A great American success story an endearing and well-written book.”—The New York Times Book Review Colin Powell is the embodiment. My American Journey is a marvelous work, and it provided an unexpected payoff. As I read it, I started to underline noteworthy phrases and sentences and. “A great American success story an endearing and well-written book.”—The New York Times Book Review Colin Powell is the embodiment of the American.
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Get Free Access To | My American Journey PDF Now. MY AMERICAN JOURNEY . Download: My American Journey. MY AMERICAN JOURNEY - In this site. My American Journey is the powerful story of a life well lived and well told. My American Journey PDF eBook by Colin Powell, Joseph E. Persico (). print Print; document PDF In MY AMERICAN JOURNEY, the former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and one-time National Security Adviser to President.
It is also a view from the mountaintop of the political landscape of America. An utterly absorbing account, it is history with a vision. Must reading for anyone who wants to reaffirm his faith in the promise of America. One of the most prominent figures in American public life, General Colin L.
Powell served as the twelfth Chairman of… More about Colin L. Joseph E. Read An Excerpt.
Powell and Joseph E. Persico By Colin L. Persico Read by Colin L. Powell By Colin L. Powell Category: History Category: History Audiobooks. Paperback —.
download the Audiobook Download: Apple Audible downpour eMusic audiobooks. Add to Cart. Also by Joseph E. See all books by Joseph E. About Colin L. About Joseph E. Persico Joseph E. Product Details. This expectation assumes unfairly that a black man writing his autobiography must concern himself with combating racism.
On the contrary, the primary action in Powell's autobiography is his ascent from the Bronx to the highest military position in the United States, so the book may fit better in the rags-to-riches sub-genre of autobiography than into the polemic autobiography category contrast with The Autobiography of Malcolm X. However, although Powell is no race rebel, he does indeed profess a desire to use his Maness 4 success to contribute to the benefit of black Americans.
I am reminded of another of Mcintosh's privileges: "I can do well in a challenging situation without being called a credit to my race" 7. This, however, is a privilege that Powell seems willing to forgo, for it is precisely through doing well in a challenging situation that Powell hopes to benefit his race.
He is happy to know that as a famous black General, he can represent to white people the potential for success of other black people. In fact, this is the heart of Powell's race education curriculum; the strategy he chooses to employ in schooling America to abjure its prejudice involves using himself as his primary audio- visual aid: My career should serve as a model to fellow blacks, in or out of the military, in demonstrating the possibilities of American life.
Equally important, I hoped then and now that my rise might cause prejudiced whites to question their prejudices, and help purge the poison of racism from their systems, so that the next qualified African-American who came along would be judged on merit alone. In other words, as long as standardized test scores measure "merit" as in the Educational Testing Service's "National Merit Scholarship" using culturally biased apparatus, then "merit" means "ability to function in mainstream, white culture.
Thanks to you, they've seen a black man who could cut it in a white world. And that helped me. Although the construction of Colin L. Powell as an example of a successful black man "in a white world" is the central activity of My American Journey, Powell does not presume that he will eliminate prejudice singlehandedly.
Just as Washington depends on his institutions—Hampton and Tuskegee Institutes—Powell also enlists institutional support to accomplish his educational Maness 5 objectives; Powell's choice is the United States Army. Army and Tuskegee Institute initially seem like drastically different kinds of organizations with vastly disparate goals and methods, Powell's partial, even affectionate description of the Army dissolves this difference, demonstrating that, in his mind, the Army is every bit as much dedicated to improving the inferior status of African-Americans as Tuskegee.
According to Powell: fortunately, [Southern blacks] had joined the most democratic institution in America, where they could rise or fall on merit The military had given African-Americans more equal opportunity than any other institution in American society, I pointed out If anyone asks me what institution in America provides the greatest opportunity,I say take a look at what the U.
Army did for me Armed Forces—have made some contributions toward the fight against discrimination. Tuskegee managed to educate thousands of poor, black men and women in the post-Reconstruction South where education was seen as a way to "spoil perfectly good Negroes.
Topeka Board of Education. But criticism of the contributions of both institutions abounds and must be considered here because these institutions are instrumental in establishing the subject positions of both men.
