Soul On Ice By Eldridge Cleaver: A Literary Analysis

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The 1960s was a decade characterized by prominent social reform, specifically through the advancement of civil rights for African Americans. The Civil Rights Movement was able to reach optimum success due to a variety of literary works compiled by African American authors, speeches from those holding political and social power within the United States, and significant events that occurred during the time period that played a major role in the African American community. These books, speeches, and events were all heavily influenced by the looming institutional racism that existed within the States during the 1960s, and through their composition were able to play a major role in the abolition of racial segregation within the country permanently …show more content…
Cleaver, born in 1935, was a convicted African American felon from Arkansas, who began the composition of the series of essays turned book during an eight year prison sentence for sexual assault. Published in 1968, Soul on Ice describes the looming institutional racism that existed within the United States during the 1960s, primarily through Cleaver’s depiction of the impact white racism had on him. Cleaver clearly conveyed the impact that racism had on him and other blacks during the 1960s, when he was quoted as saying, “I lost my self-respect. My pride as a man dissolved and my whole fragile moral structure seemed to collapse, completely shattered.” Eldridge Cleaver’s depiction of the moral demise that racism enacted upon blacks was representative of much of black America’s morale during the time period, which led many African Americans and far left democrats to imitate Cleaver’s actions on a political level. His acts of violent disobedience influenced many protests turned physical, such as the Detroit Riots, Watts Riots, and Harlem Riots. These acts of outrage pressured the US government to take steps in order to resolve the problem of racial injustice within the country in order to stop violence, eventually leading to the end of major forms of racial segregation through the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Cleaver’s influence on riots and political organizations that sparked mass political change perfectly display his major impact on the