of race for the purpose of subordinating a racial group and maintaining control over that group”.


On the other hand, oppression is defined by the encyclopedia as torture or degrading treatment and the use of threat or violence. It is also the exercise of power/authority in a burden, cruel or unjust manner. Oppression is also defined by Wikipedia as an act or instance of oppressing, the state of being oppressed and the feeling of being heavily burdened; mentally or physically by troubles adverse condition and anxiety.

It is this experience of black slaves in Black Boy. As a result of this hardship deprivation and degradation, the black began expressing themselves through Negro spiritual which marked the beginning of the artistic expression of the emotion.


James Baldwin on other hand also shows his experience in Go Tell it on the Maintain. Baldwin depicts the insidious effect of systematic racism, producing for us a glimpse of the inhumanity that is the second and third generation result the era of American slavery that took place virtually form the period of colonization through the American cold war.

We learn for example in part two that Gabriel’s and Florence’s mother were slaves freed only by the emancipation proclamation of the cold war as a result of this proximity to slavery the characters of the novel suffer a special set of physical, psychological and social circumstance.

Gabriel and Florence for example have siblings which they never kwon because as property.

The great migration originally held promise of better times and circumstance for each character. But, ultimate resulted in only a different often more oppression. Level and manifestation of the race they were attempting to escape. The consequences of American slave and other investigate of this period that survived the proclamation and the war.


Constitutes the racism that Baldwin depicts in Go Tell It On The Mountain. The project therefore sets out to trace the origin of racism in American and try to expose the horrible experience that the Black slaves went through. The experience that the Blacks recounted by Richard Wright in Black Boy and James Baldwin in Go Tell It On The Mountain will therefore be Analyses to expose the themes of racism and oppression as an aspect of the American society.


1.2         Statement of the problem

The problem created by racism and oppression could be traced to be the major factor behind most Black literature through the ages. In America, this gave rise to a new form of literary expression known as Black American literature or African Americans Literature.

The main concern of this sub-genre of literature is to redeem the face of the black man and his culture from the negative to a more positive direction. This study reappraises the development of Black American literature from the 18th century writers. Like Phyhes Wheatky and Olandah Equiano, to post slavery era writers. Especially, of an author like Paul Lawrence Dunbar. Focusing on Dunbar’s The Sport of the gods. Therefore, the paper express a sad situation where the blacks were made the spectacle (sport) of the whites (gods).


Berry Hamilton (a Black American) is used in this novel to share the life story and experiences of other blacks with the readers especially about their encounters with the slave masters.

Therefore, this study seeks to reveal the bad treatments the blacks Americans receive from the hands of the whites.


1.2  Biodata of the Authors

1.2.1      Richard Wright

Richard Wright, the grandson of slaves was born in Natchez Mississippi on 4th September 1908. His father deserted the father in 1914. When Richard was ten years old, his mother had a paralytic shock. The family was extremely poor. Wright worked in a series of menial jobs in Memphis. He wanted to continue his education by using the local library but Jim Crow laws prevented this.


Indeed, Richard Wright solved this by pretending he was collecting a book for a white man. After passing a civil service exam, Wright finds a job as a post office clerk.

When the Wall Street crash and the and the beginning of depression was over. Wright lost his job for a period. He found employment with the Negro Burial society but that came to an end in 1931.  However, he was forced to go on relief after several jobs the relief office found his work with the federal writer project. This is enable him to publish his story superstition in the Magazine Abbot’s Monthly.

However, over a quarter of a million couples were sold within two weeks, making it the fastest selling large novel in twenty years. Wright next book Twelve Million Black Voices” (1941) was a sociological study of black Migration from the rural south to the urban North.

Thereafter, by 1944 Wright left the American communist party and published an article in the Atlantic monthly titled. The God That Fault, his short novel The Man Who Lived Underground. Appeared  in 1944 Wright powerful  autobiography. Nevertheless, our main concentration in the project, Black Boy is a record of childhood and youth. Which was published in  1945. After then, there was a wave of great hostility towards black writers, so Richard Wright fled to parts.


Wright last novel, The Long Dream was published in 1958. He died of a heart attack in parts on 28th November 1960. Richard Wright was indeed a true vise of the black Americans, every bit of his literary work sought to bring an end to physical and psychological oppression and also abolish racism and oppression.