Powell is aware of the major problem underlying the service of blacks in the military, acknowledging that "A certain ambivalence has always existed among African-Americans about military service. Why should we fight for a country that, for so long, did not fight for us, that in fact denied us our fundamental rights?
The irony of the government's vows to preserve the American way of life or to defend liberty overseas while black people could not vote, drink from certain water fountains, or go to church without fear of white supremacist violence is obvious, and Powell alludes to this irony when describing his return from Vietnam: The date was November Three weeks before, I had been in Vietnam on the day that that country's president had been assassinated and the government overturned.
This afternoon, the President of my country has been murdered. And while I had been off fighting for the freedom of foreigners, four little black girls had been killed by a bomb planted in Birmingham's 16th Street Baptist Church.
I had returned home, it seemed, to a world turned upside down. They did it because they believed that if they demonstrated equal courage and equal sacrifice in fighting and dying for their country, then equality of opportunity surely must follow.
Washington's word works well in this context counter-myth to Powell's optimism. After serving four hellish tours in the bush Powell spent several relatively quiet months in the jungle before being sent to the support staff in the rear where he did office work , Curtis returns to the Bronx to find neighborhoods decimated by poverty, drugs, and crime, where the only powerful and wealthy black people are dealers and pimps.
He is constantly confronted with the question: you served the country for four years, you were decorated with medals, and what did you get? In fact, all of the prominent adults in the film are forgotten, black veterans: his father served in World War II, and his boss and mentor lost a leg in Korea. Certainly, the overseas military service of Curtis and the members of his community fails to translate into equal opportunity at home, despite the images of interracial teamwork we see in the film's Vietnam segments.
The movie underscores that fact that the Army does not reward equal service with equal opportunity for all soldiers, undermining Powell's armed forces myth. The Maness 7 military actually seems to be a singularly undemocratic system;1 rather, it is a top-down, formal power structure that discourages its lower ranks from questioning authority.
Powell himself reinforces this point several times, acknowledging that many matters are simply "above his pay grade" and that "ours was not to question the wisdom" of the authorities When asked to fill a White House post, he admits that "turning down the White House does not come easily to a soldier schooled in obedience" Although Powell later learns how to give orders as well as take them, the Army remains a hierarchy in which those with more power demand the obedience and respect, and often the fear, of those with less power.
So when Powell talks about how glad he is to see Southern blacks in the Army working and eating side-by-side with people before whom they would once have been expected to "bow and scrape" , I wonder if the Army is instead a place where men and women are taught to accept bowing and scraping as a normative behavior for people at the lower end of the spectrum of power. Washington's Tuskegee Institute. DuBois lashed out against Washington and his "Tuskegee Machine," which churned out black graduates whose lives and careers were then controlled by the tremendous influence of the "wizard of Tuskegee," Booker T.
That Washington's methods were influenced by the military mindset is highly probable. One of his first and greatest mentors, General Samuel C. Armstrong, was the principal and founder of the Hampton institute where Washington was educated and where he developed much of his educational philosophy.
According to Horace Mann Bond, General Armstrong "believed in the general discipline of 'military training,' and in the dignity of labor for members of an 'undeveloped' race" While at Hampton, Washington learned to pass military style inspections of his clothing and hygiene and he volunteered to live in a tent in the dead of winter because Hampton was short on housing which he did without complaint.
The unquestioning, boundless loyalty that General Armstrong inspires in his students is so great that students volunteer to incur severe discomfort and labor to please him. Curiously, Washington describes the students' devotion to Armstrong in terms remarkably similar to those with which he describes the white- constructed, mythical relation of the slaves to their masters.
Of Armstrong Washington reports: I recall that one of the General's former students had occasion to push [the Maness 8 General's wheelchair] up a long, steep hill that taxed his strength to the utmost. When the top of the hill was reached, the former pupil, with a glow of happiness on his face, exclaimed, "I am so glad that I have been permitted to do something that was real hard for the General before he dies!
They were just as anxious to assist in the nursing as the family relatives of the wounded. Some of the slaves would even beg for the privilege of sitting up at night to nurse their wounded masters. Rather than educating students and soldiers who will go out into the world and fight in the struggle for equality, Tuskegee and the Army engage in subservience training that teaches their young patrons to ignore the struggle or to express the fight in "singularly non-combative" language.
