You are on page 1of 7

Keenan Jackson

Expository Writing
Synthesis Essay
Who Are You Talking to?
African Americans have had an impact on the United States that is essentially impossible
to ignore. Thus, the history of African Americans should be considered American history; and
taught with the same emphasis as traditional American history 1. Although Black history should
be taught with equivalent emphasis to traditional American history: it has not 10. For the most
part, blacks have been forced to unearth and go on to teach their history on their own. Due to
this, Black history is taught in many different ways, and taught to various different audiences.
Benjamin Quarles, a renowned black historian recognizes this and in his essay Black Historys
Diversified Clientele, he lists and explains the audiences. The audiences presented in Quarles
essay are, Black Rank and File, and Black Revolutionary Nationalist, and Black Academic, and
White Academic, and White Lay 4. After reading Quarles essay, it became apparent which
audiences were being addressed in The Damned by Len Coopers and also in Message to the
Grass Roots by Malcom X. Coopers addresses the White academic in The Damned while X
addresses the Black Revolutionary Nationalist in Message to the Grass Roots. Purpose,
content, style- these indicate which audience the writing belongs to 6.
Len Coopers begins his essay The Damned, by immediately falsifying the idea that
President Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves. By sharing a short story, Coopers explains how he
came to learn Lincoln did not actually free the slaves 13. Mister Lincoln ain't freed no slaves,
he said. Slavery lasted well into the 20th century, he said, to his personal knowledge (Coopers,
Special To The Washington Post). Says Coopers grandfather, who has seen first hand that

Lincoln did not end slavery. Coopers grandfather later goes on to tell a story of how a childhood
friend of his was stolen and for 20 years forced into slavery. This serves as proof that Coopers is
indeed addressing the Black Academic audience. It is said by Benjamin Quarles that Black
Academics believe history is a discipline, an attempt to recapture and mirror the past as
accurately as possible (Quarles, 79). Coopers purpose is to recapture the past as accurately as
possible, because it is often believed by most Americans that with the signing of the
emancipation proclamation President Lincoln ended slavery.
In Coopers search for evidence to support his Grandfathers story of his childhood friend,
Cooper decides to research slavery after the Emancipation proclamation. At the beginning of
Coopers search for the truth he struggled to find new information, but eventually he was
successful. On one of his many visits to the Library of Congress, Coopers got his hands on a
stack of papers labeled peonage. Coopers discovered stories of blacks who were forced into
slavery post-emancipation proclamation, just as his Grandfather had said. Quarles believes that,
The [black] academician holds the truth, including the search for it, has a liberating effect
(Quarles, 80). Coopers decided to continue searching for the truth even though that after all his
years of education; not one single teacher agreed with him that slavery continued after The
Emancipation Proclamation. Quarles also says that, Black history for the academician would
deal less with persons and more with processes. Coopers questions whether slavery after the
emancipation proclamation was existent, which can be labeled as the process mentioned by
Quarles. Coopers search for the truth and the topic he is searching for, show that the content of
this essay is written towards the Black academic.
At the Essays start, it is clear that Coopers is personally connected to the topic. Coopers
is a black man, so naturally the topic of slavery is one that hits home. Coopers is even more

connected with the stories of peonage because peonage has affected his grandfathers life.
Coopers passion and anger are both expressed throughout the essay, Coopers says, I suspect the
Library of Congress research room doesn't get many large black men who sit there, crying
(Coopers, Back to Sumter). Coopers broke down into tears simply from researching, this shows
both his anger and passion explicitly. It is said by Quarles that the style of writing geared towards
the Black Academics uses language that is Passionate and deeply emotional (Quarles pg 80).
Malcom X, is well known for his by any means necessary approach to the Civil Rights
movement, and that same ideology is apparent in his speech Message to the Grass Roots. It is
common knowledge that X does not agree with the peaceful protests of other Civil Rights
activist such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. X says, if someone puts his hands on you, send him
to the cemetery (X, 401). This quote shows that X is writing towards the Black Revolutionary
Nationalist audience because it is said that the content of writing aimed toward Black
Revolutionary Nationalist, moves a step beyond the others in its goals and does not rule out
violence in achieving them (Quarles, 78). In Message to the Grass Roots, X highlights the
relationship between slaves that were referred to as house negroes and field negroes.
Essentially, house negroes were slaves that sided with the slave master and would do anything to
ensure the well being of the Master and even helped the master keep control of the field negroes,
who were the complete opposite. X says, and they [house negroes] loved the master more than
the master loved himself. They would give their life to save the masters house-quicker than the
master would (X, 400). X continues on in his essay to explain how house negroes would help
the master maintain control of the field negroes by discouraging escapes, And if you came to
the house Negro and said, Lets run away, lets escape, lets separate, the house Negro would
look at you and say, Man, you crazy. What you mean, separate? Where is there a better house

