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Racism in the 1960s An Honest Discussion A fuller understanding of the complexity of the racial evolution of the 1960s is better realized by examining the first-hand accounts of those individuals directly affected by the racial upheaval of the time period Eldridge Cleavers autobiographical letters in Soul on Ice provide an insightful perspective of a black prison inmate trapped in a world ruled by white bigotry during the 1960s In this essay I will examine Eldridge Cleavers Soul on Ice in three parts 1 Discuss his themes 2 Demonstrate how he rhetorically develops his themes 3 Draw conclusions about the questions his work poses Cleavers Themes While Cleavers assorted letters address a variety of topics several general themes arise from the totality of his work I will briefly discuss these general themes and in the next section demonstrate how Cleaver develops these themes rhetorically Cleavers letters serve as a personal healing mechanism that allow him to can cope with the harsh realities that define his existence He confronts head-on the identity crisis that faces black and white America as their two worlds clash during the turbulent 1960s And after examining the bitterness of his anger towards Americas racial caste system Cleaver attempts to offer a foundation for racial progress and hope for future generations Cleaver suffers from episodes of depression bewilderment and anger in response to the grim realities facing him during the 1960s This inner turmoil that hangs over Cleaver is compounded by the natural emotional ebbs and flows experienced by many prison inmates as their identities as free human beings are challenged by the repressive and humiliating nature of the American prison system As he tries to make sense of his reality as a black convict in white America Cleaver discovers the power of the written word as a vehicle to escape his immediate surroundings and thus cope with the nature of his very
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