Whether or not he learned this non-combative language at Hampton, it is Washington's reluctance to criticize candidly the racism of American society that disturbs many modem readers of Washington as well as many contemporary readers like DuBois and newspaper editor William Monroe Trotter. Washington's refusal to condemn his white rapist father 30 , his assertion that slavery was worse for white people than for blacks 38 , his understated description of the KKK 70 , his repeated denial of bitterness, and many other silences on racial violations are symptomatic of the characteristically conciliatory stance that Washington assumes with his white audience.
It is easy to understand Washington's caution since, on average, around black men were lynched every year during his lifetime, some for lesser "crimes" than arguing against the oppression of black people by whites. It was therefore important for Washington to appear non-combative, modest, and satisfied in order to avoid the possibly fatal consequences of threatening or insulting especially his white Southern audience.
Yet, when one reads Colin Powell's autobiography, written one hundred years after Washington's, one may be distressed to find Powell using many of the same techniques of conciliation used by Washington. The similarity is particularly unsettling since Powell's perception that he needs to use Washingtonian placating gestures seems to indicate his belief conscious or subconscious—or perhaps it is his publisher's belief that the American reading public is still uncomfortable enough with a successful, famous, black leader to require that that leader use cautious, placating language when telling his story, especially if he purposes to Maness 9 address racial issues.
One of the Washingtonian techniques is the heavy use of authenticating documents to establish one's excellent reputation without the appearance of arrogance. Washington's use of authenticating documents is well-studied Stepto 42 and others. By quoting newspaper articles and letters from philanthropists and political leaders, he is able to maintain his modesty and apparent objectivity while also establishing his power, skill, and national reputation.
In addition to quoting newspaper reporters and famous people to establish his eminence in national affairs, Washington also establishes himself as an outstanding crowd-pleaser by documenting how satisfied his audiences have always been with his public speaking appearances. In doing so, he implies that since he has pleased in the past, surely he will continue to do so both in Up From Slavery and in the remainder of his public career. In addition to the passage that I quote in the epigraph of this essay, Washington also notes that his five minute speech in Atlanta prior to his appearance at the Exposition "seemed to be received with favour and enthusiasm" The newspaper reports that Washington quotes generally report the favorable reaction of his audiences for example, "the whole audience was on its feet in a delirium of applause" .
Colin Powell makes clever use of authenticating documents in his biography, as well. First, Powell uses photographs which "never lie" to formulate his image as a great man. Almost all of the photos in the two sets of pictures show Powell in uniform. The effect is to place himself in a pantheon of world figures without Powell ever writing, "I am a great leader.
The American Journey - part 1.pdf
First, in an endearing move which creates a kind of family-style intimacy, Powell quotes his own daughters' child-like praise, and he asks with playful modesty "Who am I to quarrel with my daughters'judgments. In my judgment, he should be on your "short list" for potential vice presidents.. Ted, Maness 10 You are right about Colin Powell. A class guy in every way.
Although Powell does not write it in each latter case, we might supply "Who am I to quarrel with my Presidents' judgments? He is also careful to note that after mediocre performance in high school and college, the rest of his grades, Army test scores, and efficiency reports were nearly flawless. All of this authentication is objective, verifiable praise that informs the reader that Powell is an intelligent, hard-working, high-achiever.
At the same time, Powell maintains an appearance of modesty because he it not overtly self-promoting; he merely repeats what others have said.
Humble self-authentication is not the only Washingtonian means that Powell uses to keep his audience comfortable. Another cautiously soothing technique he uses is to avoid overt condemnation or even serious analysis of racist incidents he has experienced or observed; dwelling on racism could make Powell look like an angry black man, which could ignite fear and possible guilt in many readers or at least a sense that" All these black men are so filled with rage".
Admittedly, Powell will in rare instances condemn a race violation with candor," and there are some cases in which he seems to encode a racially charged message in a form that only certain readers will be able to decode. In other places, Powell uses Washingtonian understatement to describe horrendous racial injustice and violence, as when he describes Birmingham wryly: "Not a happy time; not a happy place.
Still, I felt reasonably relaxed about leaving Alma there" 75 9 This avoidance of discourse about racial issues seems to minimize these issues, as if they are worth mentioning as items of interest but not as matters for serious discussion.
