Freedom Road Term Paper

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Howard Fast, the author of the book Freedom Road, was born on November 11, 1914 and died at the age of 89 on March 12, 2003. Fast lived a long and adventurous life. A few of the things he did throughout his lifetime were; joining the American Communist party in 1943, serving a prison term in 1950 for refusing to cooperate with the House Committee on Un-American Activities, and his books were purged from American school libraries. On the other hand some of the positive things that happened in his life was that in 1953, he was rewarded the Stalin Peace Prize and in June of 1937 he married his first wife, Bette Cohen. In adjunction with his adventurous lifestyle, Fast spent most of his time writing. He wrote seven works of nonfiction, two autobiographies, fifty-two novels, five short stories one essay, and seven Masao Masuto Mysteries under the Penn name E.V. Cunningham. As well as writing, he created two films based off novels. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Howard_Fast) In the book Freedom Road, Howard Fast tells a fictional story based off the true events that occurred during the Constitutional Convention. The beginning of the book does not start the way most books start. This novel starts by talking about the main character, Gideon, as if we are supposed to know who he is. At first, this is confusing but after a couple of pages, you catch on and start to understand a lot easier. The first thing we are told about in the book is how all of the freed men from the small town of Charleston, had left a few weeks back to go vote. However, neither the town nor the men who left knew what voting actually was. Not knowing what voting was, made everyone who stayed in town very nervous and worried, they were not sure whether or not those men would be coming home or not. Therefore, when they men were spotted walking back into town everyone was extremely excited and could not wait to hear all about this voting thing. However, it seemed that none of the men were really talking, until one of them tells the town that they have some big news to share with everyone. Thus far, into the book, we have yet to hear from the main character, and we have actually been reading from his wives point of view. Once the returning men started talking, the book transitions from the wives point of view to Gideon’s, and that is when things start to pick up. We learn that the men’s big news is the fact that Gideon was elected to be a delegate. Because of his prowess in battle, the other ex-slaves looked to him as their leader in peacetime, but he was an uneducated man who felt himself unsuited for leadership. Yet knowing that his people wanted and needed him, he was determined to make himself fit into the pattern their hopes had cut out for him. However, none of them truly knew what a delegate was or what exactly a delegate did. The only thing they really knew was the Gideon would be receiving a letter once all the votes were counted to tell him if he had won the election. Several months go past in the book and nothing happens, no one in the town hears anything about Gideon being elected. Then one day, the postal man comes around and hands Gideon the letter that he had been waiting for. At this point in the book, we find out how afraid he is to go to Charleston because he is a “nigger.” He feels as though he is not very smart. He does not want to go “to city full of white houses… full of white folks making fun…” (p. 16-17). So in order to help him overcome that fear Brother Peter tells him the people need a leader and because of how strong Gideon is physically and mentally, he was chosen to represent them.  Because of Brother Peter, Gideon decides to go to Charleston. When he arrives in Charles and he realizes that, he has no money and no place to sleep, so he ends up sleeping under a hay barrel for the first night. It is the next morning when Gideon is offered a couple of cents for some physical labor, he reluctantly accepts...
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