Abraham Lincoln’S Dream – a Reality in the New Millennium?

Abraham Lincoln’s Dream –
      A Reality in the New Millennium?


      S.S. Pankajam,

      Asst. Professor, Ethiraj College for Women (Eve),

      Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India.

      The Saga of the African Americans is unique in the history of mankind for the singular cruelty, inhuman beastiality and painful surgical separation from their roots, culture and tradition. The African Americans, originally the natives of the Dark Continent, Africa, were bartered by slave traders as plantation labourers and workers in the New World for goods and other wealth. They underwent the horror of the separation of family members and suffered isolation. The height of humiliation was the deconstruction of self-worth, self-identification and self-respect under centuries of slavery which brought about a new profile to the African American of the 19th and 20th centuries. The paradox of the core ideals of Christianity, namely, universal brotherhood, egalitarianism, compassion and service attitude as against the inhuman practice of slavery fueled by commercial interests, colonialism and imperialism of feelings of social superiority had a severe impact on the average negro individual.

      Through their association with Western cultures, values and education, the African Americans imbibed in them a generational wisdom of their forefathers’ changed social status in a new homeland and their unique predicament-historical, social, political and economic.

African American literature began with the desire to achieve freedom for the African Americans and to define their racial selves. Pauline E. Hopkins argues that nobody is better suited to “faithfully portray the inmost thoughts and feelings of the Negro than the Negro himself ”. This first ethnic aesthetics posited that it was essential for African Americans to speak for themselves.

      The historical and thematic evolution of African American literature during the 20th century was conditioned more by...