1.2.2      James Baldwin

James Baldwin was a writer and civil right activitist. He was born on August 2, 1924 and died on December 1, 1987. James Baldwin was an important African American prolific writer of novels, poetry, short stories, plays and essay as well as a right activitist. He was born in Harlem New York, U.S.A. He would be the first child of the nine children his mother. Emma Berdis Jones (1904-1999) would give birth to James Baldwin would never know how his biological father was. James was young when his mother married David Baldwin, a factory work who adopted him.

At the age of fourteen, he became a member of the Pentecostal church in Harlem. Where he began preaching at that time too. Meanwhile, his father opposed his literary aspiration. However, Baldwin would find support from both a teacher and remarkably the major of New York city at that time, Fiorello H. Laguardia (1882-1947).


However, Baldwin’s most known and celebrated work is his partially autobiographical novel. Go Tell it on Mountain (1953) this novel was initially a gospel song by slaves on plantation in the south of the united state. Obviously, Baldwin’s text denounces racism and more. Precisely, the industries done to Americans community in the U.S in 1920’s. Therefore, the book is considered in one of the literary masterpiece of that Era.

Indeed, Baldwin’s writing, in 1952 tell us in a heartbreaking since prose both, his own experience and that  a family caught in a kind of culture shock moving from the rural south to a ghetto in the North


1.3  Purpose of the study  

The purpose of this study is to create an awareness of racism and oppression using the personal experience of the Richard Wright in his autobiography Black boy and James Baldwin in his partial autobiography GO Tell it On the Mountain.

This work is to reveal the themes of racism and oppression in Black American literature. The intention of the researcher is to show that racism and oppression are prominent themes in Richard Wright’s Black Boy and James Baldwin’s Go Tell it on The Mountain.

The projects expose how racism and oppression affect the mentality and the way of living of the black race, reducing them to a level of inferiority in every aspect of their lives.




1.4         Significance of the study

The study of racism and oppression is a universal phenomenon which exposes the viral acts of the whites on the blacks because of the colour of the skin. Therefore, the following are the significance of the study.

  1. This study reveals the origin of racism in America and tries to expose the horrible experience that black slaves went through.
  2. The study will also expose the blacks on the power of education so as to overcome racism in their society.
  3. It will help to reposition and give the blacks a sense of pride by making them to know that their race is not in any way inferior than the other.
  4. This study will not act as a reference point for further researches in related areas.



1.5   Scope and Limitation

The scope and limitation is on the theme of racism and oppression in James Baldwin’s Go Tell it On The Mountain and Richard Wright’s Black Boy so as to prevent the project from being untidy and ambiguous in nature. From intense research, the researcher believes that the two books are enough to fully express the terms of racial segregation and oppression on the cultural, political and racial and social issues going on during the period of 20th century racism. Therefore, the black race being subordinate to the white race is the main and only scope and limitation of this work.


1.6  Methodology 

The research adopted primary and secondary research to carry out this study.  However, the primary method is the use of the main texts of the project. Thus, these are Black Boy by Richard Wright and Go Tell It on the mountain by James Baldwin. Therefore, the Secondary research materials include a selected poems renaissance Writers like Claude Mickay “To The White Friend”, Critical Works, literary journals and internet.




 This chapter focuses on the review of related literature.


2.1  Racism and Oppression in African Literature

              Racism is particular form of oppression. It stems from discrimination against a group of people based on the idea that some inherited characteristics, such as skin color, make them inferior to their oppressors. However, the concepts of “race” and “racism” are modern inventions. They arose and became part of the dominant ideology of society in the context of the African slave trade at the dawn capitalism in the 1500s and 1600s.

Although it is a common place for academics and opponents of socialism to claim that Karl Marx ignored racism, Marx in fact described the processes that created modern racism. His explanation of the rise of capitalism places the African slave trade, the European exterminations of indigenous people in the Americas, and colonialism at its heart. In capital Marx writes.

“The discovery of gold and silver in America, the extirpation, enslavement, and entombment in mines of the indigenous population of the continent, the beginnings of the conquest and plunder of India and the conversion of Africa into a preserve for the commercial hunting of black skins are all things that characterize the dawn of the era of capitalist production.”

Joselyn Nya

My Name is Joselyn Nya A Publisher in Project Boss Team. I'm a Nigerian I'm a graduate/Educational Researcher. Project Boss Team. We are the best for Project materials and project writing services. Email:

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