Release: Color – Ein amerikanisches Leben

Color – Ein amerikanisches Leben, my translation of James Weldon Johnson’s novel The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man has been released in the German speaking world. My special thanks go to Christina Brunnenkamp for her excellent editing job and Bettina Caspers-Henn of Indianapolis GmbH for her brilliant typesetting and design work.

Color – Ein Amerikanisches Leben

(The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man, Roman von James Weldon Johnson, translated and published by Olaf Knechten, hardcover: ISBN 9783754374634, paperback: ISBN 9783754374726, ebook: ISBN 9783754376676, Books on Demand 2021)

The novel is available as paperback and ebook and as well as beautiful collector‘s hardcover edition in bookstores everywhere.

This novel, though written over a hundred years ago, addresses the central issue of our time – the question of our identity. It reckons with racism and double standards, shows dark chapters of American history that still resonate today, but also emphasizes Black America’s strengthening confidence after abolition and its invaluable cultural influence.

The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man was initially published anonymously in 1912. In it, the unnamed first-person narrator describes the stages of his troubled life. His search for a sense of home and belonging takes him across the United States, to Europe and back again, from a cigar factory to a gambling den and a ragtime club, from Paris opera house and Berlin concert halls to an Evangelical Big Meeting in the American South.

This book is like a cross between a coming-of-age and a road novel. Straightforward, honest but at the same time entertaining, it provides an insight into Afro-American lives and American society as a whole around 1900.

Author James Weldon Johnson (1871-1938) was a man of many talents with an extraordinary career path. He was a writer, composer, college professor, lawyer, diplomat, and civil rights activist.

A leading member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), he advocated for anti-lynching legislation, among other causes. Together with his brother John Rosamond Johnson, he wrote the song Lift Every Voice and Sing which became an Afro-American anthem. Later, the brothers composed several more ragtime hits.

A key figure of the Harlem Renaissance, Johnson wrote poetry, essays, and an autobiography. The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man remained his only novel.

James Weldon Johnson (Photpgraph: Smithonian Institute, public domain)

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Author: Olaf K.

Translator, writer, editor Übersetzer, Autor, Lektor

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