Ernest J. Gaines A Lesson Before Dying

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Ernest J. Gaines has left a great impact on the African American culture and history of Louisiana in his writing. Throughout all of Gaines' works he expresses his love and heart of his life in Louisiana and the south. "Gaines is described as "griot" a oral historian or poet who describes swamps, bayous, plantations and slave headquarters ("Gaines, Ernest J(ames)" 474)". "Counted among the most significant Southern writers of the past half-century, Gaines has consistently based his fictional work on the African American cultural and storytelling traditions of rural southern Louisiana (Introduction)." In Ernest J. Gaines novel A Lesson Before Dying two themes that are expressed are discrimination and religion. Ernest J. Gaines was born on January…show more content…
Gaines' step dad suggested him to go to the library and read about things to keep him out of trouble. Gaines was not allowed as a African American to attend libraries so at 16 years old, he attended his first public library. Soon enough Gaines loved literature so he enrolled in it and started writing. After he graduated from Vallejo junior college, Gaines was drafted into the United States Army from 1953 to 1955. When Gaines was in the library he could not find any good information about the history of African Americans so on his off hours in the army he wrote about his life and childhood in Louisiana. Gaines enrolled at San Francisco State University after his service in the army and wrote many of his short stories there. These story's won his admission into the creative writing program at Stanford University, where Gaines' life had all started. Gaines left California in 1963 and married Dianne Saulney, a Florida attorney, in 1993. When Gaines returned to Louisiana all of his emotions brought him back to when he was just a little kid on the plantation. He and Dianne divided their time between California and Louisiana. When they were looking for a house Gaines decided he wanted to build on the same property he grew up on. Gaines today lives in a house on River Lake Plantation in Point Coupee Parish, Louisiana. Gaines today is a writer in residence and has been at the University of…show more content…
"Nearly 100 years after the Emancipation Proclamation, African Americans in Southern states still inhabited a starkly unequal world of disenfranchisement, segregation and various forms of oppression, including race-inspired violence (History Staff)." "In 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the “separate but equal” doctrine that formed the basis for state-sanctioned discrimination, drawing national and international attention to African Americans’ plight (History Staff)." "Many leaders from within the African American community and beyond rose to prominence during the Civil Rights era, including Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks, Malcolm X, Andrew Goodman and others. They risked—and sometimes lost—their lives in the name of freedom and equality (History Staff)". "The most important achievements of African-American civil rights movements have been the post-Civil War constitutional amendments that abolished slavery and established the citizenship status of blacks and the judicial decisions and legislation based on these amendments, notably the Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka decision of 1954, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Moreover, these legal changes greatly affected the opportunities available to women, nonblack minorities, disabled individuals, and other victims of discrimination (History Staff)." During the 1950s and 1960s, therefore,NAACP–sponsored legal suits and legislative lobbying were

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