Guitar's Struggle With Racism Essay

560 Words 3 Pages
Literary Footnotes
6/3/10

The Ku Klux Klan was first created after the Civil War, in Pulaski, Tennessee in an effort to keep the Civil Rights Movement from giving rights to African-Americans and freed slaves. The Klan experienced its greatest growth “in the 1920s, [when] the Klan spread well beyond the South” (O’Malley). Three million members soon joined from the South, allowing the clan to win over political power in non-southern states. In an effort to stop African American rights, they “tortured and killed black Americans and sympathetic whites” who acted in favor of the Civil Rights Movement, especially the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) (Simkin). Theodore Bilbo, the governor of
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After all, he was in “Bilbo Country,” which refers to an area of racism, rooted from Theodore Bilbo, an active white supremacist in the Ku Klux Klan (81). The conversation was redirected after argument as the men told stories about their own experiences with racism.
This historical allusion is extremely significant to the book because it shows us the battle that Guitar is struggling with, the battle of racism and inequality, and the reason that Guitar joined The Seven Days. From the moment in the conversation when Guitar begins to get angry, we are opened up to the Guitars inner struggle with racism that he feels he must change. Guitar’s membership in the Seven Days goes to show how naïve Milkman and the other black men in the barbershop are to racism. Being black men living in the United States during the Civil Rights Movement allowed them to acknowledge racism, but they did not know its strength and power over society. Living in a black community makes it easy for the men to ignore and mask racism, while allowing them to criticize Guitar for standing up for something they believed to be a lost cause, “people who lynch and slice off people’s balls- [are] crazy, Guitar, crazy” (Morrison 155). When Guitar tells Milkman about his membership to the Seven Days, Milkman refuses to believe Milkman’s purpose of joining because he is not surrounded by the racism and hate

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