than this?(X, 400). House negroes had the same mentality as the master himself, and X
believes that the House negro mentality is still around, and that it is still oppressing blacks. Just
as the slavemaster of that day used Tom, the house Negro, to keep the field Negroes in check, the
same old slavemaster today has Negroes who are nothing but modern Uncle Toms, twentiethcentury Uncle Toms, to keep you and me in check, to keep us under control, keep us passive and
peaceful and nonviolent (X,401). The previous quote serves as more proof that X is addressing
the Black Revolutionary Nationalist, according to Quarles Black Revolutionary Nationalist
thinking is not without its traces of paranoid thinking, one which holds that the forces of evil are
banded in an eternal conspiracy to maintain their oppressive sway (Quarles, 78). Malcom X
believes that whites have in a sense created the house negro to ensure the oppression of blacks as
a whole. It is clear that Malcom Xs purpose in writing Messages to the Grass Roots was to
shine light upon oppressors whom he often refers to as the white man and also to shine light on
the various ways they continue to ensure oppression of blacks.
To begin his speech, Malcom X compares the field slave and the house slave. The
comparison is not one that has not been presented before, but the comparison of the mindsets the
two different types of slaves posses is something X can take credit for. The content of
revolutionary Black history is not as interested in historical spadework as in providing new
interpretations of that which is known (Quarles, 78). X provides a new interpretation of the
comparison of the house negro and field negro, while maintaining a theme of oppression and
slavery throughout his speech. This makes it even more apparent that X is a Black Revolutionary
Nationalist, because Quarles says, Its central theme is oppression, slavery in one guise or
another (Quarles, 79) in reference to the content of Black Revolutionary Nationalist.

The tone of the speech is established in the first lines, If youre afraid of black
nationalism, youre afraid of revolution. And if you love revolution, you love black nationalism
(X, 399). X essentially opens the speech with an ultimatum, giving off an aggressive and even
judgmental tone. The aggressive and judgmental tone continues throughout the speech, X labels
individuals in hypothetical circumstances as either a house negro or a field negro based on their
actions. Not only does X label individuals he even suggests that they have perhaps, left your
mind in Africa (X,400). Quarles suggests that, In tone, Black Revolutionary history is
judgmental (Quarles, 79). Xs tone during the speech directly correlates with the tone of Black
Revolutionary history.
After reading Quarles essay Black Historys diversified clientele one can begin to
analyze historic writing and categorize it using the audiences-Black Rank and File, Black
Revolutionary Nationalist, Black Academic, White Academic, White Academic, White Lay
(Rank and File)- that Quarles presented 7. Using Quarles essay as a reference, it can be said that
Len Coopers addresses the Black Academic in his essay The Damned. It is apparent Coopers
does so with the use of evidence from the library of congress to support his argument, passionate
tone, and his undying desire to discover the truth and recapture Black History as accurately as
possible. Malcom X addresses the Black Revolutionary Nationalist in his speech Message to the
Grass Roots. It is apparent X is addressing the Black Revolutionary Nationalist because he
highlights oppression and conflict, spoke with a judgmental and somewhat aggressive tone, and
with the use of the previously mention coherently, he gets a rise out of blacks.

Works Cited
X, Malcom. "Message to the Grass Roots." Revelations: An Anthology of Expository
Essays by and about Blacks. By Teresa M. Redd. Boston, MA: Pearson Custom Pub., 2002. N.
pag. Print
Quarles, Benjamin. "Black History's Diversified Clientele." Revelations: An Anthology
of Expository Essays by and about Blacks. By Teresa M. Redd. Boston, MA: Pearson Custom
Pub., 2002. N. pag. Print.
Coopers, Len. "The Damned." N.p., n.d. Web. 02 Nov. 2015.

Error Analysis
Grammar Problems from 1st Two essays
Semicolons, Comma splices, Run-on Sentences
1. Wrong: At 13 years old I sat in my 8th Grade honors English class, I knew an awkward
moment was approaching.
Error: Comma Splice
Correct: At 13 years old I sat in my 8th grade honors English class; I knew an awkward
moment was approaching.
2. Wrong: This sums up black history lessons in the Des Moines Public school system;
during black history month, brief general, and most of all inaccurate.
Error: Colon vs Semicolon
Correct: This sums up black history lessons in the Des Moines Public school system:
during black history month, brief general, and most of al inaccurate.
3. Wrong: From the start I could see she was in over head, she simply did not know the
story.
Error: Comma Splice
Correct: From the start I could see she was in over head; she simply did not know the
story.
4. Wrong: Although, I believe the purpose of this sort of essay is to convince individuals
who re against the homosexual lifestyle, that lifestyle is not wrong.
Error: Fragment
Correct: The purpose of Desmond Tutus speech was to persuade anti-gays, into
supporting homosexual lifestyles.