Documents Similar To The American Journey - part 1.pdf
There are few places in the South now where public sentiment would permit such organizations to exist" In reading Washington, Robert Stepto believes that Washington's effort to minimize the scourge of racism in the South is an attempt to demonstrate that he is a present-day leader and, as such, he is able to transcend the past, i.
Establishing his dominance over the past is one way of distinguishing himself from figures such as Frederick Douglass who were embroiled in the context of slavery and who might therefore threaten to keep the minds of their white audiences in the embarrassing time of slavery by serving as living reminders of slavery Stepto So, part of Washington's effort to comfort and please his white audience involves making himself a figure of the present and of the future, leading America beyond slavery and racism into a new era.
In other words, Washington must create an "assuring present" unsullied with the stain of slavery as well as an "assuring presence. Powell is also confronted with the task of creating an assuring presence and an assuring present that transcends not slavery, but the upheavals of the Civil Rights and Black Power movements and the more recent phenomena of Jesse Jackson and Louis Farrakhan.
Clearly, the dominant figures in the racial explosions of the 50s and 60s, people like Martin Luther King, Jr. To avoid association with the demanding black leaders who called for immediate change and perhaps made white audiences feel "abused," Powell not only minimizes the incidence and incidents of racism in his life and in contemporary culture, he also distances himself from the lives and positions of King, Malcolm X and proponents of Black Power, and Jesse Jackson.
Powell does refer to Martin Luther King, Jr. Rap Brown—saying that he "heard the radical black voices. A most recent example of this would be Powell's moral divestment from the Million Man March on Washington. Powell claimed that he could not support the march because it was led by Minister Louis Farrakhan who Powell and many other Americans considers to be a fomenter of hatred. Until this point, I have been most interested with Powell's presentation of himself to white audiences.
However, just as Washington attracted heavy fire from W. DuBois and Martin Luther King was sharply criticized by Malcolm X, Powell is also the subject of intense criticism from his more liberal black contemporaries Gates 70 who recognize his appeal with whites but question whether he can be an effective role model for the black community as he claims to be see Powell quotation on page 4 above.
Jesse Jackson is highly critical of Powell's leadership, believing that in his conservatism Powell acquiesces to the "repressive policies" of the Republican right qtd.
Cornel West, in discussing the Maness 13 dilemma of black leadership in America, also identifies many shortcomings of political conservatism like that of Powell though without specifically mentioning Powell.
One of Jackson's and West's prescriptions for black leadership in America is that leaders should be generated by grassroots, community-based movements. A black leader should be one who has earned the love and respect of his or her community and who is accountable to his or her community West West implies here that black leaders are too often provided for them by the white community Jesse Jackson asserts this directly in Gates This critique of black leadership leads me to ask: what community has generated Colin Powell as their leader?
He left his New York community to join the Army, and in the Army he was transferred from base to base—the U. He accepted posts in Washington D.
Despite his devotion to an abstract "nation," what M community knows him, let alone loves him and respects him?
To what community is he " l accountable? Army and the larger National Security establishment. For him the Army seemed to be an escape from the dysfunctional communities of the "real" world. Beginning in the fifties, less discrimination, a truer merit system, and leveler playing fields existed inside the gates of our military posts than in any Southern city hall or Northern corporation.
The Army, therefore, made it easier for me to love my country, with all its flaws, and to serve her with all my heart. Powell's story, then, may not be an attainable, instructive example for the millions of Americans, black and white, who have not lived their entire adult lives on military bases; without that experience to make it easier for them to love their country, what advice can they derive from Powell to turn hopelessness into hope West's terminology or prejudice into equality?
Both West 13 , indirectly, and Jackson, directly, challenge Powell's claim to representativeness: Jackson asks, "What about the rest of them? What about those who were never chosen in the first place?
My American Journey
Maness 14 What about those whose "circumstances" were not as fortuitous as Powell's? What about the people who did not get accepted to college let alone the ROTC program?
And what about those who will never see the military as their ticket to opportunity? Powell's military affiliation may well destroy his appeal with the segment of his audience that most critically needs a leader: the disenfranchised poor and unskilled.Nigeria postgraduate scholarship to study physical therapy at the University of Pittsburgh. An utterly absorbing account, it is history with a vision. The Medicare fraud, drug trade, and the scam. My American journey Item Preview. See all books by Joseph E.
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