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An Introduction to Ernest J. Gaines, The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, and the Civil Rights Movement.

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Presentation on theme: "An Introduction to Ernest J. Gaines, The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, and the Civil Rights Movement."— Presentation transcript:

1 An Introduction to Ernest J. Gaines, The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, and the Civil Rights Movement

2 Ernest J. Gaines Born in 1933 on River Lake Plantation near Oscar, Louisiana His parents worked as laborers on the plantation At age nine, Gaines worked the fields for 50 cents a day chopping sugar cane Wrote his first novel at age 16 In 1957,Graduated from San Francisco State College In 1958, went to Stanford University on Wallace Stegner Fellowship in creative writing

3 More about Ernest J. Gaines Spent much of his early childhood with his aunt, Augusteen Jefferson His aunt’s strength and courage inspired the creation of some of his most memorable characters including Miss Jane Pittman

4 Some of Gaines’ Most Well-known Works: Catherine Carmier, his first novel, was written in 1964 The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman (1971) A Gathering of Old Men (1983) A Lesson Before Dying (1993)

5 The Works of Ernest J. Gaines:

6 The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman Written in 1971 NOT an autobiography Fictional work written as the life story of Jane Pittman An unnamed schoolteacher interviews Jane and others to tell Jane’s story Why is this novel important?

7 Why is The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman Important? Depicts the struggle of a fictional African American woman to find her place in the world after the end of the Civil War Illustrates 100 years of history for black Americans from the end of the Civil War to the Civil Rights Movement Depicts racial tension during that period of time Helps to answer the question, “What is an American?”

8 The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman’s 4 Books: The War Years – Covers the period near the end of the Civil War Other sections include: Reconstruction, The Plantation, and The Quarters

9 Setting of Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman: Rural Louisiana from 1864 to 1962

10 Some Themes in the Novel: What is freedom? Struggle for survival Justice Standing up for one’s beliefs and being willing to die for one’s beliefs What is an American? Struggle for equality The cost of living according to social rules

11 Important Terms/Background Information: Freedmen’s Bureau – U.S. agency established in 1865 to provide aid to freed blacks after the Civil War Reconstruction – Period of readjustment after the Civil War (1865 to 1877) Frederick Douglass – Black leader who promoted social equality for Black Americans Booker T. Washington – Black leader who promoted education and economic independence for Black Americans Secesh – A secessionist or one who wants to secede or separate from the union.

12 More Important Terms/Background information: Martin Luther King Jr. – An American clergyman and leader of the civil rights movement who was assassinated in Patrollers – Poor white men who capture runaway slaves for the masters. Torture and kill slaves without remorse. Cajuns – Group of French-speaking people in southern Louisiana who were exiled from Acadia, Canada in the 1800s. Creole – A person from a mixed racial background who speaks a blend of French and Spanish

13 Civil Rights Movement & The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman: Civil Rights Movement – was aimed at outlawing racial discrimination against blacks Defined black America’s struggle for voting rights, full citizenship, and equality Help to end segregation of Blacks Segregation – Blacks were essentially separated by race from the rest of society

14 More on Civil Rights Movement: Brown vs. Board of Education – 1954 U.S. Supreme Court case that declared segregation in pubic schools was unconstitutional Civil Rights Bill – was passed in 1964 and declared that segregation in public places was illegal

15 Civil Rights Videos: History Channel Videos: movement/videos Separate but Not Equal (2:21) King Leads the March on Washington (3:10)


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